If you’ve ever run barefoot on a grassy lawn in Ohio, there is a good chance you’ve been exposed to a toxic herbicide. According to a study from The George Washington University, around one-third of Americans have detectable levels of 2,4-D in their systems.
What is 2,4-D?
Exposure to the herbicide 2,4-D has been shown to cause reproductive problems, cancer and other health issues in humans. As the weed killer has been used more widely in the U.S., people have been more and more exposed to it. According to researchers, children are the most at risk of coming into contact with 2,4-D, and children are also the most at risk for developing health problems from the substance.
Researchers surveyed people for more than a decade
The George Washington University study included a total of 14,395 participants who were surveyed between 2001 and 2014. Overall, researchers determined that almost 33% of the study participants had detectible levels of 2,4-D in their urine.
Researchers found that there was a significant difference between 2,4-D weed killer exposures from one decade to the next. Between 2001 and 2002, just 17% of study participants had 2,4-D in their systems. Ten years later, 40% of the study participants were found to have 2,4-D in their systems.
Detectable levels of 2,4-D were much more prevalent in children and women of childbearing age. According to the study, children between the ages of 6-11 were more than twice as likely to have 2,4-D in their urine samples than adults between the ages of 20 and 59. Women of childbearing age were 1.85 times more likely to have 2,4-D in their urine than men of the same age.
More research needed
Researchers say that the long-term impact of 2,4-D exposure needs to be looked into further. The toxic weed killer has been used more prevalently in recent years due to glyphosate resistance in plants. However, other types of pesticides are also toxic to human health, and 2,4-D may interact with these other chemicals to produce a range of human health problems.