Chang, V. C., Andreotti, G., Ospina, M., Parks, C. G., Liu, D., Shearer, J. J., Rothman, N., Silverman, D. T., Sandler, D. P., Calafat, A. M., Beane Freeman, L. E., & Hofmann, J. N. (2023). “Glyphosate exposure and urinary oxidative stress biomarkers in the Agricultural Health Study.” JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 115(4), 394–404. https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djac242
Glyphosate is the most widely applied herbicide worldwide, and its use has been associated with increased risks of certain hematopoietic cancers in epidemiologic studies. Animal and in vitro experiments suggest that glyphosate may induce oxidative stress, a key characteristic of carcinogens; however, evidence in human populations remains scarce. We investigated associations between glyphosate exposure and urinary oxidative stress biomarkers in the Biomarkers of Exposure and Effect in Agriculture study, a molecular epidemiologic subcohort in the Agricultural Health Study.
This analysis included 268 male farmers selected based on self-reported recent and lifetime occupational glyphosate use and 100 age- and geography-matched male nonfarmers. Concentrations of glyphosate and oxidative stress biomarkers (8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine [8-OHdG], 8-iso-prostaglandin-F2α, and malondialdehyde [MDA]) were quantified in first-morning-void urine. We performed multivariable linear regression to evaluate associations of urinary glyphosate and self-reported glyphosate use with each oxidative stress biomarker.
Urinary glyphosate concentrations were positively associated with levels of 8-OHdG (highest vs lowest glyphosate quartile; geometric mean ratio = 1.15, 95% confidence interval = 1.03 to 1.28; Ptrend = .02) and MDA (geometric mean ratio = 1.20, 95% confidence interval = 1.03 to 1.40; Ptrend = .06) overall. Among farmers reporting recent glyphosate use (last 7 days), use in the previous day was also associated with statistically significantly increased 8-OHdG and MDA levels. Compared with nonfarmers, we observed elevated 8-iso-prostaglandin-F2α levels among farmers with recent, high past 12-month, or high lifetime glyphosate use.
Our findings contribute to the weight of evidence supporting an association between glyphosate exposure and oxidative stress in humans and may inform evaluations of the carcinogenic potential of this herbicide. FULL TEXT
Andre Schütze, Pilar Morales-Agudelo, Meghan Vidal, Antonia M. Calafat, Maria Ospina.; “Quantification of glyphosate and other organophosphorus compounds in human urine via ion chromatography isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry;” Chemosphere, 2021, 274; DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2020.129427.
Organophosphorus pesticides are the most used pesticides in the United States. Most organophosphorus pesticides are composed of a phosphate (or phosphorothioate or phosphorodithioate) moiety and a variable organic group. Organophosphorus pesticides are scrutinized by regulatory bodies and agencies because of their toxicity or suspected carcinogenicity. Upon exposure, organophosphorus pesticides and their metabolites eliminate in urine; these urinary biomarkers are useful to evaluate human exposure. We developed a method using stable isotope dilution, ion chromatography tandem mass spectrometry for quantification in urine of 6 O,O-dialkylphosphates, metabolites of organophosphorus insecticides, and glyphosate, the most used herbicide in the United States. With simple and minimal sample preparation, the analytical method is selective and sensitive (limits of detection are 0.2-0.8 μg/L), accurate (>85%) and precise (relative standard deviation <20%), depending on the analyte. To assess the suitability of the method in real exposure scenarios, we analyzed samples collected anonymously from subjects with suspected exposure to pesticides (n = 40) or who had been on an organic diet (n = 50). We detected glyphosate in 80% of subjects reporting an organic diet and in 78% of those with suspected glyphosate exposure; concentrations ranged from <0.2 to 28.6 μg/L. Median concentrations were 0.39 μg/L for the organic diet group and 0.40 μg/L for individuals with suspected exposure. Interestingly, interquartile ranges were considerably higher among those reporting pesticide exposure (0.63 μg/L) than those consuming organic diets (0.42 μg/L). These data suggest that the method meets typical validation benchmark values and is sensitive to investigate background exposures in the general population. FULL TEXT
Calafat, A. M.; “The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and human exposure to environmental chemicals;” International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 2012, 215(2), 99-101; DOI: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2011.08.014.
