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Gary Harms shops for Roundup products at a store in San Rafael, California, on July, 9, 2018. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been classified by the World Health Organization as a probable human carcinogen since 2015. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Gary Harms shops for Roundup products at a store in San Rafael, California, on July, 9, 2018. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been classified by the World Health Organization as a probable human carcinogen since 2015. (Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Renewed Calls to Ban Glyphosate After Toxic Herbicide Found in 80% of US Urine Samples

"This chemical should not be in our bodies," asserted one green group in response to a new CDC study.

Brett Wilkins

Environmental and public health advocates renewed calls to ban glyphosate after a recently published U.S. report revealed the cancer-linked herbicide—which is the active ingredient in Bayer's popular Roundup weedkiller—was found in the urine of more than 80% of study participants.

"Monsanto lobbyists achieved the full-scale poisoning of our planet for profit."

Of the 2,310 urine samples taken from children and adults for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1,885 contained detectable amounts of glyphosate.

"Ban glyphosate," tweeted the Massachusetts-based Berkshire Environmental Action Team in response to the study. "This chemical should not be in our bodies."

David Nickarz, an activist and former Green Party of Manitoba president, tweeted: "Roundup is polluting our bodies and giving us cancer. Why haven't we banned this stuff yet?"

According to The Guardian:

Both the amount and prevalence of glyphosate found in human urine has been rising steadily since the 1990s when Monsanto Co. introduced genetically engineered crops designed to be sprayed directly with Roundup, according to research published in 2017 by University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers...

Residues of glyphosate have been documented in an array of popular foods made with crops sprayed with glyphosate, including baby food. The primary route of exposure for children is through the diet.

Last month, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to review its assessment that glyphosate likely poses "no unreasonable risk" to human health or the environment.

According to the EPA, there is "no evidence that glyphosate causes cancer in humans," a conclusion shared by the European Food Safety Authority—which nevertheless warns that the herbicide causes "serious eye damage" and is "toxic to aquatic life."

However, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer said in 2015 that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans," while researchers at the University of Washington published a 2019 study showing that using the herbicide increased the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma by 41%.

In 2018 and 2019, three San Francisco-area juries ordered Monsanto—which was acquired by Bayer AG in 2018—to pay more than $2.3 billion dollars in combined damages for failing to adequately warn consumers about glyphosate's cancer risks, although all three judgments were later reduced on appeal.

In 2020, Bayer agreed to pay over $10 billion to settle claims that Roundup exposure caused plaintiffs' cancers. Bayer said the settlement affected 75% of Roundup-related litigation, which involved approximately 125,000 claims.

Bayer announced last July that it would end U.S. sales of its market-leading Roundup home and garden glyphosate-based herbicide by 2023.


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