New studies suggest children at high risk of exposure to popular herbicides

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According to a study published today by researchers at George Washington University, one in three in a large study showed signs of exposure to a pesticide called 2,4-D. This new study found that as the agricultural use of the chemical increased, human exposure to the chemical increased. This is a discovery that raises concerns about possible health effects.

“Our study suggests that human exposure to 2,4-D has increased significantly and is expected to increase further in the future,” said Marlaina Freisthler, Ph.D. increase. George Washington University students and researchers said. “These findings raise concerns about whether this frequently used herbicide can cause health problems, especially for very sensitive infants. Chemistry Exposure. “

Lead author Freisthler and her colleagues Urine sample From participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They estimated 2-D agricultural use by investigating public and private pesticide use data from 2001 to 2014.

Of the 14,395 participants in the survey, nearly 33% had detectable levels of 2,4-D in urine. Researchers have found that participants in urinary levels of this pesticide increased from a minimum of 17% at the start of the study from 2001 to 2002 to a maximum of nearly 40% 10 years later.

Other important discoveries of new research:

  • As the use of herbicides increased during the study period, so did human exposure.
  • Children aged 6 to 11 years were at more than double the risk of increased exposure to 2,4-D.
  • In addition, women of childbearing age were at almost twice the risk of increased exposure compared to men of the same age group.
  • As the use of this herbicide continues to increase, human exposure may increase further in the near future.

Developed in the 1940s, 2,4-D has become a popular herbicide for farmers who want to quickly increase their yields. In addition, homeowners looking for pristine green lawns often turned to 2,4-D in combination with other lawn chemicals.

High levels of exposure to this chemical are associated with cancer, reproductive problems, and other health problems.Scientists do not know what the effects of exposure to low levels of herbicides are, but 2,4-D Endocrine disruptor And this study shows that children and women of childbearing age are at increased risk of exposure.

Playing barefoot on herbicide-treated lawns or putting your hands in your mouth after playing outdoors can expose your child as the soil and grass may be contaminated with chemicals. I have. People can also be exposed by eating or inhaling soy-based foods. The widespread use of 2,4-D in GMO soybeans and cotton could allow 2,4-D to move through the air and expose more people to this chemical, according to researchers. There is sex.

“Further research needs to determine how increased exposure to 2,4-D affects human health, especially if exposure occurs early in life,” the environment and Melissa Perry, a professor of occupational health and the lead author of the paper, said. “In addition to exposure to this pesticide, children and other vulnerable groups are also exposed to other pesticides, and these chemicals can act synergistically to cause health problems. . “

Consumers who want to avoid exposure to pesticides can buy organically grown foods that are unlikely to be grown with herbicides. Researchers said they could also avoid using 2,4-D or other pesticides on their lawns or gardens.

Pesticides associated with chronic kidney disease

For more information:
Marlaina S. Freisthler et al, Relationship between increased agricultural use of 2,4D and population biomarkers of exposure: findings from the 2001-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Environmental hygiene (2022). DOI: 10.1186 / s12940-021-00815-x

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New studies suggest children at high risk of exposure to popular herbicides

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