According to an article in German in the Ithaca journal, a German university study has found significant concentrations of glyphosate in the urine samples of city dwellers.
The analysis of the urine samples apparently found that all had concentrations of glyphosate at 5 to 20-fold the limit for drinking water. As well as being used increasingly widely in food production, glyphosate-based weedkillers often also get sprayed onto railway lines, urban pavements and roadsides.
Disturbingly, the Ithaca journal reports (in our translation), “The address of the university labs, which did the research, the data and the evaluation of the research method is known to the editors. Because of significant pressure by agrochemical representatives and the fear that the work of the lab could be influenced, the complete analytical data will only be published in the course of this year.”
News of this study comes not long after the publication of a study confirming glyphosate was contaminating groundwater. Last year also saw the publication of two US Geological Survey studies which consistently found glyphosate in streams, rain and even air in agricultural areas of the US.
Other recent studies – see the abstracts of the 4 below – indicate that people may not only be absorbing glyphosate from multiple sources but that it can circulate in the blood and can even cross the placental barrier and so reach the developing fetus.
Aris, A. and S. Leblanc (2011). “Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in EasternTownships of Quebec, Canada.”
Pesticides associated to genetically modified foods (PAGMF), are engineered to tolerate herbicides such as glyphosate (GLYP) and gluphosinate (GLUF) or insecticides such as the bacterial toxin bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between maternal and fetal exposure, and to determine exposure levels of GLYP and its metabolite aminomethylphosphoricacid (AMPA), GLUF and its metabolite 3-methylphosphinicopropionicacid (3-MPPA) and Cry1Ab protein (a Bt toxin) in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Blood of thirty pregnant women (PW) and thirty-nine nonpregnant women (NPW) were studied. Serum GLYP and GLUF were detected in NPW and not detected in PW. Serum 3-MPPA and CryAb1toxin were detected in PW, their fetuses and NPW. This is the first study to reveal the presence of circulating PAGMF in women with and without pregnancy, paving the way for a new field in reproductive toxicology including nutrition and utero-placental toxicities.
Chang, F. C., M. F. Simcik, et al. (2011). “Occurrence and fate of the herbicide glyphosate and its degradate aminomethylphosphonic acid in the atmosphere.”
Environ Toxicol Chem 30(3): 548–555.
This is the first report on the ambient levels of glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the United States, and its major degradation product, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), in air and rain. Concurrent, weekly integrated air particle and rain samples were collected during two growing seasons in agricultural areas in Mississippi and Iowa. Rain was also collected in Indiana in a preliminary phase of the study. The frequency of glyphosate detection ranged from 60 to 100% in both air and rain. The concentrations of glyphosate ranged from antipyrine>benzoic acid>glyphosate in terms of both the apparent permeability coefficient and the initial slope, defined as the linear rate of substance transferred to the fetal compartment as percent per time, a parameter used to compare the two experimental models. The results from the in vitro studies were in excellent agreement with the ex vivo results (caffeine approximately antipyrine>benzoic acid>glyphosate). However the transfer rate was much slower in the BeWo cells compared to the perfusion system. The advantages and limitations of each model are discussed in order to assist in the preparation, prediction, and performance of future studies of maternal-fetal transfer.