Majority of beer contains pesticides, new study shows

Most beer contains traces of glyphosate and pesticides, a new test by consumer magazine 60 Millions de Consommateurs has suggested.

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The magazine tested 45 different beers - 39 blondes and six whites - and found that 34 of them contained traces of pesticides, including the controversial herbicide glyphosate.

In total, 248 residue traces were discovered across the 45 specimen beers, including three pesticides (boscalide, phthalimide and folpet) and glyphosate.

Only 11 of the tested beers did not show any pesticide residue. Of the 22 blonde beers to reveal traces of glyphosate, the average found was 1.93 micrograms (mcg) per litre.

Brand-wise, Affligem Blonde contained 9.32mcg/l of glyphosate, while the Hoegaarden beer revealed traces of three pesticides in total.

More positively, beers from brewery giants Heineken, Carlsberg and 33 Export did not show any traces.

The maximum amount of glyphosate legally permitted to be present in water is just 0.1mcg/l, but beer is generally not consumed in the same quantities.

In fact, the magazine calculated that consumers would need to drink 2,000 litres of Affligem beer per day for pesticide levels to build up to dangerous quantities.

But while the magazine admitted that the beers are “far from constituting dangerous exposure [to the chemicals]”, they said that the results of the study instead show “the omnipresence of pesticides in our environment”.

The issue becomes more apparent when considered in context with other environmental risks, it added.

Many other products in our daily lives are thought to contain pesticide and other chemical traces, which all add up.

Indeed - last year, environmental association Générations Futures analysed 30 consumer products in general circulation, and found that 16 of them contained traces of pesticides, including cereals and grains, lentils, pasta, and chickpeas.

Glyphosate in particular has been under intense scrutiny in recent years, with President Emmanuel Macron calling for its use to be banned.

Yet, the debate rumbles on, as many French MPs dispute the need for an outright ban, overturning Mr Macron’s calls in a recent vote.

Pesticide traces have long been controversial, with strong links often drawn between their presence in our environment and endocrine issues and other significant health problems.

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