Eating an organic diet rapidly and significantly reduces exposure to glyphosate—the world's most widely-used weed killer, which has been linked to cancer, hormone disruption and other harmful impacts, according to a new study.
Credit: USGS<p>The researchers found glyphosate and AMPA in 94 and 97 percent, respectively, of the urine samples tested. A total of 158 urine samples were collected, which allowed the researchers to find statistical significance in the results even though the study group was small.</p><p>Children had significantly higher levels of glyphosate and AMPA in their urine than adults during both the conventional and organic diet phases of the study. </p><p>Glyphosate levels in children were about five times higher (1.27 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) versus 0.26 ng/ml in adults during the conventional phase, and 0.46 ng/ml in children versus 0.09 ng/ml in children during the organic phase).</p><p>Klein said she's uncertain why the children had higher exposures. "Maybe they're exposed at schools, or they're rolling around in the grass at city parks" where glyphosate is commonly used, she said. Kids also have more exposure per pound of body weight, and they might metabolize the herbicide differently than adults, she said.</p> <p>"Growing up with this kind of chemical in their body will harm them," Sharyle Patton, director of Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center and a study author, told EHN. "It's a tragedy," she said.</p><p>Emerging science links glyphosate to <a href="https://heartlandstudy.org/wp-content/uploads/Zhang-Exposure-to-Glyphosate-Based-Herbicides.pdf" target="_blank">non-Hodgkin's lymphoma</a>, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221475001530041X" target="_blank">hormone disruption</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6695815/" target="_blank">kidney disease</a>, <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/115/41/10305" target="_blank">changes in the gut biome</a>, and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6537504/" target="_blank">non-alcoholic fatty liver disease</a>. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) <a href="https://www.iarc.fr/featured-news/media-centre-iarc-news-glyphosate/" target="_blank">concluded</a> that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen, and an international group of <a href="https://jech.bmj.com/content/70/8/741" target="_blank">scientists later concurred with that finding</a>. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, however, <a href="https://www.epa.gov/ingredients-used-pesticide-products/glyphosate" target="_blank">continues to assert</a> the herbicide poses no public health risk. </p> <p>Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.ehn.org/bayer-roundup-settlement-2646836532.html" target="_self">Bayer has been negotiating settlements</a> with several plaintiffs who alleged they developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma from exposure to Roundup and other herbicides made with glyphosate. </p> <p>"It's egregious that our government is allowing pesticide corporations to profit off of poisoning us when we know that organic farming works. These are chemicals that do not need to be in our bodies," Klein said. "An entire system is invested in continuing pesticide intensive agriculture, while our farmers are fighting for pennies to do the research they need to support them to expand organic farming."</p>
Glyphosate being sprayed. About 280 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed each year in the U.S. (Credit: Chafer Machinery/flickr)