|CHEMICAL CASTRATING HERBICIDE USED IN SWIMMING POOLS
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH CALLS FOR BANS ON SIMAZINE IN SWIMMING
POOLS AND MORE RESEARCH INTO SWIMMING POOL CHEMICALS
Friends of the Earth Australia today called for bans on
the use of Simazine in swimming pools in Australia. Simazine
is a herbicide, registered for use by the Australian Pesticides
and Veterinary Medicines Association (APVMA) for a number
of uses including swimming pools. Simazine also kills
algae in swimming pools, dams, troughs, ponds and freshwater
aquariums. The US EPA banned the use of Simazine in swimming
pools in the United States in 1994.
Friends of the Earth Australia researcher Anthony Amis
said; "It is deeply disturbing that Simazine is still
registered for use in swimming pools in Australia. A US
EPA risk assessment 14 years ago concluded that water
treated with simazine algaecides represented an unacceptable
cancer and non-cancer health risk to children and adults.
Simazine hasn't been allowed in swimming pools in the
U.S. since 1994, yet it still remains registered in Australia."
"Our organisation also has problems with several
other chemicals used in the swimming pool industry in
Australia. We believe that the Regulatory Bodies need
to take a closer look at this industry" said Mr Amis.
"At this time however, Friends of the Earth is particularly
concerned about Simazine".
Friends of the Earth has identified 6 companies including
simazine as swimming pool algaecides in Australia. Chemtura
Australia Pty Ltd, Greenfield Industries Pty Ltd, Pool
and Spa Poppits Pty Ltd, Poolgard Pty Ltd, Wobelea Pty
Ltd and Price Chemicals Pty Ltd. "Simazine would
not be the major algaecide used in swimming pools in Australia,
so not all pools are treated with it. There are alternatives"
Mr Amis stated.
"From our research it also appears that once added
to swimming pools, simazine levels could remain at between
10 and 20 parts per billion (ppb) every day over a 3 month
period" said Mr Amis. Simazine at such levels could
be placing anyone swimming in these pools at risk. The
risk will increase in regards to children, as children
may use swimming pools for longer periods of time, they
may ingest greater volumes of water and have a lower weight
ratio. We also have concerns regarding uptake of simazine
via skin absorption and the impact of pregnant women swimming
in simazine treated water." said Mr Amis. "Studies
overseas have suggested that children in swimming pools
can ingest ~50ml of swimming pool water per hour".
"The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines state that
the health limit for Simazine is 20 parts per billion
(ppb), whilst the Guideline limit is 0.5 ppb. What this
means that in a domestic water supply for intance, if
simazine was detected at 0.5 ppb, the water authority
theoretically has to determine the source of the pollution
in order to stop this pollution occurring again. Yet Australian
regulators allow limits much higher than the Drinking
Water Guideline Level in swimming pools where the water
can be ingested by people at levels which would breach
the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. There are also
no standards in Australia for recreational levels of Simazine.
If a river was polluted with Simazine at 20 parts per
billion and people were swimming in it there would be
a public outcry" said Mr Amis. "Yet regulators
allow the public to be exposed to Simazine at these levels
in swimming pools".
According to Tasmanian GP Dr Alison Bleaney "Simazine
works by disrupting our hormone (endocrine) and enzyme
systems and allowing other chemicals to act and pre-set
our bodies for some illnesses and cancers. The type and
severity of the effects depends on the time that they
affect us but especially when in utero or as a child.
Hormone disruptors work at extremely low concentrations.
They also upset our immune system and are very strong
skin sensitisers i.e. are allergenic, and alter the functioning
of our genes i.e. cause epigenetic changes.
Atrazine and simazine are among the strongest of the environmental
oestrogens (EO), which are also strong allergy modifiers,
and the effects of EO's
are additive. Atrazine and simazine have been shown to
cause chemical castration of male frogs and other animals
at 0.1 ppb, by induction of an enzyme (aromatase) which
changes testosterone into oestrogen. The hormones in frogs
are identical to those in humans. The effects are apparent
in the next 2 generations, even when only the pregnant
mother was exposed to these chemicals.
Immune dysfunction can be a factor in illnesses such as
diseases (Parkinson's disease) and cancers. The total
biological effects of these and other toxic herbicides
on all the animals in our ecosystems including humans
have not been fully investigated let alone quantified."
concluded Ms Bleaney.
"Why on earth is this product still allowed to be
registered when there are alternatives. We urge consumers
to avoid the use of simazine in swimming pools and to
teach their children not to swallow swimming pool water"
concluded Mr Amis.