Measurement of Agricultural and Dietary Glyphosate Exposure Among Pregnant Women

2019-11-12 18:25:30 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of this research is to understand whether and how pregnant women may be exposed to glyphosate, the active ingredient in a common herbicide. The researchers aim to assess glyphosate exposure among pregnant women in Idaho, and to attribute that exposure to agricultural and dietary sources. Pregnant women who live either near or far from glyphosate-treated fields will be recruited for study inclusion, and exposure will be assessed via urinary biomonitoring on a weekly basis throughout pregnancy. Each participant will also take part in a two-week dietary intervention, during which they will receive one week of organic food and one week of conventional food, in a crossover design. Urinary biomonitoring will occur on a daily basis during the dietary intervention phase. The researchers hypothesize that women who live near agricultural fields treated with glyphosate will have higher exposures than those who live in non-agricultural regions, and that consumption of an organic diet will reduce exposures in both groups.


This study focuses on human exposure to glyphosate, the single most commonly applied agricultural chemical in the world. Glyphosate is an herbicide, and is most commonly known as the active ingredient in "Round Up". Glyphosate has been declared a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and multiple toxicological studies have further suggested potential neurological and developmental effects of glyphosate exposure at environmentally-relevant levels. However, despite its extensive use, frequent presence in food and environmental media, and potential toxicity, current exposure levels in human populations are not well documented. This proposed study aims to assess glyphosate exposure among a cohort of pregnant women and to quantify the relative contribution of agricultural and dietary sources of this exposure. Specifically, this project has two main aims. Under Aim 1, a cohort of 40 pregnant women will be recruited from urban areas >10 miles from the nearest glyphosate-treated field and agricultural areas <1 mile from the nearest glyphosate-treated field. Urinary analysis from these women will be used to indicate the number of repeated spot urine samples necessary to characterize glyphosate exposure over one trimester of pregnancy, and to quantify the effect of residential proximity to glyphosate‐treated fields on exposure. Under Aim 2, these same 40 participants will then take part in a two week-long randomized cross-over design dietary intervention, during which participants will receive one week of exclusively organic food (grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, including glyphosate) and one week of exclusively conventional food, in random order. During the intervention, the researchers will collect daily spot urine samples from each participant to analyze for glyphosate exposure. The researchers hypothesize that during the time of year when glyphosate is actively applied, women living near glyphosate‐treated fields will have higher exposures than those living further away. They also hypothesize that glyphosate exposure will be reduced among participants during randomization to the organic diet, but that this decrease will be larger among urban women than among those living near glyphosate‐treated fields.

Study Design


Exposure to Herbicides


Organic Diet, Conventional Diet


Not yet recruiting


Boise State University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-11-12T18:25:30-0500

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