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Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Nov;110(11):1081-5.

Developmental toxicity of a commercial herbicide mixture in mice: I. Effects on embryo implantation and litter size.

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  • 1Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Valpara√≠so, Valpara√≠so, Chile.


We investigated the developmental toxicity in mice of a common commercial formulation of herbicide containing a mixture of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), mecoprop, dicamba, and inactive ingredients. Pregnant mice were exposed to one of four different doses of the herbicide mixture diluted in their drinking water, either during preimplantation and organogenesis or only during organogenesis. Litter size, birth weight, and crown-rump length were determined at birth, and pups were allowed to lactate and grow without additional herbicide exposure so that they could be subjected to additional immune, endocrine, and behavioral studies, the results of which will be reported in a separate article. At weaning, dams were sacrificed, and the number of implantation sites was determined. The data, although apparently influenced by season, showed an inverted or U-shaped dose-response pattern for reduced litter size, with the low end of the dose range producing the greatest decrease in the number of live pups born. The decrease in litter size was associated with a decrease in the number of implantation sites, but only at very low and low environmentally relevant doses. Fetotoxicity, as evidenced by a decrease in weight and crown-rump length of the newborn pups or embryo resorption, was not significantly different in the herbicide-treated litters.

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