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Environment & Climate Change

UM study: Common weed killer ingredient linked to preterm births

Premature babies can benefit from donated or purchased breast milk
Sarah Hopkins
Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Researchers at the University of Michigan have found an association between an ingredient found in a common weed killer and preterm births.

The chemical in question is glyphosate which used in herbicides such as Roundup.

“We found that women that had detectable levels of glyphosate and its environmental breakdown product AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid) in their urine around the 26th week of pregnancy had an increased risk for preterm births,” said Monica Silver, lead author of the study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

If glyphosate was found, the women ran a 35% increased chance of a preterm birth. 

“And women who had exposures to the breakdown product, AMPA, had an even higher 67% increased risk of preterm birth," Silver said.

There was a correlation found between glyphosate and AMPA, but AMPA can come from multiple sources.

Preterm births, those of 37 weeks or less increase the risk of long-term health effects on the children.

The researchers say it was a relatively small medical study, but the results indicate more research is needed.