The presence of glyphosate detected in the urine of volunteers from 84 departments

One more stone in the glyphosate garden. A study, carried out during a campaign of legal complaints in France against this very controversial herbicide, showed its presence in the urine of almost all of a sample of more than 6,848 volunteers, recruited via the Glyphosate Campaign association in 83 departments of mainland France and Reunion. The samples were taken between June 2018 and January 2020, the vast majority under the supervision of a bailiff with a view to legal action. They were analyzed progressively by a German laboratory, Biocheck.

As a result, glyphosate, a weedkiller classified as “probable carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (Circ) but authorized in Europe, was detected in 99.8% of 6,795 usable samples, at “an average level of 1.19 µg / L ”. In surveillance data published in October 2019, the National Health Security Agency (ANSES) underlined that quantities of glyphosate of the order of 1 µg / L in the urine correspond to exposure of less than 1% of the daily dose. eligible.

More contaminated tap water, beer and fruit juices

The authors of this new study note that the samples taken in spring and summer, the season for phytosanitary treatments, show “significantly higher levels”. Farmers, especially “working in a wine-growing environment”, also have “significantly higher” levels. Levels are also higher in men and younger participants, people who regularly consume tap or spring water, smokers, drinkers of beer or juice. On the other hand, people who say they eat “more than 85% organic food” have lower levels.

The authors stress that their sample is not representative of the general population, being older, more feminine and undoubtedly over-representing “citizens aware of the issues of pesticides and a healthy lifestyle”. But, for them, its size makes the analysis relevant, especially since “our results confirm almost all other international studies”, while being “rather in the upper part” of the levels found, notes Denis Lairon, emeritus research director at Inserm and one of the authors. However, he said he was “surprised to see an almost systematic contamination”.

The sampling campaign was accompanied by more than 5,800 individual complaints by the participants on the basis of the positive results, in particular for “endangering the life of others”, grouped together at the public health pole of the Paris court, according to Campagne glyphosate. “This external analysis by scientists helps to move the file forward,” says Guillaume Tumerelle, lawyer accompanying the association. Emmanuel Macron pledged in November 2017 to ban glyphosate “at the latest in three years”. He admitted having failed, while pleading a “collective” failure.

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