Glyphosate Biomonitoring of Pregnant Women in Indiana: Parvez et al., 2018

Glyphosate exposure in pregnancy and shortened gestational length: a prospective Indiana birth cohort study

S. Parvez, R.R. Gerona, C. Proctor, M. Friesen, J.L. Ashby, J.L. Reiter, Z. Lui, and P.D. Winchester; Environmental Health, 2018, Volume 17.

Why It's Important:

Herbicide use on farms growing soybeans has doubled since 2001. The spread of weeds resistant to several of today’s most widely applied herbicides is driving herbicide use upward.  The pressing need to rigorously study the impacts of prenatal herbicide exposures on birth outcomes and children’s development across the Midwest gave birth to the Heartland Study.

What They Found:

Urinary biomonitoring is a standard tool for measuring herbicide exposures in humans. The research team collected urine samples from 71 pregnant women living in central Indiana in 2015 and 2016.

Almost all of them – 66 of the 71, or 93% – had detectable levels of glyphosate (aka “Roundup”) in their urine.

Glyphosate is the # 1 herbicide used in the Midwest and around the world. These pregnant women had glyphosate levels ranging from 0.5 ppb (parts per billion) to 7.2 ppb, with an average level of 3.4 ppb.

In addition, higher glyphosate levels were statistically associated with shorter pregnancies. The length of pregnancy – known as gestation – impacts a baby’s development in many ways, some of which are linked to increased risk of adult-onset disease.

Number of Pregnant Women With Detectable Glyphosate

  • Glyphosate Detected
  • No Glyphosate Detected

Range of Glyphosate Levels in Urine of Pregnant Women

Low End = 0.5 parts per billion

High End = 7.2 parts per billion

See the full paper here, or click the following keywords to pull up more: herbicide use, birth outcomes, glyphosate

About Us:

The Heartland Study is focused on birth outcomes in a 13-state region that 72 million Americans call home. Many doctors — and families — worry that it seems to be getting harder for women to get pregnant and carry a healthy child to term.

The Heartland Study is conducting cutting-edge scientific research that explores whether rising herbicide use is part of what is driving more frequent, and/or more serious reproductive problems and birth defects in the Midwest and beyond.