About two-thirds, and the percent is likely falling. In the Garry et al. (2002) study of herbicide-induced birth defects in the Red River Valley, medical records and birth certificates accounted for only 60% of total birth defects at the end of a child’s first year of life. About one-third were diagnosed at three years of age or older.
The percent of total birth defects diagnosed later in life is likely rising as a result of trends in autism, ADHD, and a host of other neurological and reproductive system birth defects.
Access state-specific birth defect registries supported by the CDC.
More Do You Know
Measured by pounds of active ingredient applied in any given year, glyphosate herbicide (aka Roundup) has been for a decade now the most heavily applied pesticide ever (for the details, see Benbrook, 2016).
The introduction of genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola dramatically increased glyphosate use from 1996 to 2006. The rate of increase has slowed in recent years, and overall use may have peaked in 2016.
In the decade ahead, the three major drivers of change in corn and soybean weed management are likely to be:
1. Consumers and citizens worried about the collateral damage stemming from more intensive herbicide use.
2. Food companies, through supply-chain interventions.
3. Farmers choosing to reduce reliance on herbicides by adoption of multi-tactic, “many little hammer” weed management systems.
The Answer – 2,4-D and dicamba, because of recently approved genetically engineered corn and soybean varieties resistant to these herbicides, as well as combinations of glyphosate, glufosinate, and the “fop” herbicides.
By 2020 according to Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, most conventional corn and soybean seed will carry either the 2,4-D or dicamba resistant trait, increasing the combined use of these two relatively high-risk herbicides on these two crops by around 30-fold compared to 2010.
ADHD (Garry et al., 2002b)
Four primary reasons:
1. Dramatic increases in the acres planted to these new GE-HR varieties, and sprayed with these two herbicides.
2. Much higher average rates of application and more applications per acre.
3. The much longer time period over which herbicides will be sprayed (~4 months instead of 1.5), increasing the number of conceptions and pregnancies that will coincide with the heavy herbicide spray season.
4. Substantial evidence from past research and animal studies that 2,4-D and dicamba exposures can trigger adverse birth outcomes and a host of health problems later in life.
This is one key reason why scientists have recently called for a thorough re-assessment of glyphosate’s mammalian toxicity (see Vandenberg et al., 2017 or Myers et al., 2016).