Contamination Detected in Humans
(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2004) A recent study detected levels of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the commonly used pesticide RoundUp, in human urine samples. The samples were collected from farmers, their spouses, and their children as part of the Farm Family Exposure Study.
Glyphosate Biomonitoring for Farmers and Their Families: Results from the Farm Family Exposure Study, published in the March 2004 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, evaluated urinary glyphosate concentrations for 48 farmers, their spouses, and their 79 children (4-18 years of age). Urine samples were examined from 24 hours before glyphosate application, the day of application, and for three days afterwards. Sixty percent of farmers had detectable levels of glyphosate in their urine on the day of application. Those who did not wear rubber gloves were more likely to contain higher amounts of glyphosate in their urine. Four percent of spouses’ samples contained the chemical, along with 12% of the childrens’ samples. All but one of the children who tested positive for glyphosate presence helped with the application.
Symptoms following exposure to glyphosate formulations include swollen eyes, face and joints; facial numbness; burning and/or itching skin; blisters; rapid heart rate; elevated blood pressure; chest pains, congestion; coughing; headache; and nausea. A 1999 study, A Case-Control Study of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Exposure to Pesticides, (American Cancer Society, 1999), found that people exposed to glyphosate are 2.7 times more likely to contract non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
The researchers state, “None of the systemic doses estimated in this study approached the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reference dose for glyphosate of 2 mg/kg/day.” However, in addition to glyphosate, a host of other hazardous pesticides are used in agriculture. Research regarding the synergistic effects of exposure to such a toxic cocktail is currently inadequate.
TAKE ACTION: Protect your own health by avoiding use of glyphosate and other commonly used hazardous lawn pesticides. Take an extra step and contact Mr. Michael Leavitt, EPA Administrator, by email, phone: 202-564-4711, or fax: 202-501-1470, and urge EPA to study further the potential health risks of pesticide exposure by farmers and their families.