Glyphosate, which is the most commonly used herbicide in the world, and the active ingredient in Roundup made by Monsanto, is not found only on soybean and corn fields. It also has been detected in our regular food supply – in everything from cookies to ice cream to cereal – and even in human urine!
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine determined that human exposure to glyphosate has increased 500% since 1994. This was when Monsanto introduced GMO Roundup Ready crops in the US.
According to Paul Mills at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, exposure to these toxic chemicals has gone up a lot over the years but few people understand they are consuming them in their daily diets.
For the clinical study titled ‘Excretion of the Herbicide Glyphosate in Older Adults Between 1993 and 2016,’ published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the team analyzed the excretion levels of urine in glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in 100 test subjects from a community in Southern California over five visits from 1993 to 1996, and from 2014 to 2016. AMPA is one of the major degradation products in glyphosate.
The data in the study looked at the excretion levels of glyphosate and the metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid in the human body over a 23-year span beginning in 1993, right before the introduction of GMO crops in the US. What was seen was that before the introduction of GMO foods, few people had levels of glyphosate that were detectable in their urine. As of 2016, 70% of test subjects had levels that were detectable.
Of the participants in the study that had detectable levels of glyphosate, the mean level rose from 0.203 micrograms per liter from 1993 to 1996 to 0.449 micrograms per liter from 2014 to 2016. For AMPA, the mean level rose from 0.168 micrograms per liter in 1993 to 1996 to 0.401 micrograms per liter from 2014 to 2016.
Controversy About Glyphosate Began in 2015
The controversy regarding glyphosate began in 2015 when the WHO had its cancer assessment arm classify glyphosate as most likely a human carcinogen.
California also stated that glyphosate was a carcinogen in July, although this act was struck down by a federal court ruling. And, the European Parliament representing 28 countries and over 500 million people, voted to support the phasing out of glyphosate over the next 60 months and to start an immediate ban of the substance in households.
However, Monsanto has been strongly defending the safety of the product and denies that glyphosate causes cancer.
The EA also says it is safe for use. The food safety authority in Europe, EFSA, has also determined that glyphosate will not cause cancer. The researchers did not study health outcomes of study participants, but Mills and his colleagues have planned to conduct several follow up clinical studies, Consumer Reports noted. Also Consumer Reports has found that concentrations in urine that researchers measured were below the daily exposure limit set by EPA of 1.75 mg/kg and the limit of .3 mg/kg in the EU.
But many experts have noted their concern about the increase in glyphosate exposure.
According to Jennifer Sass of the National Resources Defense Council, it is challenging to know what these higher levels of these chemicals mean for our overall health, as the EPA has not conducted an appropriate risk assessment for glyphosate that includes an aggregation of all of our exposure to glyphosate as mandated by law from drinking water, food and residential use of the herbicide.
Even worse, most federal agencies do not know the level of glyphosate that exists in drinking water and food because the chemical has never been included in the US federal pesticide residue testing program. This is ‘outrageous,’ Sass claims because Roundup and its active ingredient is used in the amount of up to 300 billion pounds each year in the US, including on vast crops of soybeans and corn. The FDA only just started to test for residues of glyphosate on common foods, and only after substantial public pressure was applied.
Monsanto also has come under heavy fire over reports that EFSA took text from Monsanto’s glyphosate application for renewal. Documents further suggest that Monsanto employees ghostwrote several safety reviews to cover up the risks of glyphosate to one’s health. The huge agrochemical company is facing thousands of lawsuits from plaintiffs that allege they and/or their loved ones developed cancer from Roundup exposure.
Mills recommends that the public should be much better informed of the possible risks that Roundup and other similar pesticides present when they are sprayed on the food supply.
- Glyphosate Exposure to Humans. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.ecowatch.com/glyphosate-exposure-humans-2501317778.html