Reproductive Health

Pesticide exposure has been linked to the damage of reproductive health and the endocrine system. The endocrine system encompasses a collection of glands in the body responsible for regulating hormone levels. Many pesticides disrupt the endocrine system, affecting critical processes of hormone production and functions of a healthy body.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that the disruption of the endocrine system can cause “reproductive disorders, birth defects, immune suppression, and other harmful effects.”
  • Reproductive health diseases and disorders include reduced fertility, birth defects, developmental disorders, and preterm birth.
  • According to the National Institutes of Health, exposure to environmental pollutants and endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest threat to reproductive health.

Continue reading for: From Mother to Child, Obesity Epidemic

From Mother to Child

A growing body of evidence shows that pesticides can damage human reproductive health, with particularly high risks for pregnant women and fetuses.

  • Pesticides, once metabolizedSmiling Girl, can pass through the placenta, which means that a mother’s exposure to pesticides from her food and environment can lead to exposure of her fetus.
  • In a recent study, 100 percent of pregnant women who consumed potatoes, corn, and soybeans that had been genetically modified to be pesticide-tolerant had metabolites of one of the herbicides in the cord blood of their babies.
  • Reproductive exposures to pesticides can lead to permanent changes in the genetics of individuals altering the expression of genes (epigenetic effects).

Obesity Epidemic

  • In some studies, pesticide exposures in mice lead to genetic changes passed along to subsequent generations resulting in mental disorders and obesity.
  • Emerging science links exposure to pesticides in the womb to a higher likelihood that a child will develop metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes.
  • The number of clinically obese U.S. children has more than tripled in the past 30 years.

For More Information

What You Can Do: For tips on how to make healthy choices in your home. Learn More

Keeping Kids Healthy: Read about our programs that keep children healthy. Learn More

Cancer: Learn more about how pesticides are associated with many types of cancer. Learn More

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Ehinger