Earth Watch: Studies Show Adverse Impacts of Glyphosate on Reproductive Health

It’s everywhere—in parks and playgrounds, in cereal and crackers, in 75 percent of rainwater samples taken from midwestern states. It has been detected in tampons, in beer, and in tap water.1 Glyphosate (aka, RoundUp, Rodeo, Polaris), the most widely used herbicide in the history of the world, is omnipresent.2 3 4 And now, five recently published, peer-reviewed studies share this consensus: Chronic, low-dose exposure to glyphosate damages reproductive health.

Ovarian proteins in mice altered by glyphosate exposure, according to study from Iowa State University

Out of focus person with toy carriage in the foregroundAfter administering glyphosate at a dose of 2mg per kg of body weight to female mice over a period of 20 weeks, researchers saw changes in important indicators of reproductive health, including follicle number and ovarian weight. The conclusion? “Chronic low-level exposure to glyphosate alters the ovarian proteome [the complete set of proteins expressed by an organism] and may ultimately impact ovarian function.”5 The doses administered clocked in at a fraction above the official "safe" tolerance level for humans of 1.75 mg/kg body weight set by the Environmental Protection Agency.6 7

Neonatal exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides alters female fertility, according to Argentinian study

Researchers administered glyphosate-based herbicides at the rate of 2mg/kg per body weight to newborn ewe lambs over their first 45 days of life. The results showed decreased uterine cell reproduction and altered expression of molecules that control proliferation and development in the uterus. The implication? Glyphosate-based herbicides act as endocrine disrupting compounds and may lead to subfertility, or a delay in conceiving.8 9

Fertility disrupted in rats exposed to glyphosate while in utero and as newborns

In another Argentinian study, pregnant rats were given 2mg/kg per body weight doses of glyphosate or glyphosate-based herbicides from the ninth day of pregnancy until their pups were weaned. As adults, these pups suffered adverse consequences to fertility, including an increase in early pregnancy losses and disruption of genes related to implantation, or the attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterine wall.10 11

Chronic low-dose, pre-pubescent exposure to glyphosate has adverse effects on female reproduction

In this review, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, researchers concluded that glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides may act as endocrine disrupting compounds that modulate estrogen receptors and molecules involved in estrogenic pathways. Most importantly, adverse effects were observed at “environmentally relevant” doses—levels of exposure likely to be encountered in real-world scenarios.12

It's not just a GMO issue

Although the use of glyphosate-based herbicides has increased exponentially since the introduction of Roundup Ready genetically modified (GM) crops, it is NOT exclusively a GM problem, as it is routinely used on conventional non-GM crops.13 For example, glyphosate is frequently employed as a pre-harvest desiccant on conventional non-GM crops like oats, wheat, and beans.14 15 The only agricultural system where the world’s most popular weed killer is strictly prohibited is certified organic agriculture.16 A study from The Organic Center and Friends of the Earth puts a number on just how significant an impact organic food can have on lowering your exposure. The study, published in the journal Environmental Research, found that eating an all-organic diet reduced glyphosate levels in participants by an average of 70 percent. Before the study began, glyphosate was detected in 93.7 percent of urine samples.17

What you can do

There are many aspects of the glyphosate problem beyond our immediate control, but our food choices are not one of them. The best way to avoid glyphosate residues is to choose organic—for your health, your family's health, and the health of all involved in the food chain, from animals to farm workers. Choose it because the health of humans and the survival of the planet are not mutually exclusive!


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  2. Murphy, David, and Henry Rowlands. “Glyphosate: Unsafe on Any Plate.”, 2016,  pgs 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8
  3. Chow, Lorraine. “85% Of Tampons Contain Monsanto's 'Cancer Causing' Glyphosate.” EcoWatch, EcoWatch, 18 Dec. 2019,
  4. “FAQs: Glyphosate.” Global Glyphosate Study,
  5. Ganesan, Shanthi, and Aileen F. Keating. “Ovarian Mitochondrial and Oxidative Stress Proteins Are Altered by Glyphosate Exposure in Mice.” Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Academic Press, 4 July 2020,!
  6. Sustainable Pulse. “New Studies Reveal Glyphosate Causes Infertility.” Sustainable Pulse, 13 July 2020,
  7. “How Safe Are ‘Safe’ Levels of Glyphosate?” The Detox Project,
  8. Alarcón, Ramiro, et al. “Neonatal Exposure to a Glyphosate-Based Herbicide Alters the Uterine Differentiation of Prepubertal Ewe Lambs.” Environmental Pollution, Elsevier, 17 June 2020,
  9. Sustainable Pulse. “New Studies Reveal Glyphosate Causes Infertility.” Sustainable Pulse, 13 July 2020,
  10. Lorenz, Virginia, et al. “Perinatal Exposure to Glyphosate or a Glyphosate-Based Formulation Disrupts Hormonal and Uterine Milieu during the Receptive State in Rats.” Food and Chemical Toxicology, Pergamon, 5 July 2020,
  11. Sustainable Pulse. “New Studies Reveal Glyphosate Causes Infertility.” Sustainable Pulse, 13 July 2020,
  12. Ingaramo, Paola, et al. “Are Glyphosate and Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Endocrine Disruptors That Alter Female Fertility?” Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, Elsevier, 10 July 2020,
  13. Sustainable Pulse. “A Short History of Glyphosate.” Sustainable Pulse, 24 Oct. 2018,
  14. Roseboro, Ken. “Why Is Glyphosate Sprayed on Crops Right Before Harvest?” EcoWatch, EcoWatch, 31 Jan. 2019,
  15. “High-Risk Crops & Inputs.” Non,
  16. Rodale Institute, et al. “Wait, Organic Farmers Use Pesticides?” Rodale Institute, 1 Nov. 2019,,no%20RoundUp%20and%20no%20glyphosate.
  17. The Organic Center, 11 Aug. 2020,….