A recent peer-reviewed study analyzed pesticide levels in four American families for six days while they were on a non-organic diet and then six days on an entirely organic diet. The switch to an organic diet reduced levels of a common weedkiller, glyphosate, by 70% in those six days. In 1983, the Environmental Protection Agency listed glyphosate as a potential carcinogen, but aggressive marketing of Roundup (the most popular brand of glyphosate) to farmers and homeowners has only increased its use since. Since the 1970s, the percentage of the U.S. population with detectable amounts of glyphosate in its blood has skyrocketed from 12% to 70% in 2014. In the new study, researchers detected glyphosate in every participant, including four-year-old children.
After the World Health Organization also determined that glyphosate is a likely carcinogen, thousands of farmers, pesticide applicators, and home gardeners filed lawsuits linking their diagnosed cancers to Roundup use. The first three of those cases settled in favor of the plaintiffs, leaving Bayer (Roundup’s new owner after it purchased the previous owner, Monsanto, two years ago) with $2 billion in damages to pay. Despite Bayer agreeing to pay a total of $10 billion in settlements for another 95,000 cases, the company was granted permission in a recent court case to continue selling Roundup. Under the terms of the settlement, glyphosate will still be sold for use on yards, school grounds, public parks, and farms without a safety warning. The European Union announced this summer its plan to cut pesticide use in half by 2030 and a move to make at least 25% of its agriculture organic. However, glyphosate use in the U.S. is increasing, and the new study’s researchers emphasize the importance of organic food in reducing the body’s levels of the potential carcinogen, particularly among children. Read more here at the Guardian.