Roundup Chemical Glyphosate Found in 93% of Americans: Study

As concerns about the link between Roundup exposure and cancer continues to mount nationwide, the findings of a new study suggest that more than nine out of every ten American’s urine contains detectable levels of glyphosate, the active ingredient contained in the popular weedkiller.

Researchers with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) conducted tests on 131 people, as part of The Detox Project by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). According to the findings, 93% of those tested had detectable levels of glyphosate in their urine, highlighting the widespread use of the weedkiller on crops throughout the U.S.

The results are preliminary, and more data from the public bio-monitoring study is expected to be released later this year, according to an OCA press release. The preliminary findings only represent a small percentage of total samples.

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The urine samples contained glyphosate at an average level of 3.096 parts per billion (ppb). However, researchers found that children tend to carry higher levels, at an average of 3.586 ppb.

Residents of the U.S. had significantly higher and more frequent levels of exposure. A similar survey in 2013 of residents in the European Union found that only 43.9% had detectable levels of glyphosate in their urine, and that was only at about 1 ppb.

The findings come amid increasing debate about whether the weedkiller is safe, after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared last year that glyphosate is likely a cancer-causing agent. Heavy exposure to Roundup has been linked to reports of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other cancers, particularly among farm works or others in the agricultural industry.

Monsanto has aggressively criticized the decision to list their Roundup as a human carcinogen, dismissing the IARC findings as agenda driven and based on “junk science.”

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has also conflicted with the IARC findings, declaring glyphosate to be safe. Scientists and supporters on both sides of the debate have called the processes of the other unscientific, and the European Commission has delayed the renewal of glyphosate’s license across Europe.

Roundup Exposure Concerns

The OCA, which actively campaigns against Monsanto and Roundup, claims that glyphosate is likely a “hormone hacking” chemical, often referred to as endocrine disruptors, which can disrupt the body’s hormone system at very low levels of exposure.

“With increasing evidence from laboratory studies showing that glyphosate based herbicides can result in a wide range of chronic illnesses through multiple mechanisms, it has become imperative to ascertain the levels of glyphosate in food and in as large a section of the human population as possible,” Dr. Michael Antoniou, a molecular geneticist from London, said in the press release. “Thus the information gathered by the glyphosate public testing service being offered by the Detox Project is most timely and will provide invaluable information for the consumer and scientists like myself evaluating the toxicity of real world levels of exposure to this most widely used pesticide.”

A recent U.S. Geological Survey on glyphosate usage nationwide found that an estimated 2.6 billion pounds of the herbicide has been sprayed on America’s agricultural land over the two decades since the mid-1990s, when Monsanto introduced “Roundup Ready” crops that are designed to survive being sprayed with glyphosate, killing the weeds but not the crops.

In all that time, the FDA has never tested for residue or buildup in the food sold to Americans nationwide. In a report published in 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) criticized the FDA for this deficiency in its pesticide program.

Monsanto now faces a growing number of Roundup cancer lawsuits in the United States, typically involving individuals diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following heavy exposure to the herbicide as a farm or agricultural worker.

The complaints allege that plaintiffs may have avoided a cancer diagnosis if they had been warned about the Roundup risks for farmers, landscapers and others in the agricultural industry, and as safety precautions could have been taken or other products could have been used to control the growth of weeds.


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