Boy, talk about drift:
Since 2017 — when the herbicide took on prominence and widespread use as an “over-the-top” spray for certain crops — there has been a more than 300% increase in levels of the chemical found in the urine of pregnant women in the region, according to the findings from the Heartland Health Research Alliance, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit.
…Chuck Benbrook, the executive director of the organization said the results are remarkable, but not surprising.
“We knew that there was a big increase coming,” he said. “The use of dicamba has increased more in the last five years than any other pesticide in the world.”
…Many of the women who took part in the study were from Indiana, including the metropolitan Indianapolis area. Benbrook thinks that the findings indicate exposure to dicamba around the Midwest, given its prevalence in agriculture, and soybean farming in particular [“Why Is a Weedkiller Showing Up in Midwesterners’ Urine?” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2022.11.12].
Should we be worried? Maybe not for a couple decades:
It might take a while, though, before any possible health linkages surface. A 2020 study from researchers within the National Institutes of Health, for example, found dicamba was associated with heightened risks of liver and bile duct cancer, with lags of up to 20 years [SLPD, 2022.11.12].
Dicamba still has to catch up with 2,4-D in polluting our bodies. HHRA reports that while the percent of urine samples from pregnant women has risen from 41% a decade ago to 65% now, 2,4-D has shown up in 100% of pregnant women’s urine samples since 2010. But both chemicals are showing up in greater amounts in pregnant women’s bodies.
So if you’re out driving in the country and have to take a leak, don’t pull over to relieve yourself next to an organic farmer’s field. Your pee could contaminate those green fields with dicamba!