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Communities | Environment

Coast Range Community Receives Lab Results From Pesticide Investigation

A helicopter applies herbicides in a clear-cut area.

A helicopter applies herbicides in a clear-cut area.

Bureau of Land Management

Residents in the Triangle Lake community west of Eugene have received letters from the Federal Department of Health and Human Services this month, explaining if a common herbicide was found in their urine. An analysis of the community’s urine test data will be published by the Federal Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry early this year.

The herbicide in question, 2,4-D is used on lawns and in agriculture. In the Coast Range mountains around Triangle Lake, commercial forestry operations use helicopters to spray it on clear-cuts. A group called the Pitchfork Rebellion has raised concerns that the herbicides are drifting onto nearby residential land.

Last year, the group asked Dana Barr, a researcher from Emory University in Georgia, to test their urine for the presence of two herbicides, 2,4-D and Atrazine.

State and federal agencies started working together on an investigation. They collected urine samples from residents this summer. Investigators also tested soil, water, and food. Jae Douglas, an investigator with the Oregon Health Authority, says the 2,4-D has a short half life and generally passes quickly through the human body. Douglas says the primary goal of the investigation is to determine what pathways are exposing Triangle lake residents to the herbicides,

“If there is some sort of source in the community that is getting re-charged and people are getting chronic exposures, that was a very important piece of information we needed to have,” Douglas said.

Residents participating in the study have received the results of their first urine test. Douglas says data from the urine tests will be made public in a report early this year. And a new round of testing will begin in the spring.

This article was revised on Jan. 2 to correct an error. When this article was originally posted on Jan. 2, it incorrectly stated that the herbicide 2,4-D is found in Roundup.

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