Acquavella et al., 2004

Acquavella JF, Alexander BH, Mandel JS, Gustin C, Baker B, Chapman P, Bleeke M, “Glyphosate biomonitoring for farmers and their families: results from the Farm Family Exposure Study.” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2004, 112:3.

ABSTRACT: Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup agricultural herbicides and other herbicide formulations that are widely used for agricultural, forestry, and residential weed control. As part of the Farm Family Exposure Study, we evaluated urinary glyphosate concentrations for 48 farmers, their spouses, and their 79 children (4-18 years of age). We evaluated 24-hr composite urine samples for each family member the day before, the day of, and for 3 days after a glyphosate application. Sixty percent of farmers had detectable levels of glyphosate in their urine on the day of application. The geometric mean (GM) concentration was 3 ppb, the maximum value was 233 ppb, and the highest estimated systemic dose was 0.004 mg/kg. Farmers who did not use rubber gloves had higher GM urinary concentrations than did other farmers (10 ppb vs. 2.0 ppb). For spouses, 4% had detectable levels in their urine on the day of application. Their maximum value was 3 ppb. For children, 12% had detectable glyphosate in their urine on the day of application, with a maximum concentration of 29 ppb. All but one of the children with detectable concentrations had helped with the application or were present during herbicide mixing, loading, or application. None of the systemic doses estimated in this study approached the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reference dose for glyphosate of 2 mg/kg/day. Nonetheless, it is advisable to minimize exposure to pesticides, and this study did identify specific practices that could be modified to reduce the potential for exposure.  FULL TEXT

Adams et al., 2016

Adams, A, Friesen, M, Olson, A, Gerona, R. “Biomonitoring of glyphosate across the United States in urine and tap water using high-fidelity LC-MS/MS method,” 2016. Poster presentation, access at:

Benbrook, 2016c

John Peterson Myers, Michael N. Antoniou, Bruce Blumberg, Lynn Carroll, Theo Colborn, Lorne G. Everett, Michael Hansen, Philip J. Landrigan, Bruce P. Lanphear, Robin Mesnage, Laura N. Vandenberg, Frederick S. vom Saal, Wade V. Welshons and Charles M. Benbrook. “Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement,” Environmental Health, 2016, 15:19, DOI: 10.1186/s12940-016-0117-0.


The broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate (common trade name “Roundup”) was first sold to farmers in 1974. Since the late 1970s, the volume of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) applied has increased approximately 100-fold. Further increases in the volume applied are likely due to more and higher rates of application in response to the widespread emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds and new, pre-harvest, dessicant use patterns. GBHs were developed to replace or reduce reliance on herbicides causing well-documented problems associated with drift and crop damage, slipping efficacy, and human health risks. Initial industry toxicity testing suggested that GBHs posed relatively low risks to non-target species, including mammals, leading regulatory authorities worldwide to set high acceptable exposure limits. To accommodate changes in GBH use patterns associated with genetically engineered, herbicide-tolerant crops, regulators have dramatically increased tolerance levels in maize, oilseed (soybeans and canola), and alfalfa crops and related livestock feeds. Animal and epidemiology studies published in the last decade, however, point to the need for a fresh look at glyphosate toxicity. Furthermore, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” In response to changing GBH use patterns and advances in scientific understanding of their potential hazards, we have produced a Statement of Concern drawing on emerging science relevant to the safety of GBHs. Our Statement of Concern considers current published literature describing GBH uses, mechanisms of action, toxicity in laboratory animals, and epidemiological studies. It also examines the derivation of current human safety standards. We conclude that: (1) GBHs are the most heavily applied herbicide in the world and usage continues to rise; (2) Worldwide, GBHs often contaminate drinking water sources, precipitation, and air, especially in agricultural regions; (3) The half-life of glyphosate in water and soil is longer than previously recognized; (4) Glyphosate and its metabolites are widely present in the global soybean supply; (5) Human exposures to GBHs are rising; (6) Glyphosate is now authoritatively classified as a probable human carcinogen; (7) Regulatory estimates of tolerable daily intakes for glyphosate in the United States and European Union are based on outdated science. We offer a series of recommendations related to the need for new investments in epidemiological studies, biomonitoring, and toxicology studies that draw on the principles of endocrinology to determine whether the effects of GBHs are due to endocrine disrupting activities. We suggest that common commercial formulations of GBHs should be prioritized for inclusion in government-led toxicology testing programs such as the U.S. National Toxicology Program, as well as for biomonitoring as conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  FULL TEXT

Bouchard et al., 2011

Bouchard MF, Chevrier J, Harley KG, Kogut K, Vedar M, Calderon N, Trujillo C, Johnson C, Bradman A, Barr DB, Eskenazi B., “Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and IQ in 7-year-old children.,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011, 119:8, DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1003185.

CONTEXT: Organophosphate (OP) pesticides are neurotoxic at high doses. Few studies have examined whether chronic exposure at lower levels could adversely affect children’s cognitive development.

OBJECTIVE: We examined associations between prenatal and postnatal exposure to OP pesticides and cognitive abilities in school-age children.

METHODS: We conducted a birth cohort study (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas study) among predominantly Latino farmworker families from an agricultural community in California. We assessed exposure to OP pesticides by measuring dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites in urine collected during pregnancy and from children at 6 months and 1, 2, 3.5, and 5 years of age. We administered the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition, to 329 children 7 years of age. Analyses were adjusted for maternal education and intelligence, Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment score, and language of cognitive assessment.

