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Herbicides are chemicals used to kill plants.

Major Herbicide Manufacturers

Herbicides are sold by 3M Company, Agriliance, Amvac, Arvesta, Atochem, Baker, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Cedar, Dow AgroSciences, Drexel, DuPont, Feinchemie, FMC, Ghardat, Gowan, Griffin, Ishihara Sangyo, Lesco, Monsanto, Monterey, Syngenta, Terra, Ube Industries, Uniroyal, United Phosphorus, and Valent.

Pollution of Waterways

According to a 1999 U.S. Geological Survey publication, "Herbicides are the most common type of pesticide found in streams and ground water within agricultural areas. The most common herbicides in agricultural streams were atrazine and its breakdown product deethylatrazin (DEA), metolachlor, cyanazine, alachlor, and EPTC. All 5 of the parent compounds rank in the top 10 in national use."[1] (Since then, cyanazine has been banned in the United States)

"One of the most striking results for shallow ground water in agricultural areas, compared with streams, is the low rate of detection for several high-use herbicides other than atrazine. This is probably because these herbicides break down faster in the natural environment compared to atrazine. Studies show that break-down products of metolachlor, alachlor, and cyanazine are much more commonly found in ground water than are the parent compounds."
"The herbicides most commonly found in urban streams, in addition to atrazine and metolachlor, are simazine, prometon, 2,4-D, diuron, and tebuthiuron, all of which are commonly used in nonagricultural settings for maintenance of roadsides, commercial areas, lawns, and gardens. Prometon and 2,4-D have among the highest frequencies of urban use. Of the urban herbicides, 2,4-D, simazine, and diuron also have substantial agricultural use, ranking in the top 25 nationally. Diuron and 2,4-D were not detected as frequently as other compounds with similar use, probably because the analytical method for these two compounds is less sensitive and resulted in fewer detections than for other compounds, even when concentrations were similar. As in streams, the most frequently found herbicides in shallow ground water in urban areas were atrazine, DEA, simazine, and prometon. Unlike streams, however, metolachlor was seldom detected, probably because of its lower urban use and lower persistence in the environment compared to the other herbicides."[2]

Classification of Herbicides

Herbicides are classified into the following groupings:[3]

Resources and Articles

Related SourceWatch Pages


  1. Different pesticides dominate in different land-use areas, U.S. Geological Survey, Circular 1225, Accessed September 29, 2011.
  2. Different pesticides dominate in different land-use areas, U.S. Geological Survey, Circular 1225, Accessed September 29, 2011.
  3. Classification of Herbicides, Accessed September 29, 2011.

External Resources

External Articles