The Atrazine Exposed Portal
This article is part of the Atrazine Exposed portal on SourceWatch. Help expose the truth about atrazine.
Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, recently unsealed as part of a major lawsuit against Syngenta, reveal how the global chemical company's PR team investigated the press and spent millions to spin news coverage and public perceptions in the face of growing concerns about potential health risks from the widely used weed-killer "atrazine." This clearinghouse is for information about the company's PR campaign to influence the media, potential jurors, potential plaintiffs, farmers, politicians, scientists, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the midst of reviews of the weed-killer's potential to act as an endocrine disruptor, over the past decade or so.
The U.S. Geological Survey is one resource for citizens to look at the levels of atrazine in water nearby and in other regions. Click here for an interactive map.
About the Atrazine PR Blitz
The Center for Media and Democracy has analyzed the emails, invoices, and other PR documents unsealed by the court. Read more by clicking the articles below published in CMD's PRWatch:
- Syngenta PR’s Weed-Killer Spin Machine: Investigating the Press and Shaping the "News" about Atrazine, by Beau Hodai and Lisa Graves
- Syngenta's Paid Third Party Pundits Spin the "News" on Atrazine, by Sara Jerving
- Atrazine: A "Molecular Bull in a China Shop", by Rebekah Wilce
- Syngenta Celebrates Earth Day by Ladling on the Pesticides, by Rebekah Wilce
Key Documents EXPOSED
Here are the key documents discussed in the most recent analysis of Syngenta's PR campaign about atrazine:
To read more of the PR documents unsealed by the court, click below.
- Clare Howard, "EPA Oversight: Weighing the Parts, Ignoring the Whole," 100 Reporters (Feb. 15, 2012).
- Clare Howard, "Pitchfork Rebels: Organic Farmers Take on Big Ag," 100 Reporters (Feb. 15, 2012).
- Clare Howard, "Downwind: The Second-Hand Smoke of Big Agriculture," 100 Reporters (Feb. 14, 2012).
- Clare Howard, "Coming Clean: Water Companies Call Industry to Account," 100 Reporters (Feb. 14, 2012).
- Rachael Moeller Gorman, "Glass half empty: Is your tap water safe?," MSNBC and Good Housekeeping (Feb. 14, 2012).
- Penelope Jasessar Chaffer, "Tyrone Hayes + Penelope Jagessar Chaffer: The toxic baby?," TED, Ideas Worth Sharing (Feb. 14, 2012) (video).
- John Sundquist, "Let’s stop aerial spraying of poison on forestland Guest viewpoint ," Register Guard (Feb. 10, 2012) (op-ed).
- Paul Fattig, "Pesticide rallies intended to spread concerns," Mail Tribune (Feb. 9, 2012).
- Scholars & Rogues, "Steve Milloy is still a fact fighter for hire," ScholarsandRogues.com (Feb. 9, 2012).
- Jeff Mapes, "Behind the PR curtain: Oregon firm played part in effort to counter attacks on herbicide," The Oregonian (Feb. 8, 2012).
- Steve Myers, "Firm investigated HuffPost reporter’s motivations for critical stories," Poynter (Feb. 7, 2012).
- Jon Entine, "Over-Regulation Fever at the White House," Forbes (Feb. 9, 2012) (Entine is one of the people mentioned in the unsealed documents as a potential "third party" spokesperson for atrazine, as noted in the PRWatch article available here.)
- Rich Keller, "Smear campaign against atrazine and Syngenta," Ag Professional (op-ed) (This is a trade magazine that promotes information from Syngenta press releases; this online magazine includes a promo ad that says, "Ag Professional, sponsored by Syngenta.")
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Key Reports about Atrazine in Water
Here are some of the reports about the spikes in atrazine levels in drinking water. These stories indicate that the company and EPA knew about the spikes but that the general public was not informed.
- The Natural Resources Defense Council has documented information about this weed-killer and its level in drinking water. Click here to read NRDC's reports on atrazine, including its breakthrough investigation "Poisoning the Well" and its follow-up report, "Still Poisoning the Well."
- The New York Times' reporter Charles Duhigg did a major investigation of atrazine in drinking water as part of a series called "Toxic Waters." Click here to read his story about "Debating How Much Weed Killer Is Safe in Your Water Glass."
- The Huffington Post Investigative Fund's reporter, Danielle Ivory, wrote about the failure of the Environmental Protection Agency to let Americans known about the spikes of atrazine in their drinking water. Click here to read her story, "EPA Fails To Inform Public About Weed-Killer In Drinking Water."
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