Cancer-Causing Roundup Chemical Found in Most Tampons, Bandages, Other Cotton Products: Study

The findings of a new study raises further concerns about the potential impact of the cancer-causing Roundup chemical glyphosate, suggesting that almost all tampons, bandages and sanitary cotton products contain evidence of chemical, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled a probable carcinogen. 

Researchers with the Socio-Environmental Interaction Space (EMISA) at the University of la Plata in Argentina tested tampons available for purchase in Argentina and found that most tested positive for glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular herbicide Roundup. The findings were announced this month at the 3rd National Congress of Doctors for Fumigated Communities in Buenos Aires.

According to the findings, 85% of all tampon, cotton and sanitary products sampled, as well as all of the raw and sterile gauze, tested positive for glyphosate.

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Researchers noted that most of the cotton produced in that country is genetically modified to resist glyphosate, which is known as “Roundup Ready”, so that the popular herbicide can be sprayed on them as weed killer without killing the cotton plant. The study raises concerns, since the cotton is commonly used in bandages, and for other hygiene uses as a sterilized product.

Roundup is one of the most widely used herbicides, which was introduced by Monsanto in the 1970s. However, questions about the safety of the chemical have emerged, after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a warning in March about the potential human health side effects of Roundup and other gylsphosate herbicides.

Monsanto has attempted to dismiss the concerns that Roundup is a human carcinogen, maintaining that the IARC’s conclusions were agenda-driven and based on “junk science.” The manufacturer has said it is convening its own independent panel to review the cancer risks of Roundup.

Consumer use of Roundup began to skyrocket in the mid 1990s, after Monsanto introduced genetically engineered crops to withstand treatment with Roundup, killing the weeds and not the crops. Genetically modified crops, like corn and soybean, are branded as being “Roundup Ready.” Some weeds have developed resistance to glyphosate, thus forcing farmers to use higher quantities of Roundup.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimated agricultural use of glyphosate increased drastically from 110 million pounds in 2002, now to more than 283 million pounds in 2012.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in April that it plans to address the safety concerns of glyphosate during the regular EPA safety review hearing occurring soon. Researchers warn pesticides are commonly detected in the air, food and water near areas that have been sprayed.

In the meantime, Monsanto faces a growing number of Roundup cancer lawsuits filed on behalf of farm workers, landscapers and other agricultural workers who have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma following heavy exposure to the chemical.


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