Cancer-Causing Chemical Being Used On U.S Crops

Dayana Sabatin
Photo by Tim Mossholder

Many people in the U.S are being exposed to a potentially cancer-causing chemical that is used in the world's most common weedkillers. Data is showing that people in the Midwest, as well as parts of the South and Colorado, have the highest exposure on a daily basis.

Glyphosate is an active ingredient in many herbicides, and it has been in use for almost 50 years now. The chemical's health impacts has been debated at length; additionally, lawsuits arising over allegations that the chemical is linked to cancer.

The Environmental Protection Agency states that there is no risk to human health based on the current uses, and they maintain that there is no evidence glyphosate causes cancer.

Glyphosate's use is mostly in agriculture. Weedkillers that contain it are sprayed on almost half of all planted acres of corn, cotton, and soybeans in the U.S. Additionally, they're also used on wheat, oats, beans, and fruits.

Data from the U.S. Geological Survey is showing many counties across the country with higher than average glyphosate usage.

"Glyphosate is the most widely used chemical weedkiller in human history because of genetic engineering. It's sprayed ubiquitously, and Monsanto has, for decades, just maintained that it's the safest agricultural chemical ever made," said Dave Murphy, the founder of Food Democracy Now, an advocacy group that tests glyphosate in food.

The EPA's safety limits for glyphosate exposure from food are double the levels that are allowed in the European Union.

Most of the debate about glyphosate's health implications is centered around a potential link to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. And a 2019 analysis conducted by a former EPA science review board indicated a "compelling link" to the disease.

Additionally, several peer-reviewed studies have also suggested that herbicides containing glyphosate may disrupt hormones and alter the gut microbiome.

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