A recently published study, focused on a small group of pregnant women in Indiana, finds nearly all of them have detectable levels of a heavily-used herbicide in their body.
The study is the first to examine glyphosate levels in pregnant women. Indiana University environmental researcher Shahid Parvez says they were surprised by the percentage of women with detectable levels.
"Greater than 90 percent of women came out positive," says Parvez. "So their urine was detected with glyphosate."
Glyphosate is an herbicide ingredient used in GMO products, like corn and soybeans. This research found a link between levels and shortened pregnancy length, which can be dangerous for women and babies.
Parvez says he thought the urine levels would would come from water contamination, but instead food products were found to be more likely.
"The women who eat more organic food have lower levels of glyphosate, so that kind of indicates that the food is the primary route of exposure," says Parvez.
Parvez says the finding also show rural women had higher levels.
"In our future study, we’d like to have more women from a rural area, and that’s what you would expect it makes total sense," he says.
The study has limitation, there were only 71 women and limited racial diversity.