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"The presence of glyphosate residues in both humans and animals could haul the entire population towards numerous health hazards, studying the impact of glyphosate residues on health is warranted and the global regulations for the use of glyphosate may have to be re-evaluated."
A newly released study published in Environmental & Analytical Toxicology highlights the chemical dangers associated with the GMO agricultural system, which relies heavily on the herbicide known as glyphosate (aka Roundup), and to which widespread exposure through the environment and our food is increasingly becoming inevitable.
The study titled, "Detection of Glyphosate in Animals and Humans," aimed to investigate glyphosate residues in different biological samples from humans and animals, in order to gain insight into the modern day exposure situation.
The following animal samples were collected:
- Urine from cows kept in GM free areas
- Organs from slaughtered cows from conventional husbandry (gut wall, liver, kidney, lung and muscles)
- Urine samples from Danish cows
- Urine samples from hares and fattening rabbits
The following human samples were collected:
- Urine samples from humans with conventional or organic diets
- Urine samples from healthy and chronically diseases humans
All samples were tested, revealing the following positive results:
- Animal Samples: "Glyphosate excretion in German dairy cows was significantly (P<0.0001) higher than Danish cows (Figure 1A). Surprisingly, cows kept in GM free region had significantly (p<0.001) lower glyphosate concentrations in their urine compared with cows under convention husbandry (Figure 1B). Also glyphosate was detected in different organs of slaughtered cows including intestine, liver, muscles, spleen and kidney (Figure 1C). There were no significant differences of glyphosate residues in these organs. Hares showed significantly lower (P<0.0001) glyphosate residues in urine than fattening rabbit (Figure 2)."
- Human Samples: "Glyphosate was significantly higher (P<0.0002) in humans feed conventional feed compared with predominantly organic feed humans (Figure 3). Also the glyphosate residues in urine were grouped according to the human health status. Chronically ill humans had significantly higher (P=0.03) glyphosate residues in urine than healthy humans (Figure 2)."
In the discussion portion of the study, the researchers address several key points. First, glyphosate exposure is inevitable, due to the way it is used in food production:
"Glyphosate-containing herbicides are applied in large amounts to crops 2 to 3 times per season to remove weeds and dry out grain in a process called 'desiccation' . Once applied, glyphosate accumulates in leaves, grains or fruit. Glyphosate residues cannot be removed by washing and they are not broken down by cooking . Glyphosate residues can remain stable in foods for a year or more, even if the foods are frozen, dried or processed."
Second, very little testing of glyphosate's presumed safety has been performed, despite its global dominance as a preferred herbicide – this despite a growing body of research indicating glyphosate's adverse effects on human health.
Thirdly, they pointed out that beyond detecting glyphosate in intestine, liver, muscle, spleen and kidney tissue of the exposed animal, other research found the chemical accumulates in the bones – which they remarked was not a surprising finding, considering that glyphosate is a strong chelating agent for calcium.
Finally, they discovered a glyphosate concentration of 1 part per billion in people consuming predominantly an organic food diet – significantly lower than found in those consuming a conventional diet. They also point out that the presence of low levels of glyphosate even within those fed organic food could be attributed to contamination of the air and rain – an issue which we addressed recently in our article, Roundup Weedkiller Found in 75% of Air and Rain Samples, Gov. Study Finds.
The study concluded:
"Glyphosate residue could reach humans and animals through feed and excreted in urine. Presence of glyphosate in urine and its accumulation in animal tissues is alarming even at low concentrations. Unknown impacts of glyphosate on human and animal health warrants further investigations of glyphosate residues in vertebrates and other non-target organisms."
With countries like Sri Lanka and El Salvador moving to ban glyphosate formulations (Roundup) due to its now suspected link to deadly kidney disease in humans, studies like this remind us just how omnipresent the chemical is, and how we can no longer pretend like the issue does not affect us. As long as we continue to support an agricultural system and food industry that relies on a chemical warfare model of non-sustainable production, where every plant or insect must die but the chosen, patented GM one that can withstand the agrichemical onslaught, we will be faced with the consequences: widespread poisoning, and the eventual collapse of the fertility of the soil and the biodiversity of the plants we need to survive.