Congratulations to Walid D. Fakhouri, Joseph L. Nuñez, and Frances Trail for their recently published work on reduction of growth hormone production by the herbicide Atrazine. Growth hormone is important, as will sound obvious, because it plays a key role in growth (cell proliferation) but also because it influences production of many other hormones including those important in sexual development and reproduction. Changes in growth hormone produce a range of effects that extend far beyond body size.
The battles over Atrazine have been politically intense and, at times, highly entertaining to those on the sidelines. It was banned in Europe in 2004, but remained in use in the US after studies were provided to the EPA through Syngenta, the company that manufactures Atrazine, that contradicted studies by independent scientist Tyrone Hayes at the University of California at Berkeley.
Understanding Atrazine's mechanism of action will be invaluable in making informed well-reasoned decisions for protection of human health and the environment.
Fakhouri, W., Nuñez, J., & Trail, F. (2010). Atrazine Binds to the Growth Hormone–Releasing Hormone Receptor and Affects Growth Hormone Gene Expression Environmental Health Perspectives, 118 (10), 1400-1405 DOI: 10.1289/ehp.0900738