Portuguese exposed to “significant levels of weed killer linked to cancer

A preliminary study has detected ‘significant levels’ of glyphosate in the urine of Portuguese adults.

Bearing in mind exposure to glyphosate has been famously linked to the development in humans of various cancers, investigators hope the study can be taken further.

The results, for the time being, are extremely delicate in that they haven’t allowed for “robust conclusions” but they suggest a very worrying possibility.

Explains one of the lead investigators Cristina Calheiros of CIIMAR (the interdisciplinary centre for marine and environmental investigation) the sample group of 79 adults used in the study was “patently skewed” in that around 80% were regular consumers of biological produce (in which the use of glyphosate is prohibited).

In other words, a future study must have a more ‘representational’ group to reflect wider Portuguese society.

As it is, the study detected higher levels of glyphosate in the adults tested than those taking part in studies in other countries, namely Ireland and Germany.

And that is what is sounding alarm bells.

If 80% of people tested were eating ‘biological produce’ why are they excreting more traces of a chemical compound linked to the development of cancers than a relatively more representational selection of people tested in Ireland and Germany?

Explain reports “investigators” from CIIMAR and the Portuguese Catholic University are now “seeking finance to deepen the study, widen the sample group and analyse levels of contamination to which humans are exposed, as well as identify the sources of contamination and routes of exposure in order to better understand the extent to which various populations can be affected, and to reduce that exposure”.

This news, published today in the science direct journal ‘Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology’ comes just as the debate on the sense of allowing the proliferation of monocultures (which use plentiful supplies of weed-killers containing glyphosate) is becoming a major issue due to the deepening situation of drought (click here and here).

Meantime, the EU has famously flip-flapped over the use of glyphosate, with some countries like France banning it outright and others allowing its continued use in areas not frequented by the public. Portugal falls into this latter bracket, hence why the herbicide is finding its way into underground water sources.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com