A 2015 EWG analysis mapped the year-to-year growth in glyphosate use on American farmland from 1992 to 2012. According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2014, approximately 240 million pounds of glyphosate were sprayed in the U.S. As a result of widespread spraying, glyphosate has now been found to contaminate air, water and soil across vast expanses of the U.S., and also shows up in the food Americans eat every day.
Biomonitoring studies in different states, especially in the Midwest, found glyphosate in the bodies of children and pregnant women. According to initial data from an ongoing study in Indiana, women who were more heavily exposed to glyphosate during pregnancy were more likely to give birth to premature babies that weighed less than average.
It's unknown how much glyphosate is in Americans' bodies, because federal agencies responsible for pesticide safety have neither tested nor mandated testing for glyphosate in food, drinking water or bodily fluids. Glyphosate has not been included in government-sponsored pesticide residue programs. In 2014, the Government Accountability Office called for glyphosate to be added to the list of pesticides tested on foods annually, and urged the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration to strengthen pesticide monitoring overall. The FDA began testing a limited number of foods for glyphosate last year. The program was scuttled after only a few months, but reportedly has resumed.
The EPA’s 2012 assessment of glyphosate estimated that American adults could be ingesting more than 5 milligrams of glyphosate every day – five times more than California's proposed limit and 500 times more than EWG recommends. Because data on glyphosate levels on food are very limited, the EPA assessment could be a significant underestimate of real-life exposures.
Biomonitoring studies of adults and children in agricultural and non-agricultural areas consistently find glyphosate in urine, indicating that glyphosate from food is absorbed into the body. Farmers and rural families are exposed to greater amounts of glyphosate compared to people in other parts of the nation. A 2007 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that both parents and children in farm families had two to three times more glyphosate in their bodies compared to those in non-farming families.