Glyphosate, known better as Roundup and sold under several other brand names as well, a product of Monsanto, has been around since 1974.  It is a potent and popular herbicide, registered for use in 130 countries. The world consumes more than 720,000 metric tons annually, so there is plenty to get into water. Glyphosate was detected in 36% of stream samples from 9 Midwestern US states as far back as 2002.

Although Roundup has always been viewed with suspicion, there had been little evidence that it poses a cancer risk to humans. Recent studies, however,  have shown mixed results. Currently, the EPA sets its MCL at 700 parts per billion. The World Health Organization has for years insisted that regulatory guidelines are not necessary because Glyphosate poses  low risk in drinking water.

Despite such assurances, most prefer not drinking Roundup.  There are many options for getting rid of it. These include chlorination, ozonation, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, and filtration with granular activated carbon.

Reference: Water Technology magazine, July, 2016.

Gazette Afternote:  In August of 2018, a California jury found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company’s glyphosate-based weedkillers, including Roundup, caused his cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages.This case has certainly cast doubts on the “low risk” assessment.  As early as 2015, the World Health Organization’s cancer arm classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” 

Gazette Afternote 2: In June 2020, Roundup maker Bayer AB announced a blockbuster $10 billion dollar settlement to resolve cancer lawsuits connected to its weedkiller Roundup. This after Bayer faced tens of thousands of claims linking the active ingredient in RoundUp– glyphosate– to increased risk of developing Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The lesson here, of course, is that experts, including the World Health Organization, don’t always get it right. It is always best to err on the side of caution. Having a good drinking water system in the home serves as protection against mistakes by the experts.