RESULTS: Urinary DAP concentrations measured during the first and second half of pregnancy had similar relations to cognitive scores, so we used the average of concentrations measured during pregnancy in further analyses. Averaged maternal DAP concentrations were associated with poorer scores for Working Memory, Processing Speed, Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, and Full-Scale intelligence quotient (IQ). Children in the highest quintile of maternal DAP concentrations had an average deficit of 7.0 IQ points compared with those in the lowest quintile. However, children’s urinary DAP concentrations were not consistently associated with cognitive scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Prenatal but not postnatal urinary DAP concentrations were associated with poorer intellectual development in 7-year-old children. Maternal urinary DAP concentrations in the present study were higher but nonetheless within the range of levels measured in the general U.S. population. FULL TEXT

Brändli et al., 2012

Dirk Brändli and Sandra Reinacher, “Herbicides found in Human Urine,” Ithaka Journal, 1/2012, 2012


Glyphosate is the main active substance used in most commercial herbicides. It poisons not only plants, but also animals and humans. When testing for glyphosate contamination in an urban population, a German university found significant contamination in all urine samples with levels 5 to 20 times above the legal limit for drinking water.  Glyphosate background info, health risks, and reasons for contamination are discussed.  FULL TEXT

Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2017

Canadian Food Inspection Agency, “Safeguarding with Science: Glyphosate Testing in 2015-2016,” 2017, CFIA Science Branch Survey Report.


In 2015-2016, the CFIA tested a total of 3,188 food samples for glyphosate. Glyphosate was found in 29.7% of samples. Glyphosate residues above MRLs were found in only 1.3% of samples. This data was evaluated by Health Canada and no human health concerns were identified.  FULL TEXT

CDC, 2013

Centers for Disease Control, “Fourth national report on human exposure to environmental chemicals: Updated tables, September 2012,” 2013, U.S. Dept. Health Human Services, available at:

CDC, 2015

Centers for Disease Control, “Fourth national report on human exposure to environmental chemicals: Updated tables, February 2015,” 2015, U.S. Dept. Health Human Services, available at:

Chevrier et al., 2011

Cecile Chevrier, Gwendolina Limon, Christine Monfort, Florence Rouget, Ronan Garlantezec, et al., “Urinary biomarkers of prenatal atrazine exposure and adverse birth outcomes in the PELAGIE birth cohort,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011, 119:7, DOI: 10.1289/EHP.100277.


BACKGROUND:  Despite evidence of atrazine toxicity in developing organisms from experimental studies, few studies—and fewer epidemiologic investigations—have examined the potential effects of prenatal exposure.

OBJECTIVES: We assessed the association between adverse birth outcomes and urinary biomarkers of prenatal atrazine exposure, while taking into account exposures to other herbicides used on corn crops (simazine, alachlor, metolachlor, and acetochlor).

METHODS: This study used a case-cohort design nested in a prospective birth cohort conducted in the Brittany region of France from 2002 through 2006. We collected maternal urine samples to examine pesticide exposure biomarkers before the 19th week of gestation.

RESULTS: We found quantifiable levels of atrazine or atrazine mercapturate in urine samples from 5.5% of 579 pregnant women, and dealkylated and identified hydroxylated triazine metabolites in 20% and 40% of samples, respectively. The presence versus absence of quantifiable levels of atrazine or a specific atrazine metabolite was associated with fetal growth restriction [odds ratio (OR) = 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0–2.2] and small head circumference for sex and gestational age (OR = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0–2.7). Associations with major congenital anomalies were not evident with atrazine or its specific metabolites. Head circumference was inversely associated with the presence of quantifiable urinary metolachlor.

CONCLUSIONS: This study is the first to assess associations of birth outcomes with multiple urinary biomarkers of exposure to triazine and chloroacetanilide herbicides. Evidence of associations with adverse birth outcomes raises particular concerns for countries where atrazine is still in use.  FULL TEXT

Cocker et al., 2011

J. Cocker, H. J. Mason, N. D. Warren and R. J. Cotton, “Creatinine adjustment of biological monitoring results,” Occupational Medicine, 2011, 61, DOI: 10.1093/occmed/kqr084.


BACKGROUND: Biological monitoring (BM) aids exposure assessment but where this is based on incomplete collections of single urine voiding measurement of creatinine is often used to adjust analyte concentrations for the effects of fluid balance.

AIMS: To provide reference data on creatinine concentrations in urine samples from a population of UK workers.

METHODS: Urine samples sent to the Health and Safety Laboratory were analysed for creatinine by an automated kinetic Jaffe technique using alkaline picric acid and the results stored in a database. Statistical analysis of the data used linear mixed effects models on the natural log-transformed data.

RESULTS:  Between 1996 and 2007, the laboratory analysed 49 506 urine samples from 20 433 UK adult workers. In the 42 817 samples where gender was known, 93% were from men and 7% were from women. The overall mean and median creatinine concentrations were both 12 mmol/l corresponding to 1.36 g/l. The mean (13 mmol/l) and median (12 mmol/l) creatinine concentrations for men were higher than those (9 and 10 mmol/l, respectively) for women.

CONCLUSIONS: Gender differences in creatinine concentrations and the range of 0.3–3.0 g/l (2.653 and 26.53 mmol/l)  traditionally used for confirming acceptability of urine samples mean that 2.5% of samples from male and 9% from female workers were flagged as ‘low creatinine’ and required a repeat sample. In addition, care should be taken interpreting any apparent gender differences in BM results to ensure that they are due to exposure and not an artefact of creatinine adjustment.  FULL TEXT