Water Health Educator - Promoting advocacy for access to clean water
Exposure: Glyposate

Glyphosate in Water
by Marlena Bludzien 

Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in the world. It was invented in 1960’s as a descaling agent to bind to metal ions and effectively clean industrial pipes and boilers. It was noticed later, during disposing of this chemical waste in the fields that glyphosate was also productively killing plants. In 1974 Monsanto patented and introduced glyphosate to the world as agricultural herbicide.

Today, glyphosate is present nearly everywhere in our food and water. According to CCM Information International report, about 650,000 tons of glyphosate was used throughout the world in year 2011. This number rose quickly in 2016 to 1.8 million tons used in America and 9.4 million tons used worldwide. Multiple studies showed high levels of the pesticide in human urine, and suggested the presence can induce endocrine disruptions and cause liver dysfunctions. In April 2014 Moms Across America conducted water testing which showed that nearly 70% of all American households were running water with above detectable glyphosate levels. The pesticide was also found in mothers’ breastmilk and urine. In addition, in March 2015 Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate to be a “probable human carcinogen.” The level of glyphosate currently permitted in the US’ tap water is 700 ppb. In Europe, the permitted level in tap water is 0.1 ppb. The truth however, is that we don’t really know what the safe level of glyphosate ingestion really is. Some studies showed that even at levels of 0.1 ppb there is a severe organ damage and alteration of gene function in the liver and kidneys.

Herbicides such as glyphosate are known as environmental pollutants and are becoming a major problem to our safety. Considering that glyphosate can spread to aquatic environment by surface runoffs, leaching, drifts and drainage, the residues of this substance pose a real environmental hazard. Many studies have proved that Roundup is negatively affecting the non-target populations, and that its continues use will have a devastating effect on coastal marine phytoplankton. Vera et al. (2010) demonstrated adverse effects on phytoplankton and periphyton and the consequent worsening of fresh water quality. Other studies pointed out its harmful effects on zooplankton species (Vendrell et al. 2009). Roundup’s toxicity was further presented by Tsui and Chu, who demonstrated its implications on bacterium, microalgae, protozoa and crustaceans (2003). These are just a few examples of how science is desperately trying to prove that glyphosate is and will affect our ecosystem.

For long years, the industry has claimed that glyphosate is “even safer than table salt” and influenced the government regulations on the herbicide’s permissible levels in food and tap water.

The number of reports finding glyphosate in different products keep growing. Studies keep proving that glyphosate has been affecting our food and water, and bringing terrifying health consequences to our health.

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