Molecule of the Week


May 10, 2010

Atrazine, a widely used herbicide, was first described in 1960 in two Swiss patents. It is prepared from cyanuric chloride, a chemical that is also used to chlorinate swimming pools. It was first considered to be relatively nontoxic to humans and animals, but in the past decade new toxicity studies and atrazine’s persistence in groundwater caused it to be banned in the European Union. It is still used in the United States and numerous other countries. Recently, biologists showed that atrazine causes sex changes in frogs.

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