(Medical Xpress) Levels of glyphosate, a controversial chemical found in herbicides, markedly increased in the bodies of a sample population over two decades, a study published Tuesday in a US medical journal said.
The increase dated from the introduction of genetically-modified glyphosate-tolerant crops in the United States in 1994.
The findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) came as the European Commission proposed on Tuesday to renew the license for glyphosate for a shorter than usual five to seven years.
That decision by the EU’s executive arm followed a growing uproar over the alleged danger of its use.
Researchers compared the levels of glyphosate in the urine of 100 people living in California. It covered a 23-year period starting from 1993, the year before the introduction of genetically-modified crops tolerant to Roundup.
Glyphosate-containing Roundup, produced by US agro giant Monsanto, is one of the world’s most widely-used weedkillers.
“Prior to the introduction of genetically modified foods, very few people had detectable levels of glyphosate,” said Paul Mills, of the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, the study’s principal author.
Among the study group, detectable amounts increased from an average of 0.20 micrograms per liter in 1993-1996 to an average of 0.44 micrograms in 2014-2016.
These figures are far from the daily limit of 1.75 milligrams per kilogram set by the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the even stricter limit of 0.3 milligrams per kilogram in the European Union.
“Our exposure to these chemicals has increased significantly over the years but most people are unaware that they are consuming them through their diet,” Mills said.
Roundup was initially used on genetically modified soy and corn, but it is also sprayed on a substantial portion of wheat and oats grown in the US, he said.
In July, California listed glyphosate as carcinogenic, and the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer called it “probably carcinogenic” in 2015.
Read the full story here: US study finds rise in human glyphosate levels – Medical Xpress