Research conducted by Dr. Cynthia Curl, Associate Professor in the School of Public and Population Health and director of the Curl Agricultural Health Lab (CAHL), was recently highlighted in several media outlets across the US, including The Guardian, The Idaho Press and The Conversation. Dr. Curl and her research team investigated potential sources of pregnant women’s exposure to glyphosate. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp and the most commonly used pesticide in the world, has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and has been linked to preterm birth. Dr. Curl and her team aimed to understand glyphosate exposure levels and pathways among pregnant women, a particularly vulnerable population.
The research found that pregnant women in Idaho living close to an agricultural field (within 500 meters) had significantly higher glyphosate concentrations in their urine than those who did not live near agricultural fields, but only during the time of year that farmers spray their fields with glyphosate. Furthermore, consumption of an organic diet (i.e., food produced without use of synthetic pesticides) lowered glyphosate concentrations among women who lived far from fields, but did not change glyphosate levels among women who lived close to fields. This suggests that agricultural spray is an important source of glyphosate exposure among pregnant women. Read more about this research in the news on the CAHL press page.