Herbicide affects hormone levels

Women exposed to herbicide experience irregular menstrual cycles

Women who drink water contaminated with low levels of atrazine, the most widely used herbicide in the United States, are more likely to report irregular menstrual cycles and low estrogen levels.

Atrazine, which is used on 75 percent of U.S. cornfields, is especially prevalent in ground and surface water in agricultural areas of the Midwest, according to Environmental Health News. A study published in the journal Environmental Research compared women in Illinois farm towns to women in Vermont, where the herbicide is rarely used. The women from Illinois were almost six times more likely to report going more than six weeks between periods and had low levels of estrogen during a critical part of the menstrual cycle.

The communities in Illinois had nearly double the amount of atrazine in their tap water than communities in Vermont, although both states were under the federally enforced drinking- water standard.