CDC Finds Chemical Linked to Cancer in More Than 80% Of Urine Samples Drawn from Children and Adults in the Study


The CDC published the results of a study in June 2022 that revealed that more than 80% of urine samples drawn from children and adults in the study contained a weedkilling chemical linked to cancer.

The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that out of 2,310 urine samples taken from a group of Americans, 1,885 were laced with detectable traces "at or above the detection limit" of glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in herbicides sold around the world, including the widely used Roundup brand. Almost a third of the participants were children ranging from six to 18.

According to the CDC report:

Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the United States in the agricultural sector and the second most used in the home and garden market sector (US EPA 2017). Its use has increased more than 200-fold since 1974 when Monsanto commercialized it under the trade name Roundup (Benbrook, 2016). In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that glyphosate is a "probable human carcinogen" (IARC, 2015). However, the European Food Safety Authority and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Meeting on Pesticide Residues (EFSA 2015, FAO/WHO 2015) determined that glyphosate is unlikely to be a carcinogen. The US EPA concluded that "available data and weight-of-evidence clearly do not support the descriptors "carcinogenic to humans," "likely to be carcinogenic to humans," or "inadequate information to assess carcinogenic potential" (US EPA 2017a). Controversy and concern that the rising use of glyphosate may have adverse human-health effects exist (Myers et. al., 2016). Yet, the extent of human exposure to glyphosate in the U.S. population is largely unknown. Data to better understand exposure to glyphosate are needed to increase our knowledge of its potential effects on health.

Recently, the U.S. EPA ordered to reassess glyphosate's impact on health, the environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was ordered by a federal appeals court on Friday to take a fresh look at whether glyphosate, the active ingredient in Bayer AG's Roundup weed killer, poses unreasonable risks to humans and the environment.

In a 3-0 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with several environmental, farmworker and food-safety advocacy groups that the EPA did not adequately consider whether glyphosate causes cancer and threatens endangered species.

The litigation began after the EPA reauthorized the use of glyphosate in January 2020.

Groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety and the Rural Coalition, which represents farmworkers, faulted the agency for rubber-stamping glyphosate despite its alleged harms to agriculture, farmers exposed during spraying and wildlife such as the Monarch butterfly.

Circuit Judge Michelle Friedland wrote for the Pasadena, California-based appeals court that the EPA did not properly justify its findings that glyphosate did not threaten human health and was unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans. She also faulted aspects of the agency's approval process.

Bayer's Monsanto unit, which makes Roundup, opposed groups challenging the EPA reauthorization. Friday's decision does not prevent people from using Roundup or similar products.

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency will review the decision.

Bayer said the EPA conducted a "rigorous assessment" of more than 40 years of science and believes that the agency will continue to conclude that glyphosate-based herbicides are safe and are not carcinogenic.

George Kimbrell, legal director of the Center for Food Safety, which represented the Rural Coalition, in an interview called the decision "a historic victory for farmworkers, the public and endangered species."

Bayer has faced tens of thousands of lawsuits claiming that Roundup causes cancer and other illnesses.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide soon whether to hear the German company's appeal of a $25 million damages award to Edwin Hardeman, a Roundup user who blamed his cancer on its weedkillers.

The cases are Natural Resources Defense Council et al v EPA, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 20-70787, and Rural Coalition et al v EPA et al in the same court, No. 20-70801.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Mark Porter)

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