Researchers Have Found a Weed Killer Chemical in Popular Wine and Beer

U.S. scientists have found a chemical normally found in weed killer in store-bought samples of popular beer and wine.  Their analysis used a protocol developed with Agilent equipment.

Scientists with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group examined five wines and 15 beers, all popular brands bought in stores.  They found glyphosate in 19 of the 20 samples, including 3 out of 4 organic brands.  Glyphosate is the main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup.

The amounts detected were below tolerance levels indicated by the Environmental Protection Agency.  Nevertheless, in 2015 the World Health Organization found that glyphosate is a probable carcinogen.  (As a result of WHO’s announcement, California also listed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, Germany severely limited its use, and France banned it completely.)

Despite this, glyphosate remains legal in the U.S., and the use of Roundup on cultivated land is currently increasing at a rapid pace.

“Our findings suggest that glyphosate contamination is common in beers and wine sold in the U.S.,” the researchers write.  “Due to glyphosate’s many health risks and its ubiquitous nature in our food, water, and alcohol, the use of glyphosate in the U.S. should be banned unless and until it can be proven safe.”

UPDATE: While this study has received much attention in the media, a closer reading shows that it should be taken with a grain of salt.  The sponsoring organization is a non-scientific, non-impartial charity with an agenda to “protect consumers and promote good government.”

Thanks to Agilent’s Dave Steinberg for his insights.

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