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Glyphosate and AMPA in drinking water - Determination using ion chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection

Metrohm International


In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a report which stated that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans". Ever since, the use of this chemical has been highly controversial. In some countries, including the USA, there are already limit values in effect for the weed killer.

Carcinogenic or not?

The broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate is used all over the world in agriculture. Alongside farming, the chemical is also used for weed-killing in domestic gardens and in public and private spaces kept free from "vegetal invasion", such as railway tracks. Glyphosate has been used since the 1970s in pesticides and was hitherto thought to be harmless at typical levels of exposure. However, since the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) - the specialized cancer-research agency of the WHO - found that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2A) in a report published in March 2015, the chemical repeatedly made headlines.

Experts were then divided over whether glyphosate should be re-approved after the expiry of its EU market approval on June 30, 2016. This is because the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) only recently arrived at the opposed conclusion that it is unlikely that glyphosate is genotoxic or poses a carcinogenic threat. The approval of glyphosate was initially extended by 18 months, but at the end of 2017, the question of whether glyphosate should remain in use in the EU will resurface.

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