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Friday, March 15, 2013
Kauai County Smacks Down Hype: "No Atrazine in Water Supply"
By News Release @ 6:28 PM :: 8403 Views :: Kauai County, Environment, GMOs

DOW officials respond to atrazine concerns

News Release from Kauai County March 13, 2013

LĪHU‘E – Kaua‘i’s drinking water is safe, and there have been no levels of atrazine detected in drinking water since 2005, according to David Craddick, Manager of the County’s Department of Water (DOW).

“For decades the department has been monitoring the water for the Waimea-Kekaha Water system for a number of chemical contaminants including atrazine,” stated Craddick. “While trace amounts of atrazine were detected in some of our water systems, no trace of the chemical was ever found in our Waimea-Kekaha water system, and there has been no detection since 2005. Our last analysis of the water in Waimea-Kekaha was in October of 2012 and atrazine was not detected.”

Craddick’s comments come in response to customer concerns regarding atrazine in Kaua‘i’s drinking water systems. An increase in customer calls and correspondence appears to have been prompted by a recent article published in The Garden Island newspaper.

According to Craddick, atrazine was used by the sugar industry as an herbicide and was occasionally detected in some of Kaua‘i’s water sources. However, the levels were far below the maximum contamination level established by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“To our knowledge atrazine is not present in amounts that can be detected by modern analytical methodology,” said Craddick. “In light of the recent interest in atrazine, the water department will be conducting additional testing for atrazine in all of our water sources in the Waimea-Kekaha water system.”

DOW invites the public to attend a community meeting on Friday, March 22 at the Waimea Neighborhood Center from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. to discuss DOW’s testing procedures and results.

Additionally, Craddick encourages concerned citizens to visit the department’s website at www.kauaiwater.org to view the latest water quality report. Members of the public may also contact DOW’s microbiology lab at 245-5446 with questions regarding testing.

“Our Water Quality Division works diligently, along with the state’s Department of Health Safe Drinking Water Branch, to ensure the quality of your water meets the federal government’s EPA standards,” stated Craddick.

To request special assistance or an auxiliary aid for the community meeting, please call the Department of Water at 245-5408 at least 7 business days prior to the meeting.

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KGI: Atrazine pollutant concerns draw DOW response

March 10, 2013: Following Ritte, Kauai Ecos March against GMOs

Hawaii County Water Department: Atrazine levels safe

HTH 03/15/2013: Hawaii County Water Supply officials say levels of atrazine in island wells are far below safe thresholds, even as 19 members of the state House on Thursday called for a task force to investigate the effects of the herbicide on human health.

Ten of Hawaii Island’s 22 water wells show traces of atrazine, all below the limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said Water Department deputy manager Keith Okamoto. He said the department tests annually for chemicals and monthly for bacteria.

Atrazine isn’t found in wells in population centers such as Hilo and Kona, but has been detected in wells along the Hamakua coast and Ka‘u, where agriculture is the dominant industry, Okamoto said. The organic chemical was used for decades in the state to fight weeds in sugarcane, pineapple and seed corn crops.

“They are all well below the EPA maximum contaminant level, and it looks like they are on a downward trend,” Okamoto said

(Fascinating Factoid: There are no GMO seed growers operating on the Big Island.)

read … Hawaii Tribune-Herald

LINK: Hawaii County Water Testing Reports

House of Representatives asks for study on effects of toxic pesticide

News Release from Office of Rep Cynthia Thielen (R-Kaneohe) March 13, 2013

Honolulu –Today 19 Legislators in the State House of Representatives, including some in leadership, cosponsored HR100 and HCR129 calling for the State Director of Health to head a task force on the effects of atrazine on human health. Atrazine is a toxic, weed-killing pesticide used in Hawai‘i for decades in treating sugarcane, pineapple, and most recently seed corn. 

The Atrazine Task Force is charged with reporting its findings, including any proposed legislation, to the State Legislature no later than October 31, 2013.  Legislation resulting from the task force's recommendations will be considered during the 2014 Legislative Session. 

Hawai‘i State Representative Cynthia Thielen, a co-introducer of HR100 and HCR129, said, "It is crucial that the state make every effort to protect our residents, our ‘aina, and our oceans from the potential adverse effects of chronic atrazine exposure. Historically in Hawai‘i, waiting to investigate pesticide or chemical exposure has resulted in needless tragedy and expensive cleanups. We need more information, and the time to do this is now." 

Research has indicated that atrazine exposure may be associated with reproductive problems in men, irregular menstrual cycles in women, and low birth weight and small head circumference in infants.  In laboratory mammals, abnormal reproductive system development, impaired prostate gland formation, and abnormal breast tissue development have also been found. Additionally, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service reported that atrazine may have dangerous effects on fish. 

Tests run by the Department of Health repeatedly have shown that Hawai‘i's drinking water, particularly on the Big Island, is contaminated with low levels of atrazine. A report by the Soil/Water/Air Protection Enterprise indicates that Hawai‘i is ranked tenth among states for the percentage of its population exposed to atrazine in drinking water. 

"I understand that the State Department of Agriculture does not test for atrazine because there is a shortage of inspectors. Companies using atrazine in Hawai‘i are policing themselves in regard to EPA application compliance. If we are not testing consistently, then how can we know that these companies are following the EPA prescribed protocols?  The fact that atrazine is banned in Europe due to groundwater contamination risks should be a red flag for all of us," said Representative Thielen.

Atrazine has been under continued EPA evaluation and is scheduled for a registration review beginning this year.

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