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Researchers see health effects over generations from popular fertilizer killers

  WSU researchers see health effects over generations from popular bill killers
Washington State University biologist Michael Skinner WSU researchers have seen health effects over generations from the popular weed killers glyphosate. Credit: Washington State University

Researchers in Washington State University have found a variety of diseases and other health problems in second and third generation offspring of rats exposed to glyphosate, the world's most popular plant killers. In the first study of its kind, the researchers saw the progeny of exposed rats that developed prostate, kidney and ovarian diseases, obesity and abnormalities of the fetus.

Michael Skinner, a professor of life sciences in the WSU, and his colleagues exposed pregnant rats on the herbicide between their eighth and 1

4th day of gestation. The dose – half the amount expected to show no negative effect – did not produce any visible adverse effects on the parents or the first generation of offspring.

But one writes in the journal Scientific Reports the researchers say that they saw "dramatic increases" in several pathologies that affect the second and third generation. The second generation had "significant increases" in testis, ovarian and mammary diseases, as well as obesity. In third generation men, the researchers saw a 30 percent increase in prostate disease – three times that of a control population. The third generation of females had a 40 percent increase in kidney disease or four times the control.

More than one-third of second-generation mothers had failed pregnancies, most of them suffering from death. Two out of five third-generation men and women were overweight.

Skinner and his colleagues call this phenomenon "generational toxicology" and they have seen it over the years in fungicides, pesticides, jet fuel, the bisphenol A plastic compound, the insecticide DEET and the herbicide atrazine. At work are epigenetic changes that turn genes on and off, often due to environmental impact.

Skinner said he decided to study glyphosate "because it is one of the most widely used compounds worldwide."

The chemical has been the subject of many studies on its health effects. The rails study is the third in recent months by Washington alone. A study by the University of Washington published in February found that the chemical increased the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma by as much as 41 percent. A study by Washington State University, published in December, found that state residents living near herbicide-treated areas are one-third more likely to die of early death from Parkinson's disease.

Chemical generation toxicity represents a new disadvantage that Skinner and his colleagues said they would be included in estimates of risk.

"The ability of the gifosate and other environmental toxins to affect our future generations must be considered," they write, "and are potentially as important as the direct exposure toxicology done today for risk assessment."

Researchers see popular herbicide that affects health over generations

More information:
Deepika Kubsad et al., Assessment of glyphosate-induced epigenetic transgenerative heritage of pathologies and sperm mutations: Generational Toxicology, Scientific Reports (2019). DOI: 10,1038 / s41598-019-42860-0

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Washington State University

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Scientists see health effects over generations from popular fertilizer killers (2019, April 23)
April 23, 2019
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