Female Reproductive Impacts

Antoniou et al., 2012

M Antoniou, MEM Habib,  CV Howard, RC Jennings, C Leifert, RO Nodari, CJ Robinson and J Fagan, “Teratogenic Effects of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides: Divergence of Regulatory Decisions from Scientific Evidence,” Environmental and Analytical Toxicology, S:4, 2012, DOI: 10.4172/2161-0525.S4-006.

ABSTRACT:

The publication of a study in 2010, showing that a glyphosate herbicide formulation and glyphosate alone caused malformations in the embryos of Xenopus laevis and chickens through disruption of the retinoic acid signalling pathway, caused scientific and regulatory controversy. Debate centred on the effects of the production and consumption of genetically modified Roundup Ready® soy, which is engineered to tolerate applications of glyphosate herbicide. The study, along with others indicating teratogenic and reproductive effects from glyphosate herbicide exposure, was rebutted by the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, BVL, as well as in industry-sponsored papers. These rebuttals relied partly on unpublished industry-sponsored studies commissioned for regulatory purposes, which, it was claimed, showed that glyphosate is not a teratogen or reproductive toxin.

However, examination of the German authorities’ draft assessment report on the industry studies, which underlies glyphosate’s EU authorisation, revealed further evidence of glyphosate’s teratogenicity. Many of the malformations found were of the type defined in the scientific literature as associated with retinoic acid teratogenesis. Nevertheless, the German and EU authorities minimized these findings in their assessment and set a potentially unsafe acceptable daily intake (ADI) level for glyphosate. This paper reviews the evidence on the teratogenicity and reproductive toxicity of glyphosate herbicides and concludes that a new and transparent risk assessment needs to be conducted. The new risk assessment must take into account all the data on the toxicity of glyphosate and its commercial formulations, including data generated by independent scientists and published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, as well as the industry-sponsored studies.  FULL TEXT

Arbuckle et al., 1999

Arbuckle TE, Savitz DA, Mery LS, Curtis KM, “Exposure to phenoxy herbicides and the risk of spontaneous abortion,” Epidemiology, 1999, 10:6.

ABSTRACT:  The Ontario Farm Family Health Study was designed to assess retrospectively the potential adverse effects of exposure to pesticides on pregnancy. Information on the health and life style of approximately 2,000 farm couples, as well as a history of use of pesticides on the farm, was collected by questionnaire. This analysis focuses on pre- and postconception exposure to phenoxy herbicides and the risk of spontaneous abortion using the complete (to date) pregnancy history for each woman. Preconception exposure (from 3 months before conception to the month of conception) was weakly associated with the risk of spontaneous abortion at <20 weeks’ gestation [adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.1; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.6-1.9]. When the analyses were restricted to spontaneous abortions of <12 weeks, the risk was more than doubled (adjusted OR = 2.5; 95% CI = 1.0-6.4), but the results were sensitive to the cutpoint used. If the husband did not normally wear protective equipment during application, the crude OR for early spontaneous abortions was 5.0 (95% CI = 0.7-36.2). Exposure to phenoxy herbicides during the first trimester was generally not associated with increased risk of spontaneous abortion. The results suggest a possible role of preconception (possibly paternal) exposures to phenoxy herbicides in the risk of early spontaneous abortions.

Arbuckle et al., 2001

Arbuckle TE, Lin Z, Mery LS., “An exploratory analysis of the effect of pesticide exposure on the risk of spontaneous abortion in an Ontario farm population,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2001, 109: 8.

ABSTRACT: The toxicity of pesticides on human reproduction is largely unknown–particularly how mixtures of pesticide products might affect fetal toxicity. The Ontario Farm Family Health Study collected data by questionnaire on the identity and timing of pesticide use on the farm, lifestyle factors, and a complete reproductive history from the farm operator and eligible couples living on the farm. A total of 2,110 women provided information on 3,936 pregnancies, including 395 spontaneous abortions. To explore critical windows of exposure and target sites for toxicity, we examined exposures separately for preconception (3 months before and up to month of conception) and postconception (first trimester) windows and for early (< 12 weeks) and late (12-19 weeks) spontaneous abortions. We observed moderate increases in risk of early abortions for preconception exposures to phenoxy acetic acid herbicides [odds ratio (OR) = 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1-2.1], triazines (OR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0-2.0), and any herbicide (OR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1-1.9). For late abortions, preconception exposure to glyphosate (OR = 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0-2.9), thiocarbamates (OR = 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-3.0), and the miscellaneous class of pesticides (OR = 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.4) was associated with elevated risks. Postconception exposures were generally associated with late spontaneous abortions. Older maternal age (> 34 years of age) was the strongest risk factor for spontaneous abortions, and we observed several interactions between pesticides in the older age group using Classification and Regression Tree analysis. This study shows that timing of exposure and restricting analyses to more homogeneous endpoints are important in characterizing the reproductive toxicity of pesticides.  FULL TEXT

Armiliato et al., 2014

Armiliato N, Ammar D, Nezzi L, Straliotto M, Muller YM, Nazari EM, “Changes in ultrastructure and expression of steroidogenic factor-1 in ovaries of zebrafish Danio rerio exposed to glyphosate,” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health A, 2014, 77:7, DOI: 10.1080/15287394.2014.880393.

