Chemical used in Agent Orange found in a third of Americans

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is widespread as a herbicide and defoliant and has been found in a third of the population.

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A new study published in the journal Environmental Health on the toxic chemical's prevalence.

Chemical used in Agent Orange found in a third of Americans 01

The chemical 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is one of the two ingredients used in making Agent Orange, which the United States military used during the Vietnam War to destroy forests and crops, but that inadvertently caused illnesses for millions of people. Used worldwide as a herbicide and defoliant, researchers from the George Washington University (GWU) have found that for 14,395 study participants, nearly 33 percent of their urine samples contained detectable amounts of 2,4-D.

"Our study suggests human exposures to 2,4-D have gone up significantly and they are predicted to rise even more in the future. These findings raise concerns with regard to whether this heavily used weed-killer might cause health problems, especially for young children who are very sensitive to chemical exposures," said Marlaina Freisthler, Ph.D. student and researcher at GWU and co-author of the study.

2,4-D is an endocrine disruptor, affecting natural hormone production. It has been classified as a possible carcinogen by the World Health Organization's (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Seventeen percent of study participants had detectable levels of 2,4-D in 2001-2002 at the start of the study, which rose to a peak of forty percent nearly a decade later.

"Consumers who want to avoid exposures to pesticide can purchase organically grown food, which is less likely to be grown with weed killers. They can also avoid using 2,4-D or other pesticides on their lawn or garden," the researchers said in a press release.

You can read more from the study here.

Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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