Pregnant women living near farm fields show “significantly” increased concentrations of glyphosate weed killer in their urine during seasonal periods when farmers are spraying their fields with the pesticide, according to a new scientific paper published Wednesday.
The research team said the findings were concerning, given recent studies that have associated gestational exposure to glyphosate with reduced fetal growth and other fetal problems.
“If the developing fetus is especially vulnerable to glyphosate, it is critical to understand the magnitude and sources of exposure during this critical developmental period,” the new paper states. The authors include researchers from the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Washington; King’s College London; Boise State University; and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The results were also considered somewhat surprising because none of the women studied worked with glyphosate or other pesticides or had a household member who worked with pesticides, said Cynthia Curl, associate professor at Boise State and lead author on the paper.
Decades of secret Syngenta documents revealed by The New Lede were the focus of an ABC News Nightline segment this week, highlighting how the company has worked to hide the risks of its paraquat herbicide.
The New Lede, in a co-publishing arrangement with The Guardian, first revealed a trove of internal Syngenta documents in October 2022 and followed up in subsequent stories, exposing years of corporate efforts to cover up evidence that paraquat can cause Parkinson’s disease.
The documents obtained by The New Lede additionally showed evidence of efforts to manipulate and influence the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and published scientific literature. The documents also show how the company worked to mislead the public about paraquat dangers.
Hazardous chemical accidents are occurring almost daily, on average, in the United States, exposing people to dangerous toxins through fires, explosions, leaks, spills and other releases, according to a new analysis by nonprofit researchers.
The report, which was prepared by Coming Clean, in conjunction with a network of environmental and economic justice organizations in the Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters, documents what it calls an “alarming frequency” of accidents, and comes a month before US regulators are expected to release final rules aimed at preventing such incidents. It comes one day after an explosion and fire at a Texas petroleum processing plant injured at least one plant worker and triggered evacuations and stay-at-home-orders to community residents.
The report is in line with a prior analysis revealed in The New Lede in February, which reported such incidents were happening approximately every two days. The new report shows 829 hazardous chemical incidents from Jan. 1, 2021, through Oct. 15 of this year, or roughly one every 1.2 days. The report includes revised higher numbers for 2021 not included in the February analysis that reflect incidents at a number of Texas facilities amid extreme cold temperatures in February of that year. The research is based on capturing incidents of chemical spills via monitoring news sources; researchers say the figures should be regarded as conservative because not all of them are reported in the news media.
The majority of the incidents tallied are connected to the fossil fuel industry, including the use, transport, production and disposal of fossil fuels and fossil fuel products, according to the report, which is accompanied by a searchable database of chemical incidents.