ABSTRACT

Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum organophosphate (OP) herbicide, highly soluble in water, and when applied in terrestrial systems it penetrates into soil, eventually reaching the aquatic community and affecting nontarget organisms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the toxicity of glyphosate on ovaries of zebrafish (Danio rerio). Ovaries (n = 18 per triplicate) were exposed to 65 μg/L of glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine] for 15 d. This concentration was determined according to Resolution 357/2005/CONAMA/Brazil, which establishes the permissible concentration of glyphosate in Brazilian inland waters. Nonexposed ovaries (n = 18 per triplicate) were used as control. Subsequently, morphology and expression of steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) of exposed and nonexposed ovaries was determined. No apparent changes were noted in general morphology of exposed and nonexposed ovaries. However, a significant increase in diameter of oocytes was observed after exposure to glyphosate. When ovarian ultrastructure was examined the presence of concentric membranes, appearing as myelin-like structures, associated with the external membranes of mitochondria and with yolk granules was found. After glyphosate exposure, immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting revealed greater expression of SF-1 in the oocytes, which suggests a relationship between oocyte growth and SF-1 expression. These subtle adverse effects of glyphosate on oocytes raised a potential concern for fish reproduction. These results contribute to understanding glyphosate-induced toxicity to nontarget organisms, showing subcellular and molecular impairments that may affect reproduction in +female fish.

Avila-Vazquez et al., 2015

Medardo Avila-Vazquez, Agustina Etchegoyen, Eduardo Maturano and Luciana Ruderman, “Cancer and detrimental reproductive effects in an Argentine agricultural community environmentally exposed to glyphosate,” The Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, 2015, 15:3, DOI: 10.4024/09VA15A.jbpc.15.03

ABSTRACT:

Argentina utilizes about 200 000 tonnes of glyphosate for its agriculture each year. People living near the fields treated with glyphosate often mention an increase in cancer and reproductive alterations. In Monte Maiz, an agricultural settlement with approximate population 8000, we conducted an environmental test assessing water, soil and particulate material contamination as well as an epidemiological study to detect and locate cases of cancer, abortion and genetic abnormality. The site utilizes annually 650 tonnes of glyphosate applied over an area of 65 000 ha. The glyphosate is concentrated and prepared for dispersal in the settlement. We detected glyphosate in particulate material and grain husks and it was found to be present at an even higher concentration on the ground in the village than in the surrounding rural area. The rate of spontaneous abortion in Monte Maiz is three times higher than the national average and the rate of occurrence of genetic abnormality is about twice the national average. Cancer occurrence is between two and three times the reference values for the entire nation with regard to incidence, prevalence and mortality. Although it is of course impossible to establish direct causality, the indicators that emerge from the correlated variables strongly suggest a public health problem of significant proportions, requiring immediate attention.

 

Avila-Vazquez et al., 2018

Avila-Vazquez, M., Difilippo, F.S., Lean, B.M., Maturano, E. and Etchegoyen, A., “Environmental Exposure to Glyphosate and Reproductive Health Impacts in Agricultural Population of Argentina,” Journal of Environmental Protection, 2018, 9, DOI: 10.4236/jep.2018.93016.

ABSTRACT:

Argentina annually utilizes 240,000 tones of glyphosate in industrial agriculture and a change in the profile of morbidity is perceived for physicians of agricultural areas; now reproductive disorders seem to prevail. The objective of this study is to determine concurrence of glyphosate exposure and  reproductive disorders in a typical argentine agricultural town (Monte Maíz). An ecological study was developed with an environmental analysis of pollution sources including measurements of glyphosate and other pesticides and a cross-sectional study of spontaneous abortions and congenital abnormalities prevalence. Glyphosate was detected in soil and grain dust and was found to be at an even higher concentration in the village soil than in the rural area; 650 tonnes of glyphosate are used annually in the region and manipulated inner town contaminating the soil and dust in suspension of the town creating an burden of environmental exposure to glyphosate of 79 kg per person per year. We do not find other relevant sources of pollution. The spontaneous abortion and congenital abnormalities rates are three and two times higher than the national average reported by the national health (10% vs. 3% and 3% – 4.3% vs 1.4% respectively). Our study verified high environmental exposure to glyphosate in association with increased frequencies of reproductive disorders  (spontaneous abortion and congenital abnormalities) in argentine agricultural village, but is unable to make assertions cause-effect. Further studies are required with designs for such purposes. FULL TEXT

Benachour and Seralini, 2009.

