From: Washington State University
Published September 20, 2017 03:01 PM

WSU researchers see popular herbicide affecting health across generations

First, the good news. Washington State University researchers have found that a rat exposed to a popular herbicide while in the womb developed no diseases and showed no apparent health effects aside from lower weight.

Now, the weird news. The grand-offspring of that rat did have more disease, as did a great-grand offspring third generation.

“The third generation had multiple diseases and much more frequently than the third generation of unexposed rats,” said Michael Skinner, a Washington State University professor of biological sciences. At work, says Skinner, are epigenetic inheritance changes that turn genes on and off, often because of environmental influences.

Writing this week in the journal PLOS ONE, Skinner reports exposing pregnant rats to atrazine, a commonly used herbicide on corn crops across the Midwest. Manufactured by Syngenta, the hormone-disrupting compound has been banned in Europe, where it was found contaminating water, while the Environmental Protection Agency permits its use in the United States. It has been found in water systems serving 30 million Americans in 28 states, according to an Environmental Working Group survey of municipal water records.

Read more at Washington State University

Image Credit: Andy F via Wikimedia Commons

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