A recent study found that 19 out of the 20 beer and wine samples studied contained small amounts – parts per billion – of Roundup. With such a minuscule number, there’s nothing to be worried about, right? Well, not exactly. Scientists have found that even 1 part per trillion of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has the potential to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells and disrupt the endocrine system.
What This New Study Reveals
The United States Public Interest Group (U.S. PIRG), a nonprofit research organization, tested beer and wine for glyphosate/Roundup to determine “how much Roundup we’re drinking.” U.S. PIRG tested five wines and 15 beers including common brands such as Beringer, Barefoot and Sutter Home wine and Budweiser, Coors, Miller Lite, Sam Adams, Samuel Smith Organic and New Belgium beers. Here are some of their findings:
- Peak Beer was the only sample that did not contain detectable levels of glyphosate.
- The highest level of glyphosate found was in Sutter Home wine, at 51 parts per billion (ppb).
- Even the beers labeled as “organic” contained glyphosate.
- Large, conventional brands such as Coors, Tsingtao, and Miller Lite showed glyphosate levels above 25 ppb.
This study came on the heels of a German team’s research which showed that Roundup occurred in every sample they tested in 2016. German brewers were appalled and a follow-up study in 2017 reported marked improvement. Hopefully, this will also be the case in the United States. U.S. PIRG shares that The Brewers Association, which certifies small independent and craft beers, even commented that, “Brewers do not want glyphosate used on barley or any raw brewing material, and the barley grower organizations have also come out strongly against glyphosate.”
The Dangers of Roundup
Monsanto, the makers of Roundup, have claimed for decades that their product is safe. However, many studies have revealed its link to cancer. In 2015, the World Health Organization deemed it a “probable carcinogen” and in 2017 California agreed. In September 2013, researchers from Thailand discovered that glyphosate could stimulate the growth of breast cancer and alter the endocrine system with contamination levels as low as the parts per trillion range. In October 2008, Swedish researchers determined that exposure to glyphosate tripled the risk of a subtype of non-Hodgkin called small lymphocytic lymphoma. The most recent evidence against Roundup and its link to cancer involved California school groundskeeper DeWayne Johnson. Johnson claimed that after years of applying Roundup to the school property, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Toxicologist William Sawyer took the stand and explained that glyphosate bioaccumulates in the skin making it more permeable which allows it to be absorbed into the body. Johnson won $78.5 million in his case.
And Roundup isn’t just linked to cancer. Other health conditions associated with this herbicide include allergies, asthma, autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s, gastrointestinal disorders, and more.
Roundup in Other Products
While it may not seem like having Roundup in your wine or beer is a big deal, it has additionally been found in a variety of other common food items. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) published their study in August 2018 which found that 43 out of the 45 oat-based cereals and snack bars marketed to children contained glyphosate. “The highest levels, greater than 1,000 ppb, were detected in two samples of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats. Three samples of Cheerios had glyphosate levels ranging from 470 ppb to 530 ppb.” The EWG’s child-protective health benchmark for daily exposure to glyphosate in food is 160 ppb.
If you love junk food, here are some other popular offenders with high levels of glyphosate:
- Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips 812.53 ppb
- Cool Ranch Doritos 481.27 ppb
- Lay’s Kettle Cooked Original 452.71 ppb
- Oreo Original 289.47 ppb
- Kashi Soft Baked Cookies, Oatmeal Dark Chocolate 275.58 ppb
- Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies 264.28 ppb
Part of the danger of Roundup and glyphosate is the unknown: how much of this chemical are we really ingesting? U.S. PIRG also states that the, “use of Roundup is growing at such a rapid pace that there is enough Roundup sprayed every year to spray nearly half a pound of glyphosate on every cultivated acre of land in the world.”
Maybe we should change our way of thinking: it shouldn’t be “let’s keep using Roundup until it’s proven to be unsafe” but “let’s halt Roundup until we KNOW that it’s safe.”