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Results of Glyphosate Pee Test Are in 'And It's Not Good News'

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Results of Glyphosate Pee Test Are in 'And It's Not Good News'

Last month, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) volunteered to take a urine test to see if glyphosate—the cancer-linked weedkiller—is in their system. Forty-eight MEPs from 13 different European Union countries participated in the test, and now the results are in.

According to ELISA test results from the accredited Biocheck Laboratory in Germany: "All participants excreted glyphosate by urine."

The experiment was spearheaded by the Green Party in the European Parliament, which wants a ban on the controversial herbicide in the European Union.

The group noted in a press release of their so-called "#MEPee" test:

On average, the MEPs had 1.7 micrograms/liter of glyphosate in their urine, 17 times higher than the European drinking water norm (0.1 microgram/litre). This means that everyone we tested was way above the limit for residues of pesticides in drinking water.

Of the 48 participants, EU-parliament members from Belgium, France and Germany made up more than 80 percent of the whole investigated participants. The test showed that EU-parliament members from Lithuania, Spain and Croatia had the highest concentrations of glyphosate. The lowest concentrations were in the urines of participants of from Italy, Finland and Ireland.

"Nevertheless all investigated EU-parliament members were glyphosate contaminated. This will show glyphosate is also in the food chain of members of the EU-parliament," the report states.

Glyphosate, which the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared a possible carcinogen last March, is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s widely used weedkiller, Roundup. It is also found in herbicides manufactured by Syngenta and Dow.

The Greens conducted the test ahead of European Parliament's April 13 resolution that opposed the European Union's relicensing of glyphosate.

Despite fierce opposition from European Parliament, countries such as France, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands, and the 1.4 million people who have signed a petition calling on an EU ban, the European Commission—the executive body of the European Union—reportedly plans to relicense glyphosate for nine years.

According to the Green Party, the European Commission's latest proposal, which will be voted on May 19, will "plough ahead with a full-fledged approval of glyphosate's license for nine years."

"It considers only symbolically if at all the European Parliament's resolution calling for a very limited scope of approval. Responsibility for the protection of operators and for multiple risks is discharged onto Member States in a non-legally binding manner," the party said. "We are pissed off that our governments want to allow this poison for another nine years! No politician should have this in his or her body, and not a single citizen either!"

Glyphosate approval in the EU expires at the end of June. The chemical has been the subject of incredible controversy in Europe especially after the European Food Safety Authority famously rejected the IARC's classification of glyphosate as a possible carcinogen in November.

Agri-business giant Monsanto has also vehemently denied glyphosate's health and cancer risks and demanded a retraction of the IARC report.

The Green Party's MEPee test was inspired by a German study “Urinale 2015,” which sampled glyphosate concentrations in urine from more than 2,000 participants.

"The study found that the scale of the glyphosate problem is enormous, with detected concentrations in urine between five and 42 times over the maximum value of residues for drinking water in Europe," the Green Party pointed out. "No less than 99.6 percent of all citizens who took part in this survey had higher residue levels. This means that virtually all citizens are contaminated with glyphosate."

A number of other studies have detected glyphosate—the “most widely applied pesticide worldwide”—in feminine hygiene products, everyday food items and, yes, human bodies. A 2013 Friends of the Earth Europe study reported people in 18 European countries have traces of glyphosate in their urine.

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An illustration depicts the extinct woolly rhino. Heinrich Harder / Wikimedia Commons

The last Ice Age eliminated some giant mammals, like the woolly rhino. Conventional thinking initially attributed their extinction to hunting. While overhunting may have contributed, a new study pinpointed a different reason for the woolly rhinos' extinction: climate change.

The last of the woolly rhinos went extinct in Siberia nearly 14,000 years ago, just when the Earth's climate began changing from its frozen conditions to something warmer, wetter and less favorable to the large land mammal. DNA tests conducted by scientists on 14 well-preserved rhinos point to rapid warming as the culprit, CNN reported.

"Humans are well known to alter their environment and so the assumption is that if it was a large animal it would have been useful to people as food and that must have caused its demise," says Edana Lord, a graduate student at the Center for Paleogenetics in Stockholm, Sweden, and co-first author of the paper, Smithsonian Magazine reported. "But our findings highlight the role of rapid climate change in the woolly rhino's extinction."

The study, published in Current Biology, notes that the rhino population stayed fairly consistent for tens of thousands of years until 18,500 years ago. That means that people and rhinos lived together in Northern Siberia for roughly 13,000 years before rhinos went extinct, Science News reported.

The findings are an ominous harbinger for large species during the current climate crisis. As EcoWatch reported, nearly 1,000 species are expected to go extinct within the next 100 years due to their inability to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. Tigers, eagles and rhinos are especially vulnerable.

The difference between now and the phenomenon 14,000 years ago is that human activity is directly responsible for the current climate crisis.

To figure out the cause of the woolly rhinos' extinction, scientists examined DNA from different rhinos across Siberia. The tissue, bone and hair samples allowed them to deduce the population size and diversity for tens of thousands of years prior to extinction, CNN reported.

Researchers spent years exploring the Siberian permafrost to find enough samples. Then they had to look for pristine genetic material, Smithsonian Magazine reported.

It turns out the wooly rhinos actually thrived as they lived alongside humans.

"It was initially thought that humans appeared in northeastern Siberia fourteen or fifteen thousand years ago, around when the woolly rhinoceros went extinct. But recently, there have been several discoveries of much older human occupation sites, the most famous of which is around thirty thousand years old," senior author Love Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Center for Paleogenetics, said in a press release.

"This paper shows that woolly rhino coexisted with people for millennia without any significant impact on their population," Grant Zazula, a paleontologist for Canada's Yukon territory and Simon Fraser University who was not involved in the research, told Smithsonian Magazine. "Then all of a sudden the climate changed and they went extinct."

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For example, she says that locally owned businesses can lead the local clean energy economy and create new jobs in underserved communities.

"We really need to think about … connecting climate and energy with other issues that people wake up every day really worried about," she says, "whether it be jobs, housing, transportation, health and well-being."

To maximize that potential, she says the energy sector must have more women and people of color in positions of influence. Research shows that leadership in the solar industry, for example, is currently dominated by white men.

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Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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