Fact Check: 80 Million Tons Of Atrazine Are NOT Used On Crops; Atrazine Does NOT Change Your Gender

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: 80 Million Tons Of Atrazine Are NOT Used On Crops; Atrazine Does NOT Change Your Gender Frog Study

Are there 80 million tons of Atrazine used on American crops and does it change your gender? No, neither are true: The study cited in the post clearly states that 80 million pounds of Atrazine is used in the United States, not 80 million tons. One ton equals 2,000 pounds so 80 million tons would equal 160 billion pounds (and 80 million pounds is 40,000 tons). And Atrazine does not change a person's gender. The 2010 study cited claims that in adult amphibians, "Atrazine-exposed males were both demasculinized (chemically castrated) and completely feminized as adults." While there have been concerns about the effects of Atrazine on humans, there is no evidence that it changes the gender of humans.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post on July 3, 2022. It opens:



This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

image (80).png

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Jul 8 19:47:02 2022 UTC)

The study, published on March 9, 2010, is titled, "Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis)":

Atrazine is one of the most widely used pesticides in the world. Approximately 80 million pounds are applied annually in the United States alone, and atrazine is the most common pesticide contaminant of ground and surface water.

The study says about amphibians:

Perhaps the most dramatic finding here is that hermaphroditism observed at metamorphosis in animals exposed to atrazine can ultimately result in complete feminization. The complete feminization of males exposed to atrazine is consistent with two previous studies that showed that atrazine feminizes zebra fish (Danio rerio) and Xenopus laevis and a more recent study that showed that atrazine exposure feminizes leopard frogs, Rana pipiens. These previous reports based their findings on shifts in the sex ratio, however; our study showed that atrazine-induced females are indeed genetic males. Furthermore, we showed that feminization is persistent and complete, resulting in reproductively functional females capable of producing viable eggs. Together, the present data and these three similar reports suggest that sex-reversal by atrazine (complete feminization of genetic males) is not a species-specific effect but rather one that occurs across nonamniote vertebrate classes.

Nowhere does the study say that human gender can be changed due to Atrazine. It does say it is a "potent endocrine disruptor" in "human cell lines."

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a Refined Ecological Risk Assessment for Atrazine in 2016 that said:

Many uncertainties and concerns have been identified in study protocols and results of the available amphibian data. Therefore, it is difficult to make definitive conclusions about the impact of atrazine at a given concentration but multiple studies have reported effects to various endpoints at environmentally-relevant concentrations.

On October 30, 2020, the EPA's issuance of the atrazine ID (interim registration review decision) was challenged (under II. Background) but made no mention of gender change in humans as a concern. On July 5, 2022, the EPA announced the availability of its proposed revisions and is soliciting public comment.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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