Benachour N, Séralini GE, “Glyphosate formulations induce apoptosis and necrosis in human umbilical, embryonic, and placental cell,” Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2009, 22(1):97-105, doi: 10.1021/ tx800218n.

ABSTRACT: We have evaluated the toxicity of four glyphosate (G)-based herbicides in Roundup formulations, from 10(5) times dilutions, on three different human cell types. This dilution level is far below agricultural recommendations and corresponds to low levels of residues in food or feed. The formulations have been compared to G alone and with its main metabolite AMPA or with one known adjuvant of R formulations, POEA. HUVEC primary neonate umbilical cord vein cells have been tested with 293 embryonic kidney and JEG3 placental cell lines. All R formulations cause total cell death within 24 h, through an inhibition of the mitochondrial succinate dehydrogenase activity, and necrosis, by release of cytosolic adenylate kinase measuring membrane damage. They also induce apoptosis via activation of enzymatic caspases 3/7 activity. This is confirmed by characteristic DNA fragmentation, nuclear shrinkage (pyknosis), and nuclear fragmentation (karyorrhexis), which is demonstrated by DAPI in apoptotic round cells. G provokes only apoptosis, and HUVEC are 100 times more sensitive overall at this level. The deleterious effects are not proportional to G concentrations but rather depend on the nature of the adjuvants. AMPA and POEA separately and synergistically damage cell membranes like R but at different concentrations. Their mixtures are generally even more harmful with G. In conclusion, the R adjuvants like POEA change human cell permeability and amplify toxicity induced already by G, through apoptosis and necrosis. The real threshold of G toxicity must take into account the presence of adjuvants but also G metabolism and time-amplified effects or bioaccumulation. This should be discussed when analyzing the in vivo toxic actions of R. This work clearly confirms that the adjuvants in Roundup formulations are not inert. Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death around residual levels to be expected, especially in food and feed derived from R formulation-treated crops.

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.

ABSTRACT:

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

Colborn and Carroll, 2007

Colborn, Theo, Lynn Carroll,  “Pesticides, Sexual Development, Reproduction,and Fertility: Current Perspective and Future Direction,” Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, 2007, 13:5.

ABSTRACT: Improvements in chemical analytical technology and non-invasive sampling protocols have made it easier to detect pesticides and their metabolites at very low concentrations in human tissues. Monitoring has revealed that pesticides penetrate both maternal and paternal reproductive tissues and organs, thus providing a pathway for initiating harm to their offspring starting before fertilization throughout gestation and lactation. This article explores the literature that addresses the parental pathway of exposure to pesticides. We use DDT/DDE as a model for chemicals that oftentimes upon exposure have no apparent, immediate health impacts, or cause no obvious birth defects, and are seldom linked with cancer. Their health effects are overlooked because they are invisible and not life threatening—but might have significant health, social, and economic impacts at the individual and population levels. The purpose of this article is to demonstrate the necessity to develop new approaches for determining the safety of pesticides and the need for innovative regulatory policy to protect human and environmental health.

Crews et al., 2007

David Crews, Andrea C. Gore, Timothy S. Hsu, Nygerma L. Dangleben, Michael Spinetta, Timothy Schallert, Matthew D. Anway, and Michael K. Skinner, “Transgenerational epigenetic imprints on mate preference,” PNAS, 2007, 104:14, DOI: 10.1073/PNAS.0610410104.

ABSTRACT:

Environmental contamination by endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) can have epigenetic effects (by DNA methylation) on the germ line and promote disease across subsequent generations. In natural populations, both sexes may encounter affected as well as unaffected individuals during the breeding season, and any diminution in attractiveness could compromise reproductive success. Here we examine mate preference in male and female rats whose progenitors had been treated with the antiandrogenic fungicide vinclozolin. This effect is sex-specific, and we demonstrate that females three generations removed from the exposure discriminate and prefer males who do not have a history of exposure, whereas similarly epigenetically imprinted males do not exhibit such a preference. The observations suggest that the consequences of EDCs are not just transgenerational but can be ‘‘transpopulational’’, because in many mammalian species, males are the dispersing sex. This result indicates that epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of EDC action represents an unappreciated force in sexual selection. Our observations provide direct experimental evidence for a role of epigenetics as a determinant factor in evolution.  FULL TEXT