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Cancer pesticide found in popular beers

Fourteen well-known beers have been found to contain traces of a pesticide thought to be carcinogenic, a new study has revealed.

(Photo: Flickr)

Levels of glyphosate – a weedkiller that is believed to be carcinogenic – were found by scientists in fourteen of Germany’s most popular beers, including global brand Beck’s Pils and Erdinger.

The study, conducted by the Environmental Institute in Munich, found as much as 30 micrograms of the pesticide in a litre of Hasseröder beer.

The permitted limit of glyphosate in drinking water in Germany is 0.1 micrograms per litre, according to German newspaper Der Spiegel.

Beck’s Pils was found to have 5 microgams of the pesticide per litre. Paulaner Weissbier and Erdinger Weissbier had 0.66 and 2.92 micrograms respectively.

The World Health Organisation named glyphosate as a probable cause of cancer last year.

However, the German Brewer’s Association deemed the study “not credible” and the amounts found in the beers were not a risk to public health.

“An adult would have to drink around 1,000 litre of beer a day to ingest enough quantities to be harmful to health,” the trade body told Russia Today.

The European Food Standards Authority also disagrees with the WTO assessment of the risk posed by glyphosate.

It published research in November last year that declared the substance was “unlikely to be carcinogenic”.


UPDATE: 13.38: An earlier version of this story confused micrograms with milligrams. This has now been amended. 

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