Researcher to speak at ISU on pesticide's impact

December 21 2007

A researcher who has found links between a common pesticide used on farms and amphibian deformities is scheduled to speak at Indiana State University on Jan. 8.

Tyrone Hayes, a professor of integrated biology at the University of California at Berkeley, is the inaugural Diversity in Science speaker as part of ISU’s department of life science’s seminar series “From Molecules to Ecosystems.” Hayes will give the speech “From Silent Spring to Silent Night: Atrazine’s Impact on Environmental and Public Health” at 4 p.m. in the Science Building, Room 12.

The speech is offered in conjunction with ISU’s office of diversity and affirmative action.

“It comes from the idea that we have very few faculty in underrepresented groups, especially minorities,” said Rusty Gonser, ISU assistant professor of life sciences.

It is important for students and professors alike to hear Hayes’ research and the struggles he has faced because of it, according to Gonser.

“He has had to fight against a big corporation,” he said. “He is a role model for scientists and shows the data you collect is the data you collect. There’s no spin to it. His research will lead the way for other people experimenting with herbicides and their effects.”

Hayes’ studies have challenged the ecological safety of atrazine, the most widely used pesticide in the United States. His research has shown that the chemical may affect amphibians’ reproductive organs after they are exposed to the farm chemical during spring runoff.

Although other scientists and the company that manufactures atrazine have challenged Hayes’ findings, he has stuck to what his scientific research revealed.

“From our study, the only fair conclusion you can make is that there are abnormalities, there’s atrazine,” he said to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We wanted to find out of atrazine has an effect or not. The answer is that it does.”

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Contact: Rusty Gonser, Indiana State University assistant professor of life sciences, at 812- 237-2395 or rgonser@isugw.indstate.edu

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or jsicking@isugw.indstate.edu

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A University of California at Berkeley researcher, Tyrone Hayes, who has found links between a common pesticide used on farms and amphibian deformities is scheduled to speak at Indiana State University on Jan. 8.

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