Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder is set to hear motions in a series of cases filed over alleged water contamination involving a popular weed killer.

Among the motions to be heard beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 14 is a move by the defendants to designate the case against Syngenta Crop Protection as the lead case.

Syngenta is one of a number of makers of atrazine that is being sued by the Holiday Shores Sanitation District and a number of Illinois municipalities in a series of proposed class actions.

The 2004 cases have yet to reach the class certification stage.

The plaintiffs were recently allowed to amend their complaint to include degradent chemicals stemming from atrazine's breakdown and add other plaintiffs.

Holiday Shores is suing for unspecified damages in the six cases, claiming that the weed killer runs off from fields and contaminates drinking water.

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled that atrazine is safe in drinking water in three parts per billion, the plaintiffs contend that even in small concentrations the weed killer can cause problems in human beings such as fetal death.

The 2004 cases are still in the early discovery stages.

They had been assigned to Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack but were reassigned to Crowder earlier this year due to Stack's impending retirement.

The plaintiffs are represented by Stephen Tillery.

Syngenta and United Agri-Products are represented by Kurtis Reeg.

Growmark and Dow are represented by Robert Shultz.

Makhteshim is represented by Russell Scott.

Sipcam Agro USA is represented by Geoffrey Bryce.

Drexel Chemical, Sipcam Agro USA and Makhteshim Agan of Israel are also defendants in the suits.

The atrazine case numbers are Madison cases 04-L-708 to 04-L-713.

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Syngenta U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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