HomeSafetyGlyphosate in the urine of 99,8% of French people

Glyphosate in the urine of 99,8% of French people

The herbicide glyphosate was detected in the urine of 99,8% of French participants in a study just published in E.environmental Science and Pollution Research (1). It is yet another demonstration of the pervasiveness of this substance, classified in 2015 as a probable carcinogen (group 2A) by the IARC (WHO Cancer Research Agency), and authorized until the end of this year, after the five-year renewal obtained. on 5.11.2017.

Glyphosate in the urine in France

The presence of glyphosate (or glyphosate) in the urine of the population (even not used in agriculture) has been demonstrated several times. The scarcity of these data with reference to the French led the researchers to clarify.

At the studio 6.795 people residing in different areas of France and on the island of La Reunion, a French overseas department in the Pacific Ocean, opposite Madagascar, took part.

The pervasiveness of glyphosate

The measurement of glyphosate levels in the general French population has been articulated in such a way as to highlight the influence of seasons and individual peculiarities, such as biological and social characteristics, eating habits and occupational exposure.

Analyzes showed widespread contamination. In 99,8% of the urine samples an average of 1,19 ng / ml of glyphosate was detected. Against LOQ (limit of quantity) of 0,1 ng / ml.

More exposed men and children

The highest values they belong to men compared to women (1,27 vs 1,13 ng / ml) and children. In the under-16 contamination reaches up to 2,05 ng / ml, while in the over-67 does not exceed 0,67 ng / ml.

'Higher levels of glyphosate found in younger participants can be associated with eating habits (especially baby cereals), physiology and metabolism (children breathe and drink twice as much as adults), physical activities, behavior and hygienic models with increased ingestion of soil (particles)', the study authors note.

Less residues with organic food and filtered water

The intake of food and water it is indicated as the primary source of contamination for the general population. The lowest levels of glyphosate belong to the participants who

- follow a diet composed of 85% organic food (1,16 ng / ml vs 1,17). The organic diet, however, has proved useful in freeing the body from glyphosate in just a few days, such as we have seen,

- regularly drink filtered water (with various types of filters: carbon, reverse osmosis, softener). The average value of glyphosate in this group is on average 1,12 ng / ml, lower than the usual consumers of tap or spring water, resulting contaminated for, respectively, 1,20 and 1,23 ng / ml of glyphosate (water-soluble substance ).

Agriculture and other exposure variables

Professional exposure is confirmed higher. The data emerges in the over-15 employees in agriculture (1,29 vs 1,15 ng / ml). And among these, the average exposure is higher for those employed in the wine sector (1,56 vs 1,22 ng / ml).

They are more contaminated from glyphosate, moreover,

- tobacco smokers, as glyphosate is used as a desiccant for some crops before harvest (1,43 vs 1,16 ng / ml),

- regular consumers of beer (1,37 vs 1,17 ng / ml) and fruit juices (1,25 vs 1,16 ng / ml), two foods that have already emerged as being more exposed to glyphosate,

- urine samples collected in the summer, between May and September, when external exposure increases. This finding had already emerged in previous studies. However, according to the researchers, it deserves further study, also because 'people may excrete lower urine volumes during the spring-summer than during the winter'and thus alter the comparison.

Only 1% of glyphosate is eliminated in the urine

The values ​​that emerged from the study in question they seem to represent a miniature of what is happening. The sample is in fact composed of volunteers sensitive to the danger of herbicides and pesticides in general. In fact, it has a large share of consumers of organic food, non-smokers and farmers.

The data moreover, exposed must be evaluated knowing that the amount of herbicide eliminated in the urine is very small.

'Until recently, data were only available from laboratory animal studies, with excretion rates of approximately 20% of an orally administered dose of glyphosate (EFSA 2015). It was recently shown, however, that only about 1% of the glyphosate dose was excreted in human urine within 44 h. (Faniband et al. 2021). Accurate quantification of exposure, both internally and externally, is a major public health concern as toxicity assessment is based on absorbed dose estimates (IARC 2015)', point out the authors of the study.

Marta Strinati

Cover image from blagues & dessíns, L'actu de Mikolas (2017). Du glyphosate in the urines des Français


(1) Grau D, Grau N, Gascuel Q, Paroissin C, Stratonovitch C, Lairon D, Devault DA, Di Cristofaro J. Quantifiable urine glyphosate levels detected in 99% of the French population, with higher values ​​in men, in younger people , and into farmers. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 May;29(22):32882-32893. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-18110-0

Marta Strinati

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".

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