Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Active ingredient of herbicide Roundup linked to shorter pregnancies, and thus 'lifelong adverse consequences'

More than 90 percent of a group of pregnant women in central Indiana had detectable levels of the active ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup in their urine, according to researchers at Indiana University and the University of California San Francisco. The levels of glyphosate were higher in rural areas. The study, recently published in the journal Environmental Health, is the first to examine glyphosate exposure in pregnant Americans, Rich Schneider reports in an IU press release.

Researcher Shahid Parvez (IUPUI photo)
The glyphosate levels correlated significantly with shortened pregnancies, and "There is growing evidence that even a slight reduction in gestational length can lead to lifelong adverse consequences," said principal investigator Shahid Parvez, an assistant environmental health science professor at IU-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The researchers thought public drinking water supplies was the primary source of glyphosate exposure, but none of the tested water samples showed glyphosate residue. Rather, the main source of glyphosate intake seemed to be consumption of genetically modified food items and caffeinated beverages. "Use of glyphosate is heaviest in the Midwest due to corn and soybean production," Schneider reports. "Its residues are found in the environment, major crops and food items that humans consume daily."

Researchers found that 66 of the 71 women in the study, 93 percent, had glyphosate in their urine. "We found higher urine glyphosate levels in women who lived in rural areas, and in those who consumed more caffeinated beverages," Parvez said. The samples were obtained while the women received routine prenatal care.

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