Is There Glyphosate in Your Coffee?

Is There Glyphosate in Your Coffee?

Glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, has been unequivocally identified as a significant threat to both human health and the environment. Despite its widespread application in agriculture, emerging evidence and expert opinions have confirmed the dangers it poses, necessitating urgent action to mitigate its impact.

(Coffee grown with glyphosate is very common and is of extreme concern to the consumer and the planet. This is why I sourced organic coffee for Cardiology Coffee. See our glyphosate test results at the end of this article.)

In East Africa, glyphosate is commonly used on coffee farms. The use of this herbicide has sparked significant concern due to the potential health risks associated with glyphosate residues in coffee beans. In Brazil, the coffee industry is also deeply intertwined with glyphosate use. The European Union's regulation to limit the maximum residue levels (MRLs) of glyphosate in imported coffee could impact Brazilian coffee exports. The Brazilian Coffee Exporters Council (Cecafé) has been lobbying to influence EU policy, aiming to ensure that glyphosate use does not disrupt trade flows.

Despite these efforts, the environmental and health concerns associated with glyphosate remain prominent. Glyphosate's classification as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has intensified the debate over its safety. Additionally, its impact on biodiversity and the emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds further complicate its use in agriculture.

Given these issues, several countries are moving towards stricter regulations or outright bans on glyphosate. France, for instance, has announced plans to eliminate glyphosate use. Other countries are also considering similar measures, reflecting a growing global trend towards more stringent control of this controversial herbicide.

Health Risks of Glyphosate

There is a clear consensus among health experts that glyphosate is harmful to humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization (WHO), classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2A) in 2015. This classification is based on substantial evidence linking glyphosate exposure to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a serious cancer of the lymphatic system.

Beyond its carcinogenic potential, glyphosate is also recognized for its role as an endocrine disruptor. It interferes with hormone systems, leading to reproductive issues, developmental disorders, and other health problems. Studies have indicated that glyphosate exposure can cause liver and kidney damage, further underscoring its harmful effects on human health.

A 2024 review article on glyphosate highlights the dangers. 

Environmental Risks of Glyphosate

The environmental impact of glyphosate is equally alarming. As a broad-spectrum herbicide, glyphosate indiscriminately kills plants, reducing biodiversity. This loss of plant diversity disrupts ecosystems, affecting insects, birds, and other wildlife that depend on these plants for food and habitat.

Glyphosate contamination extends to soil and water, where its residues can persist for extended periods. This contamination not only threatens aquatic life but also risks entering the human food chain. The environmental persistence of glyphosate raises concerns about its long-term ecological impacts, making it clear that its use is unsustainable.

Furthermore, the widespread use of glyphosate has led to the emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds, often referred to as "superweeds." These resistant species necessitate the use of even more potent chemicals, creating a dangerous cycle of escalating chemical dependence in agriculture.

Governmental Regulation

The need for stringent regulation of glyphosate is undeniable. While some regulatory bodies have been slow to act, the evidence demands urgent and decisive measures. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that glyphosate is safe when used according to label instructions, a stance that has faced significant criticism and legal challenges, especially from individuals suffering from cancer linked to glyphosate exposure.

In contrast, the European Union has taken a more precautionary approach. Following intense public pressure and scientific review, the EU renewed glyphosate's approval for only five years in 2017, rather than the usual 15 years. Some member states, such as France and Germany, have committed to phasing out its use entirely in the near future.

Several countries have gone even further, imposing outright bans on glyphosate. Sri Lanka became the first nation to ban glyphosate nationwide in 2015, citing concerns over kidney disease among agricultural workers. Vietnam followed in 2019, banning the import of glyphosate-based herbicides to protect public health and the environment.

In Canada, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) re-evaluated glyphosate in 2017, concluding that it does not pose unacceptable risks when used according to label directions. However, ongoing monitoring and new research may prompt a reassessment, as the evidence against glyphosate continues to mount.

Increasing public awareness of glyphosate use is essential, thus asking people to purchase only ORGANIC products that do not contain glyphosate. 

So I am asking you, begging with you, pleading with you…only consume organic products. 

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