The samples were taken from a group of Americans representing the population of the United States. 1,885 of 2,310 urine samples – from adults and children – contained detectable traces of glyphosate. This is the active ingredient of herbicides sold worldwide, including the widely used but controversial RoundUp.
This is not a complete surprise. Researchers have found high concentrations of glyphosate in urine samples for years. Since the 1990s, the number and number of cases has steadily increased. During that time, Monsanto introduced genetically modified crops designed to be sprayed directly with RoundUp, according to a 2017 study from the University of California.
Growing concerns about the impact of pesticides in water and food on health and the environment, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently launched a study on the effects of glyphosate exposure.
Although controversial, glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in agriculture. Monsanto and Bayer, which acquired the company in 2018, maintain that glyphosate and RoundUp products are safe, and that trace amounts in food and human urine pose no health risks.
Until recently, the company was backed by the US government: both the US Department of Justice and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is responsible for environmental protection and public health, previously stated that the substance is not carcinogenic.
Many researchers disagree. One study found that exposure to glyphosate increases the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of lymphoma. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also ruled that glyphosate is likely to be a carcinogen.
The US judiciary is looking into this issue as well. In previous lawsuits, Bayer has been ordered to pay significant damages to cancer patients, and several legal actions are still pending.
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