Most likely source of exposure is through food and drinks, most of which contain glyphosate
Glyphosate exposure during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weights for babies, a new study of pregnant women has found. Lower birth weights are linked to many health problems later in life, from diabetes to heart problems.
Glyphosate weedkiller is used on most GM crops grown in the world, which are engineered to tolerate being sprayed with it.
In the study, published in October in Environmental Health, the researchers also found that mothers with high-risk pregnancies who had higher glyphosate levels in their urine during the first trimester were also more likely to have babies admitted to neonatal intensive care units, or NICUs.
Prenatal glyphosate exposure has been linked with adverse reproductive outcomes in animal studies, but prior to this publication of this study, little was known about the effects of glyphosate exposure during pregnancy in humans.
Urine glyphosate levels above the limit of detection (0.1 ng/mL) were found in 186 of 187 (99%) of the pregnant women in the study.
The authors state that the most likely source of exposure is through food and drinks, most of which have been found to contain glyphosate residues.
Dr Paul Winchester, co-author of the study and professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Indiana Medical School, told the environmental publication EHN, "Virtually all the major chronic diseases suffered from in adulthood can be linked to being smaller at birth.”
The new study adds to a small but growing body of evidence linking the world's most commonly used weedkiller to potential pregnancy harms, according to John Meeker, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health who was not involved with the study, in an interview with EHN.
Given the animal literature showing congenital disabilities and reproductive harms from glyphosate, Meeker added that the new study “really further shines light on the need for more studies in this area".
The new study:
Glyphosate exposure in early pregnancy and reduced fetal growth: a prospective observational study of high-risk pregnancies.
Roy R. Gerona, Jill L. Reiter, Igor Zakharevich, Cathy Proctor, Jun Ying, Robin Mesnage, Michael Antoniou & Paul D. Winchester
Environmental Health 21, Article number: 95 (2022)
Image of low birth weight baby by Aneta Meszko, Marcin Meszko, via Wiki Commons. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) licence.