One-Third of Americans Exposed to Harmful Pesticide Once Used in ‘Agent Orange’

A study recently published in the journal Environmental Health indicates that one in three Americans have traces of the substance 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) in their body. 2,4-D is a chemical typically used for weed control.

Scientists at George Washington University conducted a study of 14,395 Americans to examine the presence of 2,4-D in their bodies. According to the results obtained, almost 33% of the people examined showed traces of 2,4-D in their urine. This rate has increased significantly in the space of ten years, going from 17% in 2001-2002 to 39% in 2011-2012, and could increase further.

This situation has become worrying because this product could have an impact on human health, especially that of young children who are very sensitive to chemical exposure.

2,4-D or 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid

2,4-D is a chemical used to kill broadleaf weeds. It is a main ingredient in the infamous “Agent Orange” herbicide that was used by the US military during the Vietnam War to strip the forest.

This chemical is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. It is widely used in plantations such as those of genetically modified soybeans or those of cotton. 2,4-D is in the air and spreads everywhere.

The negative effects of 2,4-D on human health

Opinions differ on the impact of this herbicide on human health. For the US Environmental Protection Agency, 2,4-D has low toxicity to humans and only causes eye irritation. For its part, the World Health Organization says that the herbicide could cause cancer. Faced with this potential risk, the Council for the Defense of Natural Resources has decided to qualify 2,4-D as “the most dangerous pesticide ever used”.

According to the researchers, further study should be conducted on the possible effects of exposure to 2,4-D and other harmful pesticides on human health, especially in children, women of childbearing age and Farmers.

SOURCE: IFLScience

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