A critical review of glyphosate findings in human urine samples and comparison with the exposure of operators and consumers
For active substances in plant protection products (PPP) with well defined urinary elimination, no potential for accumulation and virtually no metabolism, measuring of urine levels could be a powerful tool for human biomonitoring. Such data may provide reliable estimates of actual internal human exposure that can be compared to appropriate reference values, such as the ‘acceptable daily intake (ADI)’ or the ‘acceptable operator exposure level (AOEL)’. Traces of the active compound glyphosate were found in human urine samples, probably resulting either from occupational use for plant protection purposes or from dietary intake of residues. A critical review and comparison of data obtained in a total of seven studies from Europe and the US was performed. The conclusion can be drawn that no health concern was revealed because the resulting exposure estimates were by magnitudes lower than the ADI or the AOEL. The expected internal exposure was clearly below the worst-case predictions made in the evaluation of glyphosate as performed for the renewal of its approval within the European Union. However, differences in the extent of exposure with regard to the predominant occupational and dietary exposure routes and between Europe and North America became apparent.