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Weedkiller Chemical Found in Majority of People’s Urine

photo of man holding crate of fresh produce

July 12, 2022 -- A commonly used weed killer showed up in more than 80 percent of more than 2,300 people tested for a national survey, including children as young as 6.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found glyphosate in the urine samples of 1,885 of 2,310 people tested. Almost a third of the samples came from minors. The survey is part of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program.

"Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the country, yet until now we had very little data on exposure," Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist at the Environmental Working Group, said Monday in a statement. "Children in the U.S. are regularly exposed to this cancer-causing weedkiller through the food they eat virtually every day."

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the Roundup brand, “which was inherited by German pharmaceutical company Bayer when it purchased American agrochemical giant Monsanto in 2018,” CBS News reported.

Bayer says the product is safe. It has won four trials against other people claiming they got cancer from Roundup. And in 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency said that glyphosate poses no serious health risk and is “not likely” to cause cancer.

Bayer says it will use a different chemical in residential Roundup, but not professional and farm use, starting next year.

Bayer is battling thousands of lawsuits claiming the chemical causes cancer, CBS reported. The company lost a $25 million lawsuit by a man in California who says he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from using Roundup for decades.

CBS said the International Agency for Research on Cancer – part of the World Health Organization — classifies glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."

Bayer spokesman Darren Wallis told CBS that the CDC study confirms low exposure to the chemical.

“CDC’s data provide further confirmation that human exposures to glyphosate are well below levels that regulatory agencies established to protect human health” Wallis said. “CDC’s highest reported value (8.13 ng glyphosate/ml of urine) corresponds to exposures that are less than 0.14% of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA’s safety threshold”

Show Sources

CBS News: “Weed-killing chemical found in majority of U.S. urine samples”


CDC: “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey”


Environmental Working Group: “CDC finds toxic weedkiller in 87 percent of children tested”

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