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Oh, cool: Your beer might have a cancer-causing weed-killer in it

A fine pilsner beer... with a little something extra in it.

A fine pilsner beer... with a little something extra in it. Brennan Linsley, Associated Press

Say what you will about the shitty homebrew your cousin keeps making you drink: At least it (probably) doesn't contain carcinogenic weed killer.

Can't say the same for a lot of the big brands out there, according to a recent report by U.S. PIRG. The consumer advocacy group tested 20 types of beer and wine to see if they were contaminated with glyphosate -- the main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup. Nineteen of the 20 were. 

Sutter Home wine was the worst offender, with 51 parts per billion (ppb) of the chemical, but Coors and Miller Lite were pretty bad too, with levels above 25 ppb. Budweiser, Coronoa, Heineken, Guinness, Stella Artois, and Samuel Adams also contained trace amounts.

USA Today reached out to a bunch of the companies included in the study, many of whom pushed back against its findings. Frey Organic Natural wines, for example, were found to have 4.8 ppb of glyphosate -- but they say they've never used herbicides to farm. "Glyphosate in trace amounts is now found in rainwater because of its application to conventionally farmed agricultural land ... We urge consumers to speak up to ban all use of glyphosate," the company said. 

According to PIRG, that's exactly the problem: The chemical exists in just about all adult beverages. In 2016, beer testing in Germany found glyphosate residues in every single sample tested -- and yes, that includes independent beers. (CP HQ is, unfortunately, not outfitted with the lab equipment to test local brews for glyphosate.)

Now, there's also no need to rush to the E.R. if you were crushing Coronas last night. "An adult would have to drink more than 140 glasses of wine a day containing the highest glyphosate level measured just to reach the level that California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has identified as 'No Significant Risk Level," a Wine Institute spokesperson wrote to USA TODAY.

...Challenge accepted?

But it's not great, either: U.S. PIRG notes that "In 2018, a jury in California found that Roundup was a major cause of a man’s cancer, and awarded him $78 million in damages." Thousands more -- including lots of farmers -- have alleged that the weed killer is responsible for their incurable cancers, and several European Union countries are considering a Roundup ban, something France passed earlier this year. 

And if you can't trust the French about the best way to get all sloppily wine-drunk, who can you trust?