Birth defects linked to nitrates in drinking water

Photo by Souris Area Branch Wildlife Federation; Flickr
Photo by Souris Area Branch Wildlife Federation; Flickr

A recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives connects nitrate levels in drinking water consumed by pregnant women with the occurrence of birth defects in their children. Continue reading

Popular herbicide linked to birth defects

Photo by andyarthur, Flickr

Studies indicate that a popular herbicide used around the U.S. is linked to birth defects. The herbicide, known as Roundup, contains the chemical glyphosate, which has repeatedly been shown to cause birth defects in laboratory animals. Less clear is the chemical’s effects on humans. For obvious reasons, scientists have not conducted much testing on humans, but the Huffington Post reports that examples indicating a strong connection between glyphosate and human birth defects do exist:

Farmers and others in Argentina used the weedkiller primarily on genetically modified Roundup Ready soy, which covers nearly 50 million acres, or half of the country’s cultivated land area. In 2009 farmers sprayed that acreage with an estimated 200 million liters of glyphosate.

The Argentine government helped pull the country out of a recession in the 1990s in part by promoting genetically modified soy. Though it was something of a miracle for poor farmers, several years after the first big harvests residents near where the soy cop grew began reporting health problems, including high rates of birth defects and cancers, as well as the losses of crops and livestock as the herbicide spray drifted across the countryside. Continue reading