A large portion of American vegetables is treated with a chemical that may cause cancer. How severe is exposure close by?


In 1974, the industrial chemical powerhouse Monsanto first used glyphosate in its product Roundup. In 2018, Bayer purchased Monsanto.

Genetic engineering has made glyphosate the most widely used chemical weedkiller in human history, according to Dave Murphy, the founder of Food Democracy Now, an organization that monitors glyphosate in food. It is widely used, and Monsanto has consistently insisted that it is the safest agricultural pesticide ever created.

The EPA has safety standards for glyphosate exposure from food that are twice as high as those permitted in the EU. According to NBC News calculations, the runoff is classified by the agency as an drinking water contaminant at levels that are equivalent to roughly 1 gallon of Roundup in an Olympic-sized pool.

The putative connection between glyphosates and non-Hodgkin lymphoma is at the center of most of the discussion regarding its health effects. An analysis done in 2019 by former EPA science review board members found a strong connection to the illness. Additionally, a number of peer-reviewed research have revealed that glyphosate-containing herbicides may be disrupt hormones and alter the gut microbiome.

A wave of legal actions that cost Bayer more than $10 billion began when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that glyphosate was probably harmful to humans in 2015.

Glyphosate is listed on an list of chemicals known to cause cancer in California, which mandates that producers put warning labels on goods they sell there. Such warnings on glyphosate products are not now required due to a legal challenge brought by Monsanto and the EPA.

It is still in court. Bayer stated in a statement to NBC News that it continues to disagree with California’s ruling since it goes against the long-standing global consensus of top health regulators supporting the safety and non-carcinogenicity of products containing glyphosate.

Since Monsanto produced genetically modified seeds in 1996 that could endure being sprayed with greater doses of herbicides, the usage of glyphosates in the U.S. has surged.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 90% of corn, cotton, and soybean crops are now modified to be resistant to glyphosate and other chemical treatments employed by farmers.

In an 2017 study, scientists from the University of California, San Diego discovered that glyphosate levels in urine samples collected from 100 adults increased from 1993 to 2016. A University of Minnesota investigation found that air and rain samples had glyphosate residues as well. drinking water contaminant0 was also discovered in two studies by organic advocacy groups in foods such cereals, cookies, crackers, and drinking water contaminant1.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s drinking water contaminant2 study, which was published in June, found that glyphosate was detectable in 80% of urine samples.

Finding residues of glyphosate in urine, according to Bayer, does not necessarily indicate a health risk. According to a statement from the firm to NBC News, the highest figure discovered in the CDC survey relates to exposures that are less than 0.14% of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s safety standard, or 16 millionths of an ounce per pound of bodyweight.

According to the statement, the CDC’s research shows that human exposure to glyphosate is substantially below these levels, demonstrating that it may be used safely when used in accordance with label directions.

The question of whether the present safety criteria are too high has been raised by Robin Mesnage, a toxicologist at Kings College London who has studied the health impacts of environmental pollutants for more than ten years.

He claimed that according to his own studies, glyphosate can cause drinking water contaminant3 and changes in drinking water contaminant4 at dosages up to 100 times lower than those that are allowed. He continued by saying that the final result may be drinking water contaminant5 if glyphosate is combined with the other components of pesticides.

Glyphosate posed drinking water contaminant6 and was not likely to cause cancer, according to the EPA’s 2020 assessment. However, a federal appeals court drinking water contaminant7 stated in June that the EPA did not sufficiently analyze the hazards to human health and endangered animals. The agency’s 2016 assessment of possible connections to non-Hodgkin lymphoma was also found to include inconsistencies, according to the court. In September, the EPA reversed course on its choice.

An drinking water contaminant8 in that drinking water contaminant9 also excluded various tumor responses in animal models. To reach a determination about the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the panel advised the EPA to collect updated data.

Bill Freese, the science director for the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit environmental advocacy organization that was one of the groups that challenged the EPA’s glyphosate approval in court, claimed that animals did develop tumors and that they developed more tumors at high dosages.

According to Freese, their cancer conclusion just did not make sense.

According to EPA spokesperson Melissa Sullivan in an email, the organization intends to review and clarify its assessment of glyphosates’ carcinogenic potential by 2026 and may also decide to examine additional possible effects on human health. Glyphosate-containing items may still be sold while that review is ongoing.

The EPA has stated that amounts of residue in food are OK as long as they don’t exceed its safety criteria. However, others who support the environment and organic farming point out that these limits have gone risen over the past 20 years. Following a Monsanto petition, the EPA substantially increased the allowed limit for glyphosate residues on some foods in 2013, doubling it for oilseeds and increasing it for sweet potatoes and carrots to more than 15 times the prior limit.

By the end of the year, Bayer intends to replace glyphosate in some Roundup formulations. According to the company’s statement, the decision was not made out of any safety concerns but rather just to control the lawsuit risk in the United States. Farmers, pest control businesses, and other experts will still have access to the current formula.