Researchers are increasingly interested in using human biomonitoring – the measurement of chemicals, their metabolites or specific reaction products in biological specimens/body fluids – for investigating exposure to environmental chemicals. General population human biomonitoring programs are useful for investigating human exposure to environmental chemicals and an important tool for integrating environment and health. One of these programs, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), conducted in the United States is designed to collect data on the health and nutritional status of the noninstitutionalized, civilian U.S. population. NHANES includes a physical examination, collecting a detailed medical history, and collecting biological specimens (i.e., blood and urine). These biological specimens can be used to assess exposure to environmental chemicals. NHANES human biomonitoring data can be used to establish reference ranges for selected chemicals, provide exposure data for risk assessment, and monitor exposure trends. FULL TEXT
Baker, S. E., Serafim, A. B., Morales-Agudelo, P., Vidal, M., Calafat, A. M., & Ospina, M.; “Quantification of DEET and neonicotinoid pesticide biomarkers in human urine by online solid-phase extraction high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry;” Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 2019, 411(3), 669-678; DOI: 10.1007/s00216-018-1481-0.
Neonicotinoid insecticides are widely used replacements for organophosphate and carbamate insecticides, but the extent of human exposure is largely unknown. On the other hand, based on urinary concentrations of DEET metabolites, human exposure to N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) appears to be widespread. We developed a fast online solid-phase extraction high-performance liquid chromatography-isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) method to measure in 200 muL of human urine the concentrations of six neonicotinoid biomarkers (acetamiprid, N-desmethyl-acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, 5-hydroxy-imidacloprid, thiacloprid), and two DEET biomarkers (3-diethyl-carbamoyl benzoic acid, 3-ethyl-carbamoyl benzoic acid). Limits of detection ranged from 0.01 to 0.1 mug/L, depending on the biomarker. Accuracy ranged from 91 to 116% and precision ranged from 3.7 to 10 %RSD. The presented method can be used to increase our understanding of exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides and DEET, and to evaluate the potential health effects from such exposures. FULL TEXT
Curl, C. L., Porter, J., Penwell, I., Phinney, R., Ospina, M., & Calafat, A. M.; “Effect of a 24-week randomized trial of an organic produce intervention on pyrethroid and organophosphate pesticide exposure among pregnant women;” Environment International, 2019, 104957; DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.104957.
BACKGROUND: Introduction of an organic diet can significantly reduce exposure to some classes of pesticides in children and adults, but no long-term trials have been conducted.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effect of a long-term (24-week) organic produce intervention on pesticide exposure among pregnant women.
METHODS: We recruited 20 women from the Idaho Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program during their first trimester of pregnancy. Eligible women were nonsmokers aged 18-35 years who reported eating exclusively conventionally grown food. We randomly assigned participants to receive weekly deliveries of either organic or conventional fruits and vegetables throughout their second or third trimesters and collected weekly spot urine samples. Urine samples, which were pooled to represent monthly exposures, were analyzed for biomarkers of organophosphate (OP) and pyrethroid insecticides.
RESULTS: Food diary data demonstrated that 66% of all servings of fruits and vegetables consumed by participants in the “organic produce” group were organic, compared to <3% in the “conventional produce” group. We collected an average of 23 spot samples per participant (461 samples total), which were combined to yield 116 monthly composites. 3-Phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA, a non-specific biomarker of several pyrethroids) was detected in 75% of the composite samples, and 3-PBA concentrations were significantly higher in samples collected from women in the conventional produce group compared to the organic produce group (0.95 vs 0.27mug/L, p=0.03). Another pyrethroid biomarker, trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane carboxylic acid, was detected more frequently in women in the conventional compared to the organic produce groups (16% vs 4%, p=0.05). In contrast, we observed no statistically significant differences in detection frequency or concentrations for any of the four biomarkers of OP exposure quantified in this trial.
