The National Institute of Health’s Agricultural Health Study has been underway for over a decade. It has produced valuable data on the impacts of pesticides on human health, and established linkages between pesticide use and cancer and neurological disorders.
In an important paper in “Diabetes Care,” a team of government scientists found that pregnant women exposed to pesticides occupationally (i.e., spraying, mixing pesticides) had more than double the risk of developing gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy).
Four herbicides, including two in the phenoxy herbicide class that also includes 2,4-D, plus three insecticides were found to be associated with elevated risk of gestational diabetes.
Source: Tina Saldana, Olga Basso, Jane Hoppin, Donna Baird, Charles Knott, Aaron Blair, Michael Alavanja, and Dale Sandler, “Pesticides Exposure and Self-Reported Gestational Diabetes Mellitus in the Agricultural Health Study”, March 2007, Diabetes Care, Vol. 30, No. 3.