Glyphosate found in urine poses no health risk in German study

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Glyphosate sales in Germany have increased substantially from … 2000 to … 2014. The interim peak of approx. 7600 t in 2008 might be interrelated with the abolishment of EU set-aside requirements announced in 2007 (BBC News, 2007 and European Commission, 2008). … The possible reduction in exposure since 2013 indicated by [German Environmental Specimen Bank; ESB] data may be due to changes in application of glyphosate in agriculture: Austria, for example, banned the pre-harvest use of glyphosate in 2013 (GTF, 2014). Also in Germany, intended glyphosate uses as pre-harvest treatment have been restricted (e.g. to partial applications instead of whole field treatments) from 2014 onwards.

Glyphosate and [aminomethylphosphonic acid; AMPA the main metabolite of glyphosate] concentrations were generally higher in samples from male ESB participants compared to samples from female participants. … there is no satisfactory explanation for the differing urinary glyphosate and AMPA levels in males and females. The differences in urinary glyphosate might be due to differences in exposure patterns between males and females or to sex-related differences in physiological determinants of glyphosate and AMPA in urine.

The quite low – yet significant – correlation between BMI and glyphosate deserves attention when further investigating glyphosate exposure via food consumption.

3.4. Health-relevance of observed internal exposure

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The acceptable daily intake (ADI) for glyphosate derived by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is 0.5 mg/kg/d (EFSA, 2015). Assuming a bodyweight of 60 kg, an oral absorption of 20% with fast elimination via urine, and a daily urine excretion of 1500 to 2000 mL, the concentration in 24 h-urine associated with this ADI results in 3000 to 4000 μg/L. This concentration is higher than the maximum concentration observed in this study (2.8 μg/L) by a factor of 1000. Considering EFSA’s risk assessment, no glyphosate concentration measured in ESB samples is problematic for human health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), however, classified glyphosate in Group 2A (“probably carcinogenic to humans”) (IARC, 2016). Taking this assessment into account, especially the increasing trend in internal glyphosate exposure documented by ESB samples deserves attention with regard to human health.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Glyphosate in German adults – Time trend (2001 to 2015) of human exposure to a widely used herbicide

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