The survey, carried out on the 14 brands with the highest consumption of the Teutonic people, showed that all beers contained glyphosate residues, the most widely used herbicide in the world that during 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified as probably carcinogenic.
"The values obtained ranged between 0.46 and 29.74 micrograms per liter, almost 300 times above the legal limit for drinking water of 0.1 microgram per liter," said a statement from the institute.
Of this list of 14 brands, Hasseroeder, a beer made in Saxony-Anhalt, in the east of the country, contained the highest traces of glyphosate at 29.74 micrograms per liter, while Augustiner, made in Munich, had the least proportion with 0.46 micrograms liter.
In Argentina, there are at least three brands that can be obtained online: Oettinger Pils, which contained 3.86 micrograms per liter; Paulaner Weißbier, with 0.66 micrograms per liter, and Bitburger Pils, with 0.55 micrograms per liter.
Although it is estimated that glyphosate would have reached the beer through imported barley, the Munich Environmental Institute urged companies to investigate where in the production chain the herbicide was incorporated.
After knowing the report, the German Minister of Agriculture, Christian Schmidt, minimized the survey and assured the media that "to reach a sensible amount for health you would have to drink 1,000 liters of beer (a day). I have not seen anyone yet in Bavaria they drink 1,000 liters of beer. And if they drink them, death will come not because of pesticides, but for other reasons. "
Along the same lines, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BFR) assured that "the situation does not pose a danger to consumers and that even the highest amount found is so low that it would require the consumption rate cited by the minister" .
Faced with these assertions, the Munich Environmental Institute issued another statement in which they argued that the values referenced by the BFR and Schmidt do not take into account the recent classification of glyphosate as potentially carcinogenic: "For carcinogenic substances, there is no lower limit of which they are harmless ", they affirmed.
They continued: "From our perspective it is terrifying that the Federal Consumer Protection Agency is downplaying the dangers of glyphosate."
"Our goal is to commit companies to work together with us for the elimination of glyphosate in all products," the statement concluded.
In the same sense, the Argentine chemist Damián Marino, a member of Emisa (Multidisciplinary Space for Socio-Environmental Interaction of the Exact Sciences Faculty of the National University of La Plata), said that "there is an issue that is not taken into account, which is the chronic exposure, that is, what is the effect of small doses every day. "
And he continued: "Most of the regulations are based on lethal effects (mortality) of organisms, but in reality little is known about the sublethal effects, or in reality the sublethal effects are not taken for the regulation."
The scientist - who from Emisa heads a work team that has discovered glyphosate in fruits and vegetables as well as in cottons, feminine wipes and tampons - explained that "this criterion not only involves glyphosate but also almost all substances."
"On the other hand," he said, "that crude comparison they make is for the current values of glyphosate reference limits, which should be urgently revised, due to the recategorization that it has had last year."
Marino explained that "the regulatory levels for pesticides, established by the WHO and adopted by Argentina, are from 2005 and prepared based on studies from 1995 to 2000, that is, we are more than 15 years behind in all the new evidence that is has collected ".