Freisthler, Marlaina S., Robbins, C. Rebecca, Benbrook, Charles M., Young, Heather A., Haas, David M., Winchester, Paul D., & Perry, Melissa J.; “Association between increasing agricultural use of 2,4-D and population biomarkers of exposure: findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001–2014;” Environmental Health, 2022, 21(1); DOI: 10.1186/s12940-021-00815-x.
BACKGROUND: 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is one of the most extensively used herbicides in the United States. In 2012, 2,4-D was the most widely used herbicide in non-agricultural settings and the fifth most heavily applied pesticide in the US agricultural sector. The objective of this study was to examine trends in 2,4-D urinary biomarker concentrations to determine whether increases in 2,4-D application in agriculture are associated with increases in biomonitoring levels of urine 2,4-D.
METHODS: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) with available urine 2,4-D biomarker measurements from survey cycles between 2001 and 2014 were utilized. Urine 2,4-D values were dichotomized using the highest limit of detection (LOD) across all cycles (0.40 mug/L or 0.4 ppb). Agricultural use of 2,4-D was estimated by compiling publicly available federal and private pesticide application data. Logistic regression models adjusted for confounders were fitted to evaluate the association between agricultural use of 2,4-D and urine 2,4-D level above the dichotomization threshold.
RESULTS: Of the 14,395 participants included in the study, 4681 (32.5%) had urine 2,4-D levels above the dichotomization threshold. The frequency of participants with high 2,4-D levels increased significantly (p < .0001), from a low of 17.1% in 2001-2002 to a high of 39.6% in 2011-2012. The adjusted odds of high urinary 2,4-D concentrations associated with 2,4-D agricultural use (per ten million pounds applied) was 2.268 (95% CI: 1.709, 3.009). Children ages 6-11 years (n = 2288) had 2.1 times higher odds of having high 2,4-D urinary concentrations compared to participants aged 20-59 years. Women of childbearing age (age 20-44 years) (n = 2172) had 1.85 times higher odds than men of the same age.
CONCLUSIONS: Agricultural use of 2,4-D has increased substantially from a low point in 2002 and it is predicted to increase further in the coming decade. Because increasing use is likely to increase population level exposures, the associations seen here between 2,4-D crop application and biomonitoring levels require focused biomonitoring and epidemiological evaluation to determine the extent to which rising use and exposures cause adverse health outcomes among vulnerable populations (particularly children and women of childbearing age) and highly exposed individuals (farmers, other herbicide applicators, and their families).
Benbrook, Charles, Perry, Melissa J., Belpoggi, Fiorella, Landrigan, Philip J., Perro, Michelle, Mandrioli, Daniele, Antoniou, Michael N., Winchester, Paul, & Mesnage, Robin; “Commentary: Novel strategies and new tools to curtail the health effects of pesticides;” Environmental Health, 2021, 20(1); DOI: 10.1186/s12940-021-00773-4.
BACKGROUND: Flaws in the science supporting pesticide risk assessment and regulation stand in the way of progress in mitigating the human health impacts of pesticides. Critical problems include the scope of regulatory testing protocols, the near-total focus on pure active ingredients rather than formulated products, lack of publicly accessible information on co-formulants, excessive reliance on industry-supported studies coupled with reticence to incorporate published results in the risk assessment process, and failure to take advantage of new scientific opportunities and advances, e.g. biomonitoring and “omics” technologies.
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS: Problems in pesticide risk assessment are identified and linked to study design, data, and methodological shortcomings. Steps and strategies are presented that have potential to deepen scientific knowledge of pesticide toxicity, exposures, and risks.
We propose four solutions:
(1) End near-sole reliance in regulatory decision-making on industry-supported studies by supporting and relying more heavily on independent science, especially for core toxicology studies. The cost of conducting core toxicology studies at labs not affiliated with or funded directly by pesticide registrants should be covered via fees paid by manufacturers to public agencies.
(2) Regulators should place more weight on mechanistic data and low-dose studies within the range of contemporary exposures.
