Who didn’t know that the Environmental Working Group was wrong about atrazine being a carcinogen?
The herbicide atrazine was not associated with cancer in a study of 36,357 applicators (i.e., a relatively highly-exposed population), according to a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).
The Environmental Working Group has spent more than a decade trying to scare the public about atrazine as a carcinogen.
As EHP often (mostly? virtually always) publishes junk science, readers may be wondering why would JunkScience.com credit any EHP study?
First, standard fare in EHP is positive, but weak association epidemiology, which is axiomatically junk science. Negative epidemiologic results are, however, a horse of a much different color. They report nothing because there is nothing to report.
If atrazine was harming anyone, then surely a large study of the most highly exposed humans (i.e., applicators), would surely report something. But it doesn’t, so case closed.
And given the hysteria fomented about atrazine by EWG, EHP could hardly pass up publication.
Other salient points:
- This study was jointly conducted by the National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the EPA. So it wasn’t “industry funded.”
- This study has been ongoing since 1994 with some 89,000 study subjects, including farmers in Iowa (a big atrazine-on-corn state) and North Carolina. The farmers mix and spray atrazine and then work in the sprayed fields.
- The mention of a potential association with thyroid cancer is simple statistical noise. The last report on this cohort from six years ago mentioned slight elevations in multiple myeloma and Hodgkins lymphoma — but no report of elevated those this time.
- As far as endocrine disruption, there was no increase in prostate cancer, breast cancer or other hormonally sensitive tissue.