The nation's largest private water utility company has joined a federal lawsuit that aims to force the manufacturer of atrazine, a widely-used herbicide, to pay for its removal from drinking water.
As the Investigative Fund reported two weeks ago,
the class action lawsuit was originally filed in U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of Illinois by 16 cities in Kansas, Illinois,
Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa. The communities are alleging that
Swiss corporation Syngenta AG and its Delaware counterpart Syngenta
Crop Protection, Inc. made billions of dollars selling atrazine while
local taxpayers were left "the ever-growing bill for filtering the
toxic product from the public's drinking water."
American Water Company joined the lawsuit in five of those states yesterday, representing 28 additional Midwestern communities.
A spokesman for American Water, Terry Mackin, said in a written
statement that the company's state subsidiaries are joining the case to
recover past and future "costs of treating their raw water supplies for
atrazine which they all have done in meeting or exceeding the federal
and state drinking water standards."
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Syngenta spokesman Paul Minehart told the Investigative fund that
the company had not yet been served with a federal lawsuit. He re-emphasized that "the EPA re-registered atrazine in 2006, stating it would cause no harm to the general population."
We reported in a series of articles last
fall that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency failed to notify the
public that the weed-killer had been found at levels above the federal
safety limit in drinking water in at least four states. The EPA
recently announced that it would be undertaking a re-evaluation of the
chemical's potential to cause harm to humans and animals.