Apr 18, 2008

Be kind to tadpoles; don't use atrazine herbicides

Tadpoles aka baby frogs, develop deformed bodies and gonads from exposure to the popular weed killer atrazine, and now Tufts university researchers have discovered, damaged hearts and impaired kidneys and digestive systems when exposed to the widely used herbicide in their early stages of life, . See media release here.

Atrazine is used to control broadleaf and grassy weeds on golf courses and residential lawns,. Farmers use it to treat corn and soybeans. Atrazine blocks photosynthesis once it is absorbed by plants.

Organ morphogenesis is a brief, extremely sensitive phase in the tadpoles' growth cycle when they are starting to develop organs:brain, heart kidneys etc. Exposure to atrazine during organ morphogenesis, the researchers found, caused the tadpoles to develop the damages noted above as well as brain damage.

Will our spring peepers and wood frogs vanish as lawns and crops are kept uniform monocultures through herbicides?

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