Weed killer residues in our urine? Another good reason to choose organic

Written by Pete Richardson on . Posted in Latest News

Another good reason to choose organic: Independent laboratory tests commissioned by Friends of the Earth have found traces of the weed killer, glyphosate, in the bodies of people across numerous European countries, including Britain. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in some of the most widely used herbicides in the world, but it’s probably best known as Monsanto’s RoundUp weed killer.

The urine tests of 182 volunteers in 18 countries across Europe found that on average 44 per cent of samples contained traces of glyphosate. Of the ten samples taken in the UK, seven had weed killer traces. Often touted as a ‘safe’ product, a growing body of research raises concerns about the safety of glyphosate for human health, particularly on the hormone system, and its impact on the wider environment. This follows the dramatic increase in the use of glyphosate in association with GM crops, which are designed to be resistant to applications of this weedkiller. The big concern is, of course, that the widespread adoption of GM technology will lead to further increases in the application of glyphosate-based herbicides, such as Monsanto’s RoundUp – which would be good news for Monsanto’s sales, but perhaps not such good news for our health and the wider environment.

Friends of the Earth have produced a range of interesting briefing papers, which you can find here. It’s definitely a story to keep an eye on – I’ve been hearing rumblings about the safety of glyphosate for some time (see for example this interview with Don Huber, emeritus professor of plant pathology, Purdue University, from 2010), so it will be interesting to see how this story develops.

The good news is that you won’t find any glyphosate residues on your organic fruit and veg, as the Soil Association organic standards prohibit the use of such herbicides in organic farming – and rightly so.

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