Bio-monitoring, pesticides, glyphosate, environmental exposure, urine
Objectives: Glyphosate is the highest volume herbicide used globally and has recently been classified as a 2A
'probably carcinogenic to humans' by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). There is limited
data to evaluate the public health impacts from glyphosate exposure. The objective of this study is to conduct
an exploratory glyphosate exposure assessment study among Irish adults, who were non-occupational users of
Study design: A convenient sampling method was used, collecting one first morning void spot urine sample from
Methods: A biomonitoring survey involving the collection and analysis of 20ml spot urine samples from 50 Irish
adults was conducted in June 2017. Participants completed a short questionnaire to collect information on demographics,
dietary habits and lifestyle. Samples were analysed for glyphosate using solid phase extraction (SPE)
and analysed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MC/MS).
Results: Of the 50 urine samples analysed, 10 (20%) contained detectable levels of glyphosate (0.80–1.35μgL−1).
Exposure concentrations are higher than those reported in comparable studies of European and American adults.
Conclusions: Glyphosate was detectable in 20% of the samples collected from Irish adults. The low proportion
of detectable glyphosate levels could be due to lower localised use of pesticides, having a small sample size or
the higher analytical detection limit used in this study (0.5μgL−1), which could underestimate the true exposure
and warrants further investigation. Given the widespread use of glyphosate, further information on population
exposure is required to advance our understanding of the relationship between chronic low dose exposure to
glyphosate and human health risk.