This is Captain Triball speaking. We are now cruising at 10,000 feet. Please remain seated and buckled for the duration of our flight due to guaranteed turbulence. If you feel sick at any time — and you very likely will because the topic this week is birth defects — please locate and use the nearest paper bag. Thank you. That is all.

Some scientists and medical researchers are finding that babies conceived in springtime or early summer are at a higher risk of birth defects.

Note the 2009 study, “Agrichemicals in surface water and birth defects in the United States.” Read the full report here or news summaries by Reuters and Indiana University.

Quoting from the Indiana University news release:

Studying all 30.1 million births that occurred in the U.S. between 1996 and 2002, the researchers found a strong association between the increased number of birth defects in children of women whose last menstrual period occurred in April, May, June or July and elevated levels of nitrates, atrazine and other pesticides in surface water during the same months. 

Clearly, it’s a troubled landscape we live in. Know where your tadpoles swim.


For more about agrichemicals and how they affect our health:

Roundup and Birth Defects: Is the Public Being Kept in the Dark?” by Earth Open Source

The glyphosate toxicity studies you’re not allowed to see” by GMWatch

And this sad story about an Argentine man who never knew the chemicals he was handling would kill him later in life: “Argentines link health problems to agrochemicals” by Associated Press.


What to do, oh what to do? Sure, the problems can seem so big that it feels like there’s nothing we can do. But if a little three-eyed frog can stand up to make a difference, then so can you. Go here to find some simple things you can do to spread the word.