(3) Regulators, public health agencies, and funders should increase the share of exposure-assessment resources that produce direct measures of concentrations in bodily fluids and tissues. Human biomonitoring is vital in order to quickly identify rising exposures among vulnerable populations including applicators, pregnant women, and children.
(4) Scientific tools across disciplines can accelerate progress in risk assessments if integrated more effectively. New genetic and metabolomic markers of adverse health impacts and heritable epigenetic impacts are emerging and should be included more routinely in risk assessment to effectively prevent disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Preventing adverse public health outcomes triggered or made worse by exposure to pesticides will require changes in policy and risk assessment procedures, more science free of industry influence, and innovative strategies that blend traditional methods with new tools and mechanistic insights.
Perry, M. J., Marbella, A., & Layde, P. M.; “Compliance with required pesticide-specific protective equipment use;” American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 2002, 41(1), 70-73; DOI: 10.1002/ajim.10026.
BACKGROUND: This study measured compliance with pesticide-specific protective gear use requirements practiced by farmers applying pesticides to field crops.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two hundred and twenty randomly selected dairy farmers were interviewed 1 week after pesticide application to determine use of personal protective equipment while applying at least 1 of 15 possible restricted use pesticides (response rate = 82.4%).
RESULTS: Among the three most common pesticides used (dicamba, atrazine, and cyanazine), the proportions of farmers fully complying with gear use requirements were 8.8, 8.6, and 2.5%, respectively. For those same pesticides, the proportions (and 95% CI) using none of the required gear were 56.9% (47.3-66.5%), 38.6% (27.2-50.0%), and 47.5%(32.0-63.0%), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Both full and partial compliance with required personal protective equipment was low for each of the 15 chemicals applied by the applicators in this sample.
Perry, M. J., Mandrioli, D., Belpoggi, F., Manservisi, F., Panzacchi, S., & Irwin, C.; “Historical evidence of glyphosate exposure from a US agricultural cohort;” Environmental Health, 2019, 18(1), 42; DOI: 10.1186/s12940-019-0474-6.
In response to the recent review by Gillezeau et al., The evidence of human exposure to glyphosate: A review, Environmental Health 1/19/19, here we report additional glyphosate biomonitoring data from a repository of urine samples collected from United States farmers in 1997-98. To determine if glyphosate exposure could be identified historically, we examined urine samples from a biorepository of specimens collected from US dairy farmers between 1997 and 98. We compared samples from farmers who self-reported glyphosate application in the 8 h prior to sample collection to samples from farm applicators who did not report using glyphosate. Of 18 applicator samples tested, 39% showed detectable levels of glyphosate (mean concentration 4.04 mug/kg; range:1.3-12) compared to 0% detections among 17 non glyphosate applicator samples (p-value < 0.01). One of the applicator samples that tested positive for glyphosate also tested positive for AMPA. Concentrations of glyphosate were consistent with levels reported in the prior occupational biomonitoring studies reviewed by Gillezeau et al.Accurately detecting both glyphosate and AMPA in this small sample of Wisconsin farmers demonstrates a) glyphosate exposures among farmers were occurring 20 years ago, which was prior to the widespread planting of genetically engineered glyphosate tolerant crops first approved in 1996; and b) liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) can be used for sensitive characterization in cryopreserved urine samples. These data offer an important historical benchmark to which urinary levels from current and future biomonitoring studies can be compared. FULL TEXT
Manservisi, Fabiana, Lesseur, Corina, Panzacchi, Simona, Mandrioli, Daniele, Falcioni, Laura, Bua, Luciano, Manservigi, Marco, Spinaci, Marcella, Galeati, Giovanna, Mantovani, Alberto, Lorenzetti, Stefano, Miglio, Rossella, Andrade, Anderson Martino, Kristensen, David Møbjerg, Perry, Melissa J., Swan, Shanna H., Chen, Jia, & Belpoggi, Fiorella. “The Ramazzini Institute 13-week pilot study glyphosate-based herbicides administered at human-equivalent dose to Sprague Dawley rats: effects on development and endocrine system,” Environmental Health, 2019, 18(1). DOI:10.1186/s12940-019-0453-y.
