Pesticide Effects on the Children of America’s Heartland: The Launch of a Groundbreaking New Study

A significant increase in toxic herbicides such as 2,4-D and dicamba in addition to the present extensively applied herbicide glyphosate is occurring in the US. Are reproductive and birth harm linked to these exposures?
-Michelle Perro, MD, Executive Director of GMOScience and Medical Advisor to the Heartland Study, and Leah Segedie [1], author and Editor-in-Chief of Mamavation discuss the need for this newly-launched study.


  • In a recent study, shortened pregnancies and preterm births were found to be significantly associated with pesticide usage regardless of birth risk categories.[2]
  • Herbicides such as glyphosate have been linked to various neurodevelopment disruptions leading to adverse birth outcomes such as autism ([3]
  • In a 2019 research paper, the team at Washington State University reported that unfavorable health outcomes were noted in rats via epigenetic modulation induced by glyphosate. The second generation of pups (and not the first generation) were noted to have increased rates of prostate, ovarian and kidney disease, obesity and birth abnormalities even though they were no longer exposed to the herbicide.[4]
  • The Heartland Study[5] will measure biological markers in 2,000 mother-infant pairs in order to assess whether birth outcomes and developmental anomalies are triggered by herbicide exposure during fetal development. The children will then be monitored over three years after birth to assess overall growth and development.
  • For more information on the Heartland Study go here:
  • For more information on Leah Segedie and Mamavation go here:


  1. Accessed Dec. 15, 2019.
  2. Winchester P, Proctor C, Ying J, “County-level pesticide use and risk of shortened gestation and preterm birth,” Acta Paediatrica, 2016,105:3, DOI: 10.1111/apa.13288
  3. von Ehrenstein, O. S., Ling, C., Cui, X., Cockburn, M., Park, A. S., Yu, F., Wu, J., & Ritz, B., “Prenatal and infant exposure to ambient pesticides and autism spectrum disorder in children: population based case-control study,” BMJ, 2019, 364, l962. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.l962.
  4. Kubsad, D., Nilsson, E. E., King, S. E., Sadler-Riggleman, I., Beck, D., & Skinner, M. K.; “Assessment of Glyphosate Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Pathologies and Sperm Epimutations: Generational Toxicology;” Scientific Reports, 2019, 9(1), 6372; DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-42860-0.
  5. Accessed Dec. 15, 2019.