Your grocery bill is about to go up. Findings from a 23-year study at the University of California, San Diego, have shown that Californians may have high levels of glyphosate, the active chemical in the herbicide Roundup. In the 1990s, only 12 of the 100 people researchers followed had detectable levels of the weed killer, which is sprayed on nonorganic wheat, oats, barley, and soybeans. Now, 70 of them have glyphosate, and their overall levels jumped 1,200 percent.
The herbicide’s long-term effects are unclear, but California classifies it as a “known carcinogen,” and animal studies suggest it causes liver damage. Unlike the hoops pharmaceutical companies go through to get drugs on the market, “with herbicides, the industry can say, ‘We ran a few studies and everything’s fine,’ ” explains study author Paul Mills. He recommends eating organic as much as possible, including packaged foods that contain grains.