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Researchers Find Rising Levels of Dicamba in Midwestern Women’s Urine

Boy, talk about drift:

Monsanto’s problematic herbicide dicamba apparently drifts further than neighboring fields. It’s ending up in our pee:

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.

Heartland Health Research Alliance, "Herbicide Levels in Urine," retrieved 2022.11.13.
Heartland Health Research Alliance, “Herbicide Levels in Urine,” retrieved 2022.11.13.
Heartland Health Research Alliance, "Herbicide Levels in Urine," retrieved 2022.11.13.
Heartland Health Research Alliance, “Herbicide Levels in Urine,” retrieved 2022.11.13.

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!


  1. John 2022-11-13 10:02

    The chemical, agriculture industrial complex drove me from waterfowl, upland bird, and farm-country deer hunting.
    I also greatly reduced eating farm country meats.
    One has no assurances of the quality and safety of the table-fare. US life expectancy, especially in farm country, is declining. Consider reducing the risk to ones self and family.

  2. All Mammal 2022-11-13 10:18

    Where are the SD white supremacists in the legislature and the governors office fighting to prevent it from becoming harder to come by white babies in the future? I suppose womben will be blamed for their white replacement. I’m just being cantankerous because I don’t think our leaders will bother to notice this unless their trifling fears are stoked.

    Protect all women, leaders! This is not healthy and nothing is worth our health.

  3. larry kurtz 2022-11-13 12:21

    Why anyone is surprised by these findings remains a mystery.

    The blood-brain barrier is the network of blood vessels and tissue made up of closely spaced cells that helps keep harmful substances from reaching the brain. Metam Sodium/Potassium is a fumigant that bypasses the blood-brain barrier as do other endocrine disrupters like DDT, atrazine, neonicotinoids, glyphosate, dicamba and Imazalil, a carcinogenic fungicide that can alter hormone levels especially in children and adolescents.

    But Republicans scream RIGHT TO LIFE for human blastocysts as environmental pollutants occur more frequently in the umbilical cord blood of infants and cry government overreach while Waters of the United States or WOTUS architects regroup for another round in Congress.

  4. runs_with_fire 2022-11-13 14:05

    Cooperate greed and chemicals are killing the land.
    Keep it up and our ground water will be just as poisoned as it is in China. All in the name of progress.
    The Reptilians’ have actually ran on “Vote for me and we will dismantle the EPA”.

  5. Arlo Blundt 2022-11-13 16:04

    When the choice is eat or have children, the future looks pretty bleak.

  6. Marie 2022-11-13 17:10

    For babies or bees–no place to hide from dicamba here in the Midwest.

    After EPA’s 2015 ag industry driven re-authorization of dicamba. estimated U.S. dicamba usage jumped
    from 5 million pounds in 2014 to 30 million pounds in 2019.
    2015 USGS Map
    2019 USGS Map

    Despite widespread dicamba crop damage reports, re-authorization is extended while the EPA re-evaluation process continues in 2023.

    This is hardly a sustainable way to do “agriculture.”

  7. larry kurtz 2022-11-13 17:39

    As he monitored the news about Wuhan in China Rob Wallace was an evolutionary biologist at the University of Minnesota then he blew the whistle on industrial agriculture’s role in transmitting diseases. The Obama Administration cut funding to the lab in Wuhan after teams from Australia, the US and China discovered this novel coronavirus strain in 2015 but today deaths from the Trump Virus have surpassed the number of people killed in the US by the so-called Spanish Flu in 1918.

  8. DaveFN 2022-11-13 17:43

    larry kurtz

    Although some of the substances you mention cross the blood-brain barrier, and although they and dicamba are endocrine disruptors, that doesn’t mean that dicamba crosses the blood-brain barrier as you appear to believe, and if it does it’s news to myself.

    What is your source citation for dicamba crossing the blood-brain barrier? What is your source citation for Metam sodium/potassium crossing the blood-brain barrier as well as being an endocrine disruptor (if you are saying the latter, since your sentence structure leaves considerable ambiguity)? It’s an error in any case to lump all pesticides together as each has its own unique and specific properties and mechanism of action.

    Also, endocrine disruptors need not operate directly on the brain–which your comment seems to suggest–in order to exert their deleterious effects. (Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body including the CNS, while the high from THC is owing to its effect on CNS cannabinoid receptors–as is fortunate for some).

    Cory’s statement, on the other hand (“Your pee could contaminate those green fields with dicamba”), is entirely reasonable, although such sources of dicamba contamination are minimal compared to other sources, of course.

    My question is whether the researchers cited in Cory’s post looked at dicamba alone, or the glucuronide conjugate of dicamba as well, which latter constitutes some 20% of dicamba found in urine. I await the peer-reviewed publication of this study.

  9. Mark Anderson 2022-11-13 18:05

    It really goes back to Patti Smith in 1976.

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