Over 80 percent of urine samples from children and adults in the United States contain a weedkilling chemical that is linked to cancer. The new data was released by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Source: WION/Youtube

According to the report by a unit for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), glyphosate, a controversial ingredient in many weedkillers, was present in 1,885 of the 2,310 samples taken. Glyphosate is found in weed killers all around the world, including the popular brand, Roundup. A third of the samples were taken from children ranging from ages six to 18. Glyphosate has been found in popular foods, including baby food.

Although private studies and researchers have been reporting high levels of glyphosate in human urine for years, the CDC only just began to examine the extent of human exposure to the chemical.

“I expect that the realization that most of us have glyphosate in our urine will be disturbing to many people,” said Lianne Sheppard, professor at the University of Washington’s department of environmental and occupational health sciences. Thanks to the findings, “we know that a large fraction of the population has it in urine. Many people will be thinking about whether that includes them.”

Since Monsanto Co. introduced genetically engineered crops made to be sprayed with Roundup in the 1990s, the amount and prevalence of glyphosate in human urine have been increasing.

Over 200 million pounds of glyphosate are used annually in the United States by farmers in their fields. The weedkiller is often sprayed over crops like corn, soybeans, wheat, and oats. Farmers even use it in fields before the growing season to keep down the weeds. Today, it is the most widely used herbicide in history.

Although these companies creating the products have maintained that it is safe and residue in food and urine is not a health risk, numerous studies have found the opposite. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.

There are many steps consumers can take to limit their exposure to glyphosate and reduce the health risks associated with the controversial herbicide. Opting for organic products can make it easier to avoid ingesting glyphosate and other herbicides and pesticides used to treat crops.

Although it can be simple to alter a grocery list, consumers can still be exposed to products like Roundup wherever they go. Public parks and playgrounds are especially susceptible to weedkiller spray. To create a more sustainable and health-conscious community, concerned citizens can bring the issues surrounding glyphosate use to the attention of city council members and public figures in an attempt to monitor or even restrict the herbicide from being used. Glyphosate is already banned from many communities, states, and countries around the world. Areas, where glyphosate is either restricted or banned, include the Key West, Los Angeles, and Miami, in addition to different Central American and European countries.

Until the herbicide is removed from store shelves and companies cease production, consumers will continue to be exposed to this toxic substance daily. It’s important to take action as a mindful consumer and to understand the risks associated with the weed killer to make more informed decisions going forward.

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