13 May 2016
GREEN MEPs have today received test results confirming the presence of unsafe levels of the ‘probably carcinogenic’ weedkiller glyphosate in their urine.
Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide. However, glyphosate does more than just kill weeds. In fact, the World Health organisation confirmed last year that the substance is “probably carcinogenic” to humans.
Keith Taylor, MEP for the South East, Molly Scott Cato, MEP for the South West, and Jean Lambert, MEP for London, were among a group of 48 MEPs that took part in a symbolic urine test ahead of the European Parliament vote last month to oppose the EU Commission’s proposal to relicense the controversial toxic substance until 2031.
The inspiration behind what was labelled the #MEPee test was the results of a recent study in Germany which found that 99.6% of people tested were found to have glyphosate residue in their urine.
The results reveal that every MEP tested has been found to have glyphosate traces in their urine, with the average concentration being 1.73ng/ml. That level is more than 17 times the safe limit for drinking water. The lowest level found among the group was 0.17ng/ml, almost double the safe level.
Keith, Molly, and Jean have written to Liz Truss urging the UK government to respect the decision of the European Parliament when it is asked to vote on reapproval next week.
Keith Taylor, a member of the European Parliament’s Environment and Health Committee whose personal test results show a glyphosate contamination level of 0.4 ng/ml, said:
“I’m peed off. The urine test might seem like an attention-grabbing stunt, but it has proven our worst fears about glyphosate. It really is everywhere. I, and every one of my colleagues, have been found to be contaminated by the controversial substance, at levels far higher than those deemed safe for drinking water. We won't be the only ones.
"This is rather worrying considering the World Health Organisation has concluded, following a comprehensive review of the published scientific data, this toxic substance is “probably carcinogenic”. That's why I am calling on the European Commission to consider not only the widespread opposition to reapproving the weedkiller but also just how prevalent it is in our environment.”
Molly Scott Cato, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee whose personal test results show a glyphosate contamination level of 0.45 ng/ml, said:
"With ongoing controversy over the health risks of glyphosate, we can be quite sure it has no place in the human body. Further, we hold concerns for its impact on biodiversity, with evidence of glyphosate having detrimental impacts on the honey bee, monarch butterfly, skylark and earthworm populations, and posing a threat to the quality of our soil.
We also risk handing control of our food supply over to agribusiness. Corporate giant Monsanto produces both Roundup, the world’s leading glyphosate-based weed killer, and glyphosate-resistant GM crops. A marriage of convenience which enables corporate control of food production. With the UK government being cheerleaders for GM technology, the blocking of blanket reapproval of glyphosate is another example of why we are greener in the EU.”
Jean Lambert, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee whose personal test results show a glyphosate contamination level of 0.67 ng/ml, said:
“It is genuinely frightening that glyphosate is everywhere in our everyday lives. These test results show that no matter where we live, what we eat, or our age we cannot escape exposure to this toxic substance. With glyphosate widely used in cities, in urban parks and public spaces, on streets and pavements, the European Commission must bow to public pressure and put the safety of people and the environment ahead of the profits of chemical industry giants.”
Last month the European Parliament voted to oppose the re-approval of glyphosate for most uses and called on the Commission to invoke the ‘precautionary principle’. The EU Commission are due to take a final decision on the renewal of glyphosate at an upcoming standing committee on 18-19 May.