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  • Atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in America – it is estimated that about 70 million pounds are used on crops every year.

Atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in America – it is estimated that about 70 million pounds are used on crops every year. With such widespread use, it may be surprising to learn that it has been linked to various cancers, reproductive harm, and developmental delays, yet can still be found in water systems and affects over 43 million Americans today. 

Read on to learn more about atrazine, how it gets into water systems, the risks associated with it, and most importantly, what actions you can take to protect yourself from this cancer-linked contaminant.

What is Atrazine?

Atrazine is a synthetic herbicide that is widely used on row crops such as sugarcane, corn, pineapples, sorghum, and macadamia nuts to control and hinder the growth of broadleaf and grassy weeds. As such, water utilities usually struggle to control atrazine contamination during seasonal spikes – particularly in the spring and summer months – when millions of pounds of the chemical are used. 

Pure atrazine is difficult to detect without testing a water sample. The highly soluble chemical is not volatile, reactive, or flammable. For atrazine to be activated and effective, it has to be dissolved in water and enter plants through their roots where it can block photosynthesis and prevent growth. The use of atrazine as an herbicide accounts for almost all of the atrazine that is contaminating the environment and water supplies.

Contamination Facts







Although the use of atrazine has been restricted, the chemical still persists in water supplies. Atrazine, like total dissolved solids and nitrates, seeps into waterways through agricultural runoff. Atrazine-laced runoff from farm fields pollutes streams, rivers and groundwater, which many communities use as a source for their drinking water.

As an added drawback, atrazine is slow to break down in water and doesn't degrade in heat or sunlight, meaning it can remain in waterways for an extended period of time. 

With atrazine and related pesticides, it is common for contaminant levels to fluctuate, especially with seasonal spikes in the spring and summer when atrazine concentration may exceed the federal contaminant limit. Water suppliers report an annual average for atrazine measurements, which means that it is likely that the reported measurements may underestimate elevated levels of atrazine contamination during seasonal spikes. 

While it is most common for you to be ingesting atrazine through contaminated drinking water, even low-level exposure to atrazine can have detrimental effects on your health. Other ways you might be at risk of exposure to atrazine include:

  • Eating contaminated foods: residual atrazine can be found in row crops (corn, pineapple, etc.). Atrazine is also found in crops used for livestock feed, which means that certain meats also contain this chemical.

  • Inhalation: if you use atrazine in your operations or you live near a site that uses atrazine, you’re at risk of exposure to this herbicide through inhalation.

  • Skin contact: atrazine doesn’t have to be ingested to be dangerous  – it can be absorbed through your skin. Children are particularly at risk if they are playing in dirt that has traces of atrazine.

Health Effects of Atrazine

Should you be worried about atrazine contamination in your drinking water? This pesticide may be legally allowed – up to a certain extent – in water systems, but it has been linked to many adverse health effects including reproductive harm and cancer. 

Atrazine is an endocrine disruptor that interferes with human hormones and has been linked to preterm delivery, low birth weight, and other reproductive problems as well as developmental risks in infants. California has added atrazine to its prop 65 list due to its ability to cause reproductive and developmental harm. 

Atrazine poses the greatest risk during pregnancy and early childhood. It is a hormone disruptor that leads to an increase in production of estrogen in females and affects the production of testosterone in males. Prenatal atrazine exposure can harm the developing fetus and may lead to birth defects. 

The pesticide has also been linked to an increased risk of various cancers, including ovarian cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, hairy-cell leukemia, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.

How does Clearly Filtered do at Removing Atrazine?

Clearly Filtered Products that Target Atrazine

Removal Rate

Water Pitcher Filter


Under the Sink Filter


Refrigerator Filter


Water Bottle Filter


Proven Protection With Clearly Filtered

Our Water Pitcher with Affinity Filtration Technology removes up to 99.8% of atrazine in your water while our Filtered Water Bottles, Universal Inline Fridge Filter, and 3-Stage Under the Sink Water Filter System are all tested to remove up to  99.9% of atrazine. No matter how or where you use your water, upgrade to Clearly Filtered for the cleanest and safest water from any tap.

Find the right filter for your needs.