Thursday, 10 January 2013

Maternal and prenatal glyphosate exposure assessed

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spray boomThe study found exposure estimates were less than or equal to two per cent of the ADI, significantly lower than the applicable health guideline, predicting exposure to be in fair agreement with the theoretical maximum residue contribution of 0.025mg/kg bw/day. Image: Tamina MillerRESEARCHERS from Edith Cowan University (ECU) are conducting investigations into glyphosate (Roundup) exposure via diet in pregnant women as a surrogate for prenatal children in an attempt to explore potential toxicity.

Inspiration for this study, conducted predominantly by prior masters student, Heather McQueen with supervision by Dr Anna Callan and Associate Professor Andrea Hinwood came from a particular interest of Heather McQueen’s as to the safety of glyphosate in the community.

There is a lack of research into the toxicity of glyphosate in prenatal children. The youngest group investigated was the 20th Australian Total Diet Survey involving individuals of at least nine months of age.

Glyphosate has been advertised as biodegradable and non-toxic, consequently it is used in many areas of the community allowing for high exposure, however previous studies have shown that glyphosate residue persists in food even after packaging, storing, and cooking.

A/Prof Hinwood says these possible exposures formed the aim of the study. 

“How many people are being exposed to glyphosate [in particular prenatal children] and at what levels of exposure?"

“Do additives in glyphosate have any adverse effects on prenatal children?” she says.

Involving 43 pregnant women, the study measured for glyphosate levels and the principle degradation product of glyphosate, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), particularly in foods.

A/Prof Hinwood says they found foetal exposure to be much lower than maternal levels due to the small percentage of glyphosate crossing the placenta.

“Predicted exposure for the study, based on maximum residue limits (MRL’s) was calculated as 0.01mg/kg bw/day, four per cent of the acceptable daily intake (ADI)”.

The study found exposure estimates were less than or equal to two per cent of the ADI, significantly lower than the applicable health guideline, predicting exposure to be in fair agreement with the theoretical maximum residue contribution of 0.025mg/kg bw/day.

“Results are suggestive that the range of data currently available for predicting exposure to dietary glyphosate is adequate for accurate estimates, thereby reducing funds spent on analysis,” she says.

A/Prof Hinwood says their team was pleased to find the concentrations of glyphosate in food to be so minimal they were not considered a risk, however questions remain as to the formulation ingredients in glyphosate.

This ECU research team has suggested a future, larger study be conducted to ascertain exposure effects to formulation ingredients in glyphosate.

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