Perhaps you have seen the infamous video of Alex Jones yelling "They're turning the frogs gay!" He also suggested that the government is putting the thing that makes frogs gay into juice boxes for children. is this true? Well yes and also no. Let's back up.
Atrazine is a common pesticide used to prevent certain weeds from growing. The Syngenta company created Altrazin in 1958. It is a man-made herbicide. It is a chlorotriazine herbicide, which is a chlorine derivative of triazine. The way it works is by interfering with the photosynthesis in some plants and will cause certain plants to dry out and die. It is mainly used as a preventative so that when the roots of the weeds start to grow it absorbs the chemical and kills it before it has a chance to grow. Atrazine is the active ingredient in about 30 different herbicides.
Atrazine is most commonly used for corn production but also is used on sorghum, sugarcane, wheat, macadamia nuts, and guava. It is also used in other areas not related to growing food like railway lines and highway mediums. The University of Hertfordshire has a catalog of pesticides and lists information on each of them. It is listed as "high alert" for human health citing it as an endocrine disruptor. An endocrine disruptor is something that can cause adverse effects on your endocrine system. This can cause reproductive issues, tumors, birth defects, and developmental disorders. Atrazine has been banned in the European Union but continued to be used in America.
Seems pretty bad, doesn't it? Well, when someone tried to speak out against they were harassed by the company that created it. In 1997 Dr. Hayes was assigned to study the effects of atrazine on aquatic life. He did not think it would be fruitful in any way he even said his hypothesis was that nothing would happen. Unfortunately, he was wrong. He found that the herbicide was interfering with the frog's sexual development. He repeated his studies in 2000 and came to the same results. In 2001 a meeting between Dr. Hayes and Syngenta, Syngenta brought in a statistical consultant to discredit all of his work. Quotes from other scientists there said they were surprised because they have seen the findings and it seemed that the statistical consultant had it out dr. Hayes.
In 2002 the EPA visited Dr. Hayes' lab and reviewed his data. Later a company that is run by a consultant and lobbyist for Syngenta petitioned the EPA to ignore his findings. They complied and said that hormone disruption was not a good enough reason to restrict the use. The reason was he had killed lots of frogs for tests that have no value.
In 2003 Dr. Hayes was considered for a job at Duke University. So much so that the university even scheduled a real estate agent to show him and his wife houses to purchase for their move. That was until Syngenta's vice president of global risk contacted Duke and informed them of their relationship. He did not get the job. The same year he paid his way into a hearing with the EPA. He and other scientists presented studies along with Syngenta. All of Syngenta's studies showed no risk to the frog's sexual development and all of the independent scientists showed the opposite. The conclusion was that all the studies were flawed so the EPA asked Syngenta to fund more experiments. A member of the EPA's panel said that she felt it was the wrong decision because all of the studies funded by Syngenta were flawed and the ones from independent labs were more respectable.
Hayes was promoted from associate to professor. He started doing many lectures to his peers. He noticed people in the audience dressed slightly better than the other scientists. He said they would ask questions that made him feel like they were trying to make a mockery of him. One of his former students said "everywhere Tyrone (Dr. Hayes) went there was this guy asking questions that made a mockery of him. We called him the Axe Man.” (source)
Documents were released in 2005 showing how Syngenta was actively trying to discredit Dr. Hayes. Going as far as suggesting they investigate his wife and purchase his name as a word search on the internet to hurt his reputation. Syngenta says that the ideas released were never implemented.
In 2006 Syngenta paid an economist at the Harris School of Public Policy five hundred dollars an hour to come up with proof that banning atrazine would negatively impact the economy. Sure enough, he released his findings at a National Press Club Even in Washington and told them that banning atrazine would have a catastrophic effect on the corn economy.
In 2009 a paper released in Acta Paediatrica found that when the levels of atrazine were highest in the water, the babies conceived at that time were more likely to have genital birth defects. Later the author was a professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. received a subpoena from Syngenta requiring him to turn over every single email he had written in the last ten years mentioning Atrazine in an attempt to discredit his work.
Later that year, an article published in The New York Times states that even at levels that meet the federal standards, it can cause birth defects, low birth weight, and menstrual problems. The article also states that forty-three water systems have sued Syngenta to try to get them to remove atrazine from their water. That same day the president of the American Council on Science and Health, who was paid one hundred thousand dollars went on MSNBC and said the New York Times article was not based on facts.
In 2010 Dr. Hayes published a paper in PNAS showing that male tadpoles exposed to atrazine grew up into females. In response, the head of global product safety at Syngenta wrote a letter to the Proceeding National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) saying that a study with so much weakness should not be published in such a reputable scientific journal. Then they filed an ethics complaint with Berkley and released all of Dr. Hayes's emails, in which he used questionable language, saying it violated the university's standards of ethical conduct. Berkley refused to take action.
Dr. Hayes continues to speak out against Syngenta.
So are they turning the frogs gay? Kinda. Are they putting it in our children's juice boxes? In a way, yes. The government is allowing unsafe levels in our water and it's affecting our children while they are still developing as a fetus.
What is more concerning to me is that atrazine is used mainly on corn crops and ninety-five percent of animal feed is corn. So they are spraying the corn with this herbicide that is intended to get into the roots of plants, it is seeping into the water and causing major developmental issues with babies, then feeding that corn to their already poorly treated livestock so that we can then eat those animals.
They are poisoning our food to stay in business.