Developmental and reproductive outcomes in humans and animals after glyphosate exposure: a critical analysis.
J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2012 ;15(1):39-96. PMID: 22202229
Exponent, Inc, Alexandria, Virginia, USA.
Glyphosate is the active ingredient of several widely used herbicide formulations. Glyphosate targets the shikimate metabolic pathway, which is found in plants but not in animals. Despite the relative safety of glyphosate, various adverse developmental and reproductive problems have been alleged as a result of exposure in humans and animals. To assess the developmental and reproductive safety of glyphosate, an analysis of the available literature was conducted. Epidemiological and animal reports, as well as studies on mechanisms of action related to possible developmental and reproductive effects of glyphosate, were reviewed. An evaluation of this database found no consistent effects of glyphosate exposure on reproductive health or the developing offspring. Furthermore, no plausible mechanisms of action for such effects were elucidated. Although toxicity was observed in studies that used glyphosate-based formulations, the data strongly suggest that such effects were due to surfactants present in the formulations and not the direct result of glyphosate exposure. To estimate potential human exposure concentrations to glyphosate as a result of working directly with the herbicide, available biomonitoring data were examined. These data demonstrated extremely low human exposures as a result of normal application practices. Furthermore, the estimated exposure concentrations in humans are>500-fold less than the oral reference dose for glyphosate of 2 mg/kg/d set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA 1993). In conclusion, the available literature shows no solid evidence linking glyphosate exposure to adverse developmental or reproductive effects at environmentally realistic exposure concentrations.