Since glyphosate-tolerant crops were first created in 1994, the use of glyphosate – a weed killer present in most herbicides – is 15 times greater.
A new study from researchers at the University of California, San Diego analysed multiple urine samples of 100 Southern California residents provided during separate occasions from 1993-1996 and 2014-2016, Courthouse News reports. Over the 100 participants examined, the average volume of glyphosate increased from 0.203 micrograms per litre in the 1993-1996 samples to 0.449 micrograms per litre in 2014-2016.
The analysis revealed that human exposure to glyphosate has grown by 500% in the past 20 years. Typically, glyphosate is sprayed on corn, soy, oats and wheat. Professor Paul J. Mills, the lead author of the study explains the findings: “The data compares excretion levels of glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in the human body over a 23-year time span, starting in 1993, just before the introduction of genetically modified crops into the United States,” he says.
“What we saw was that prior to the introduction of genetically modified foods, very few people had detectable levels of glyphosate,” Mills continues. “As of 2016, 70 percent of the study cohort had detectable levels.”
Previous studies have examined the repercussions of glyphosate on animal health, which prove that regular exposure to herbicides containing glyphosate leads to health issues such as liver disorders. So far, little study has been done around the human connection to dangerous herbicides.
Mills says more awareness is needed around this issue. “The public needs to be better informed of the potential risks of the numerous herbicides sprayed onto our food supply so that we can make educated decisions on when we need to reduce or eliminate exposure to potentially harmful compounds,” he states. “Our exposure to these chemicals has increased significantly over the years but most people are unaware that they are consuming them through their diet.”