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Just when you think your work matters
A survey comes along to set you straight
Results from a new consumer survey released yesterday show that virtually no one knows about a chemical called glyphosate, (a chemical that I’ve spent the last 20-some years writing about, including authoring a whole glyphosate-focused book!)
Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and hundreds of other weed killing products sold worldwide.
But surveyors for One Degree Organic Foods found despite the fact that glyphosate is the most widely used weed killer on the planet, despite the fact that it is the subject of litigation brought by more than 100,000 people in the United States, and despite the fact that scientists around the world have been warning for decades that glyphosate exposure could cause cancer or other health problems, 81% of North Americans said they were not familiar with glyphosate.
On a positive note, the survey found that nearly 70 percent of U.S. and Canadian respondents said they were trying to limit pesticides in their food and on their lawn.
• Once made aware of what glyphosate is, 90% of North Americans are “very concerned” about glyphosate in their food.
• While fruits and vegetables are high on consumers’ watch for pesticides (89% of consumers look for labels to limit exposure), awareness is lower (only 48%) in the grains category.
Glyphosate was classified as a probable human carcinogen in 2015 by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Residues of the chemical are commonly found on a range of foods, including in cereals and snacks, and glyphosate is routinely found in human urine when such testing is conducted.
In related news, the latest in a growing stack of scientific research on glyphosate was published this month in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal. The paper, Association of Glyphosate Exposure with Blood DNA Methylation in a Cross-Sectional Study of Postmenopausal Women, aimed to examine the association between “blood DNA methylation” and glyphosate exposure.
The researchers collected urine samples and measured white blood cell DNA methylation from 392 postmenopausal women between the ages of 45 and 66 living in southern California. They said they found exposure to the weed killer was associated with DNA methylation differences that “could promote the development of cancer and other diseases.”
The work was supported by funds from the California Breast Cancer Research Grants Program Office of the University of California.