Popular herbicide may be causing short pregnancies

Photo courtesy of Rodale's Organic Life

Jenna Banks, Opinion Editor

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RoundUp, the most widely known and used herbicide all across the nation, has been sweeping corn and soybean fields, lawns, gardens, and other crop harvests since 1971 when it was first introduced to the agricultural market. The active ingredient in RoundUP is glyphosate. Glyphosate is used against weeds by blocking a protein that is essential to plant growth, approximately 300 million pounds of RoundUp are applied every year in the United States, with the Midwest leading with the heaviest usage.

Although, a concerning study conducted in 2015 and 2016 suggests that glyphosate is a cause of shorter pregnancies. 71 pregnant women from a short range of nine counties in Indiana were tested and the results revealed 93 percent of the subjects were positive for glyphosate in their systems. The researchers also tested women who had recently given birth and compared the length of pregnancies from the women who were positive for glyphosate to those who were not. In this study, there were only two full-term pregnancies out of the 71, and the women who carried higher levels of glyphosate delivered even earlier than the ones with lower or no amount of glyphosate. A healthy and typical pregnancy lasts 37 to 42 weeks, any earlier than 37 weeks is considered an early pregnancy. Early pregnancies can then lead to lifelong complications for babies, such as heart and respiratory problems and other birth defects.

“It was mind-boggling that glyphosate was so prevalent in urine samples . . . but it was a pleasant surprise that none of the drinking water came out positive,” stated Shahid Parvez, a researcher at the Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis to Fox News.

It also showed that the women who resided in rural areas had higher traces of glyphosate than in suburban areas. The authors of the study do state that the range and racial diversity of the investigation are very limited and therefore leaves room for errors.

During the first trimester, it is ideal to keep a safe distance from any pesticide as the fetal nervous system is beginning to develop and may cause harm to both the baby and cause the mother to become ill.

Not only was glyphosate linked to shorter pregnancies, in another study in 2015 conducted by the World Health Organization, it was labeled as a “probable carcinogen,” which means it has the potential to cause cancer.

RoundUp, although helpful in the agricultural world, is proving to be harmful to humans.