Residues of glyphosate have not only been discovered in rural areas

Medical research in Irish families has shown that one in four people had residue of the herbicide glyphosate in their bodies. The tests were performed on farming and non-farming households, but the results were similar for both test groups. 

Scientists at the University of Galway say the research shows glyphosate residue is everywhere, not just around farms where it is most commonly used. The researchers hope that their findings will contribute to the discussion within the EU about possible renewal of the license for glyphosate.

The Galway study involved 68 families, 14 of whom lived on farms where glyphosate was sprayed. There were 132 adults and 92 children. Tests showed that 26 percent of the group had glyphosate in their urine. This proportion was slightly higher in children. 

The amount of glyphosate in the urine of farming families was only marginally higher than that of non-farming families. The World Health Organization concluded in 2015 that the chemical was probably carcinogenic. This finding is not supported by European scientific bodies. Thousands of claims related to glyphosate use have been paid in the United States. 

Following a European citizens' initiative against the use of glyphosate in agriculture and the food industry last year, the AGRI Agriculture Committee and the ENVI Environment Committee of the European Parliament held a hearing in Brussels on Tuesday. The petitioners believe that synthetic pesticides should be phased out by 2035.

Commissioners Sinkevicius (Environment) and Timmernans (Climate) presented their response to that citizen's plea at that hearing. The Commission wants to strengthen bee habitats through more green geieden, also in towns and villages, and through less use of chemical agricultural products. There is as yet no agreement within the EU about such a possible ban

In addition, the European Commission must take a decision later this year on whether to extend the use of glyphosate in EU agriculture. Several EU countries are pushing for a ban.