The Green Party in Germany have warned members of the public about the health risks of breast-feeding, after traces of weed-killer were found in breast milk.
Glyphosate, one of the main ingredients found in weed-killer, was measured in 16 women with levels between .210 to .432 nanograms per milliliter recorded in the milk, which is much higher than the amount allowed in drinking water – a mere .1 nanogram.
Professor at the Institute of Toxicology, Irene Witte, said the values found in the breast milk were “intolerable“, adding “I did not assume this kind of higher residue ranges in breast milk, since glyphosate is highly water and not fat-soluble.”
Witte warned that no conclusions should be drawn from tests on 16 women, but added that this was a first indication that there is a problem. She called for the tests to be broadened to included a larger sample set of breast-feeding women.
The extent to which glyphosate is harmful to one’s health is still contested, but in March the World Health Organisation’s cancer research programme designated the substance as “likely carcinogenic.”
Witte said that if the chemical is proven to be carcinogenic then any exposure could be dangerous.
“There is not upper limit you can then put on the quantity. Every molecule could cause cancer.”
The chair of the Environmental Committee in the Bundestag (German parliament) Bärbel Höhn of the Green Party, called for government action.
“The government needs to take glyphosate out of circulation until the question of its links to cancer has been cleared up,” she said.