Potentially cancer-causing chemicals are sprayed on many American story

(NBC News) – On a daily basis, many people in the United States could be exposed to potentially cancer-causing chemicals used in the world’s most common herbicides. , parts of the South, and Colorado have the highest exposure.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in many herbicides, has been in use for nearly 50 years. However, the health effects of this chemical are hotly debated, chemicals linked to cancerThe Environmental Protection Agency will No risk to human health Based on current use, there is no evidence that glyphosate causes cancer. Bayer, the pharmaceutical company that markets the most widely used glyphosate herbicide, says it stands by the chemical’s safety.

The main use of glyphosate is agriculture.Herbicide containing it is sprayed close to half Of all acres of corn, cotton and soybeans grown in the United States, wheat, oats, beans and fruit are also used. Also, U.S. Geological Survey data shows that glyphosate use is higher than average in several counties across the country.

An NBC News analysis of 2019 USGS agricultural glyphosate use data found:

  • Counties in the United States applied an average of about 130 pounds of glyphosate herbicide per square mile.
  • Lake County, Colorado had the highest rate of glyphosate use of any U.S. county, with approximately 2,000 pounds per square mile sprayed.
  • More than 55 million people live in counties with above-average glyphosate usage.
  • Iowa and Illinois, the top corn and soybean growers, account for 15% of national consumption.
  • The Southwest and Northeast states use the least amount of glyphosate per square mile.

Chemical giant Monsanto introduced glyphosate into its product Roundup in 1974. Bayer acquired Monsanto in his 2018.

“Glyphosate is the most widely used chemical herbicide in human history, thanks to genetic engineering,” says Dave Murphy, founder of Food Democracy Now, an advocacy group that tests glyphosate in food. says Mr. “It’s been sprayed everywhere and Monsanto has for decades claimed it’s the safest pesticide ever made.”

The EPA safety limit for glyphosate exposure from food is twice the level allowed by the European Union.That leak has been recognized by the agency drinking water contaminants That’s roughly equivalent to a gallon of Roundup in an Olympic-sized pool, according to NBC News calculations.

Much of the debate about glyphosate’s health effects revolves around its potential association with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 2019 analysis A study conducted by a former EPA Scientific Review Board member showed a “compelling link” to the disease.Several peer-reviewed studies show that herbicides containing glyphosate disrupt hormones When Alter your gut microbiome.

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that glyphosate Possibly carcinogenic to humans,kick off wave of lawsuits it to bayer $10 billion.

In California, glyphosate is List of chemicals known to cause cancer, a specification requiring manufacturers to print warning labels on products sold in the state.But with Monsanto EPA We challenged the requirement to prevent such warnings about glyphosate products.

A lawsuit is in progress. In a statement to NBC News, Bayer said it was against California’s decision because it contradicted “a long-standing consensus among major health regulators around the world in favor of the safety and non-carcinogenicity of glyphosate-based products.” He said he would continue to oppose.

Glyphosate use in the United States has skyrocketed since 1996, when Monsanto introduced genetically engineered seeds that survived heavy application of herbicides.

Today, nearly 90% of corn, cotton and soybean crops have been modified to be resistant to glyphosate and other chemical treatments used by farmers, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. .

a 2017 survey Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, showed that the amount of glyphosate in urine samples taken from a group of 100 adults rose between 1993 and 2016. air and rain samplesaccording to a University of Minnesota study. Additionally, we found two reports by organic advocacy groups. glyphosate cereals, cookies, crackers, sandwich bread.

a National Health Survey A trial released in June by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention observed detectable levels of glyphosate in 80% of urine samples.

ayer said even traces of glyphosate in urine did not mean there was a health risk. It addresses exposures below the safe threshold of 0.14%,” he told NBC News. of weight.

“CDC data confirms that human exposure to glyphosate is well below these levels and confirms that glyphosate can be used safely if the label instructions are followed,” the statement said. Stated.

But Robin Mesnage, a toxicologist at King’s College London who has studied the health effects of environmental pollutants for more than a decade, questions whether current safety standards are too high.

He said his own research found that glyphosate could induce DNA damage change with liver metabolism At doses up to 1/100 of the acceptable level.He notes that when glyphosate is combined with other ingredients in herbicides, the final product is more toxic than the active ingredient alone.

In 2020, the EPA declared glyphosate to be a “No risk to human health” and was not likely to cause cancer.However, the Federal Court of Appeal rejected the decision In June, the EPA said it had not adequately assessed endangered species and risks to human health. The court also noted discrepancies in the agency’s 2016 assessment of his potential association with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The EPA he reversed that decision in September.

Ann An internal EPA advisory committee also found discrepancies among them 2016 evaluationThis includes discounting some tumor responses in animals. The panel recommended that EPA obtain updated data to draw conclusions about non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma risk.

“Animals got tumors and more tumors at higher doses,” said the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit environmental group that was among the groups that challenged the EPA’s glyphosate review in court. said Bill Fries, scientific director of

“Their cancer conclusions just didn’t make sense,” Dr. Freese said.

EPA spokesperson Melissa Sullivan said in an email that the agency will review its assessment of glyphosate’s carcinogenic potential by 2026, better explain its potential for human health. It said it plans to consider whether to evaluate certain other effects.

As for residues in food, the EPA says trace amounts are fine as long as they don’t exceed safe limits. But environmental and organic advocates note that these thresholds have increased over the past two decades. In 2013, following Monsanto’s petition, the EPA dramatically raised the tolerance level We’ve reduced glyphosate residues in certain foods, doubled the allowable limits for oilseeds, and increased them to more than 15x the previous levels for sweet potatoes and carrots.

Bayer plans to replace glyphosate in several versions of Roundup by next year. It is not due to concerns above,” he said. Current formulas will continue to be available to farmers, pest control companies, and other professional services. Potentially cancer-causing chemicals are sprayed on many American story

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