Take a walk through any home and garden department of a hardware or other home goods retailer and you’re likely to find gallons and gallons of Roundup on the store’s shelves. And if you’ve been following the conversation around glyphosate, you might be tempted to think that you’re safe from all the controversy and risk because you don’t buy it. In some cases, you might not even have a need for it.
Current studies appear to show that you’ve already bought it – it’s just in the food you eat and, in some cases, the water you drink and the air you breathe.
A recent post to NBC News explores the true extent of glyphosate exposure in the United States and evidence shows that the chemical has made its way into the vast majority of American homes at easily detectable levels. Americans living in the Midwest are at the highest risk of exposure as the chemical is not only in the food they consume, but living among the farms used to produce that food also exposes them to the raw application of glyphosate to the nation’s crops.
On average across all U.S. counties, close to 130 pounds of glyphosate is sprayed per square mile. Lake County, Colorado, however, tops the charts with an average of nearly one ton of the chemical sprayed per square mile.
A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined urine samples from a sample designed to be a cross section of Americans. The findings were stunning. 80% of those samples came back as testing positive for glyphosate at detectable levels. And those that consciously work to eat organically don’t fair any better. Tests conducted on supposedly organic food found glyphosate in products ranging from bread to breakfast cereal.
Bayer, for its part, maintains its claims that glyphosate is perfectly safe and that exposure to the chemical occurs at rates that are far below the limits set by the EPA. However, questions have also risen as to whether those limits are too high and whether they’ve been influenced by industry lobbying rather a concern for the safety of the American consumer. The agency’s limits for glyphosate exposure are twice as high as those imposed by European Union regulators.