Monday, 15 April, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalControversial weed-killing chemical found in most US urine samples

Controversial weed-killing chemical found in most US urine samples

A US Government study has found that a widely used but controversial herbicide linked to cancer is showing up in a number of people, with glyphosate being detected in more than 80% of urine samples from US children and adults.

Part of a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) programme, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found glyphosate in 1,885 of 2,310 urine samples representative of the population at large. Nearly a third of the samples came from six to 18-year-olds, reports CBS News.

Traces of glyphosate has been found in various foods, including baby formula, as well as in organic beer and wine and in hummus and chickpeas.

“Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the country, yet until now we had very little data on exposure,” said Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist at the Environmental Working Group.

“Children in the US are regularly exposed to this cancer-causing weed-killer through the food they eat virtually every day.”

The weed-killing chemical is the active ingredient in the commonly used Roundup brand, which was inherited by German pharmaceutical company Bayer when it purchased American agrochemical giant Monsanto in 2018.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer – part of the World Health Organisation – classifies glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”.

Last month the Supreme Court rejected a bid by Bayer to shut down thousands of lawsuits claiming the weed-killer causes cancer.

The High Court’s judges let stand a $25m judgment on behalf of a Californian, who claimed he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from decades of using Roundup on his property.

The Environmental Protection Agency in 2020 found that glyphosate does not pose a serious health risk and is “not likely” to cause cancer in humans, but a federal appeals court last month ordered the EPA to re-examine its findings.

Still, Bayer has won four consecutive trials in state court against people claiming they got cancer from using Roundup, with a recent verdict favouring the companyin Oregon. Bayer maintains the product is safe. A spokesperson for the company said the CDC study further confirms that human exposure to glyphosate is low.

“CDC’s data provide further confirmation that human exposures to glyphosate are well below levels that regulatory agencies established to protect human health,” said Darren Wallis.

“CDC’s highest reported value (8.13 ng glyphosate/ml of urine) corresponds to exposures that are less than 0.14% of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s safety threshold.”

Bayer said that it would replace glyphosate in Roundup for residential use beginning in 2023. Products containing glyphosate will still be available for professional and farm use.



CBS News article – Weed-killing chemical found in majority of U.S. urine samples (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Another legal win for Monsanto in Roundup cancer claim battles


Settlement in Bayer cancer class action rejected


Bayer to pay $10.9bn in Roundup cancer settlements





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