DISCUSSION: To our knowledge, this is the first long-term organic diet intervention study, and the first to include pregnant women. These results suggest that addition of organic produce to an individual’s diet, as compared to conventional produce, significantly reduces exposure to pyrethroid insecticides. FULL TEXT
Donauer, Stephanie, Mekibib Altaye, Yingying Xu, Heidi Sucharew, Paul Succop, Antonia M. Calafat, Jane C. Khoury, Bruce Lanphear, Kimberly Yolton, “An Observational Study to Evaluate Associations Between Low-Level Gestational Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and Cognition During Early Childhood,” American Journal of Epidemiology, 2016, 184:5.
Prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides, which is ubiquitous, may be detrimental to neurological development. We examined 327 mother/infant pairs in Cincinnati, Ohio, between 2003 and 2006 to determine associations between prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and neurodevelopment. Twice during pregnancy urinary concentrations of 6 common dialkylphosphates, nonspecific metabolites of organophosphate pesticides, were measured. Aggregate concentrations of diethylphosphates, dimethylphosphates, and total dialkylphosphates were calculated. Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition-Mental and Psychomotor Developmental indices were administered at ages 1, 2, and 3 years, the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool, Second Edition, at age 4, and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Third Edition, at age 5. Mothers with higher urinary total dialkylphosphate concentrations reported higher levels of socioeconomic status and increased fresh fruit and vegetable intake. We found no associations between prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides and cognition at 1-5 years of age. In our cohort, exposure to organophosphate pesticides during pregnancy was not associated with cognition during early childhood. It is possible that a higher socioeconomic status and healthier diet may protect the fetus from potential adverse associations with gestational organophosphate pesticide exposure, or that dietary exposure to the metabolites is innocuous and not an ideal measure of exposure to the parent compound.
Lewis RC, Cantonwine DE, Del Toro LV, Calafat AM, Valentin-Blasini L, Davis MD, Montesano MA, Alshawabkeh AN, Cordero JF, Meeker JD, “Distribution and determinants of urinary biomarkers of exposure to organophosphate insecticides in Puerto Rican pregnant women,” The Science of the Total Environment, 2015, 512-513:337-44, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.01.059.
Globally, human exposures to organophosphate (OP) insecticides may pose a significant burden to the health of mothers and their developing fetuses. Unfortunately, relevant data is limited in certain areas of the world concerning sources of exposure to OP insecticides in pregnant populations. To begin to address this gap in information for Puerto Rico, we studied repeated measures of urinary concentrations of 10 OP insecticide metabolites among 54 pregnant women from the northern karst region of the island. We also collected demographic data and self-reported information on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and legumes in the past 48 h before urine collection and home pest-related issues. We calculated the distributions of the urinary biomarkers and compared them to women of reproductive age from the general U.S. population. We also used statistical models accounting for correlated data to assess within-subject temporal variability of the urinary biomarkers and to identify predictors of exposure. We found that for all but two metabolites (para-nitrophenol [PNP], diethylthiophosphate [DETP]), 50th or 95th percentile urinary concentrations (the metric that was used for comparison was based on the biomarker’s detection frequency) of the other eight metabolites (3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol [TCPY], 2-isopropyl-4-methyl-6-hydroxy-pyrimidine, malathion dicarboxylic acid, diethylphosphate, diethyldithiophosphate, dimethylphosphate, dimethylthiophosphate [DMTP], dimethyldithiophosphate) were somewhat lower in our cohort compared with similarly aged women from the continental United States. TCPY, PNP, DETP, and DMTP, which were the only urinary metabolites detected in greater than 50% of the samples, had poor reproducibility (intraclass correlation coefficient range: 0.19-0.28) during pregnancy. Positive predictors of OP insecticide exposure included: age; marital or employment status; consumption of cherries, grape juice, peanuts, peanut butter, or raisins; and residential application of pesticides. Further research is needed to understand what aspects of the predictors identified influence OP insecticide exposure during pregnancy. FULL TEXT