People who use herbicides have signs of cancer in their urine, a study suggests.
The government-funded research took samples from farmers in Iowa and North Carolina and found high levels of biomarkers linked to the development of the disease.
It comes after a separate study found “incredibly high levels” of extremely difficult-to-break down toxic chemicals present in most pesticides used in the US, which can cause birth defects and kidney disease if ingested.
In addition to farmers working with the pesticide, people may be exposed to the herbicide by eating contaminated food or drinking water.
The most recent research, funded by the National Cancer Institute, measured levels of glyphosate, the world’s most widely applied herbicide, used in the urine of 268 farmers and Another 100 men matched by age and geography.
They found that compared to non-farmers, farmers with recent, high past 12-month, or high lifetime use of glyphosate had elevated levels of oxidative stress biomarkers in their urine.
Oxidative stress damages DNA and is believed to be a key characteristic of carcinogens, substances capable of causing cancer.
The authors, including 10 scientists from the National Institutes of Health and two from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it “adds to the weight of evidence supporting an association between glyphosate exposure and oxidative stress in humans.” “.
Oxidative stress could cause certain types of cancer such as lymphoma, myeloma, and leukemia.
People can be exposed to the herbicide by eating contaminated food or drinking water.
Although the study focused on farmers who work with glyphosate, the scientists observed similar results in “non-farmers.”
Phil Landrigan, a pediatrician and epidemiologist who previously worked at the CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency, said The Guardian the study must be scrutinized by regulators.
He said: “This is a high-level team of researchers and a highly credible study that regulators should pay attention to.”
The most common glyphosate product is the herbicide Roundup, made by Monsanto.
Bayer, the owner of the company that makes the chemical, has long maintained that exposure to the herbicide has no negative impacts on human health.
It said in a statement: “The increased oxidative stress found in the study could have been caused by any number of factors unrelated to glyphosate or a combination of factors, and the study does not support the conclusion that glyphosate is the cause.” .
Meanwhile, Bayer and Monsanto face lawsuits from tens of thousands of cancer patients who allege that their exposure to Roundup caused their cancer.
The new government-funded study was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.