Glyphosate in German adults - Time trend (2001 to 2015) of human exposure to a widely used herbicide
Conrad, André; Schröter-Kermani, Christa; Hoppe, Hans-Wolfgang; Rüther, Maria; Pieper, Silvia; Kolossa-Gehring, Marike
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 220 (2017), 1, 8-16; online 29 September 2016
The broadband herbicide glyphosate (N-[phosphonomethyl]-glycine) and its main metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) were analyzed by GC-MS-MS in 24 h-urine samples cryo-archived by the German Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB). Samples collected in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 were chosen for this retrospective analysis. All urine samples had been provided by 20 to 29 years old individuals living in Greifswald, a city in north-eastern Germany. Out of the 399 analyzed urine samples, 127 (= 31.8%) contained glyphosate concentrations at or above the limit of quantification (LOQ) of 0.1 μg/L. For AMPA this was the case for 160 (= 40.1%) samples. The fraction of glyphosate levels at or above LOQ peaked in 2012 (57.5%) and 2013 (56.4%) after having discontinuously increased from 10.0% in 2001. Quantification rates were lower again in 2014 and 2015 with 32.5% and 40.0%, respectively. The overall trend for quantifiable AMPA levels was similar. Glyphosate and AMPA concentrations in urine were statistically significantly correlated (spearman rank correlation coefficient = 0.506, p ≤ 0.001). Urinary glyphosate and AMPA levels tended to be higher in males. The possible reduction in exposure since 2013 indicated by ESB data may be due to changes in glyphosate application in agricultural practice. The ESB will continue monitoring internal exposures to glyphosate and AMPA for following up the time trend, elucidating inter-individual differences, and contributing to the ongoing debate on the further regulation of glyphosate-based pesticides.
doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.09.016 (open access)