BACKGROUND: Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) are broad-spectrum herbicides that act on the shikimate pathway in bacteria, fungi, and plants. The possible effects of GBHs on human health are the subject of an intense public debate for both its potential carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic effects, including potential effects on the endocrine system The present pilot study examine whether exposure to GBHs at the dose of glyphosate considered to be “safe” (the US Acceptable Daily Intake – ADI – of 1.75 mg/kg bw/day), starting from in utero life, affect the development and endocrine system across different life stages in Sprague Dawley (SD) rats.
METHODS: Glyphosate alone and Roundup Bioflow, a commercial brand of GBHs, were administered in drinking water at 1.75 mg/kg bw/day to F0 dams starting from the gestational day (GD) 6 (in utero) up to postnatal day (PND) 120. After weaning, offspring were randomly distributed in two cohorts: 8 M + 8F/group animals belonging to the 6-week cohort were sacrificed after puberty at PND 73 ± 2; 10 M + 10F/group animals belonging to the 13-week cohort were sacrificed at adulthood at PND 125 ± 2. Effects of glyphosate or Roundup exposure were assessed on developmental landmarks and sexual characteristics of pups.
RESULTS: In pups, anogenital distance (AGD) at PND 4 was statistically significantly increased both in Roundup treated males and females and in glyphosate-treated males. Age at first estrous (FE) was significantly delayed in the Roundup-exposed group and serum testosterone concentration significantly increased in Roundup-treated female offspring from the 13-week cohort compared to control animals. A statistically significant increase in plasma TSH concentration was observed in glyphosate-treated males compared with control animals as well as a statistically significant decrease in DHT and increase in BDNF in Roundup-treated males. Hormonal status imbalances were more pronounced in Roundup-treated rats after prolonged exposure.
CONCLUSIONS: The present pilot study demonstrate that GBHs exposure, from prenatal period to adulthood, induced endocrine effects and altered reproductive developmental parameters in male and female SD rats. In particular, it was associated with androgen-like effects, including a statistically significant increase of AGDs in both males and females, delay of FE and increased testosterone in female. FULL TEXT
Panzacchi, S., Mandrioli, D., Manservisi, F., Bua, L., Falcioni, L., Spinaci, M., Galeati, G., Dinelli, G., Miglio, R., Mantovani, A., Lorenzetti, S., Hu, J., Chen, J., Perry, M. J., Landrigan, P. J., & Belpoggi, F. “The Ramazzini Institute 13-week study on glyphosate-based herbicides at human-equivalent dose in Sprague Dawley rats: study design and first in-life endpoints evaluation,” Environmental Health, 17(1), 52, 2018. doi:10.1186/s12940-018-0393-y.
BACKGROUND: Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) are the most widely used pesticides worldwide, and glyphosate is the active ingredient of such herbicides, including the formulation known as Roundup. The massive and increasing use of GBHs results in not only the global burden of occupational exposures, but also increased exposure to the general population. The current pilot study represents the first phase of a long-term investigation of GBHs that we are conducting over the next 5 years. In this paper, we present the study design, the first evaluation of in vivo parameters and the determination of glyphosate and its major metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in urine.
METHODS: We exposed Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats orally via drinking water to a dose of glyphosate equivalent to the United States Acceptable Daily Intake (US ADI) of 1.75 mg/kg bw/day, defined as the chronic Reference Dose (cRfD) determined by the US EPA, starting from prenatal life, i.e. gestational day (GD) 6 of their mothers. One cohort was continuously dosed until sexual maturity (6-week cohort) and another cohort was continuously dosed until adulthood (13-week cohort). Here we present data on general toxicity and urinary concentrations of glyphosate and its major metabolite AMPA.
RESULTS: Survival, body weight, food and water consumption of the animals were not affected by the treatment with either glyphosate or Roundup. The concentration of both glyphosate and AMPA detected in the urine of SD rats treated with glyphosate were comparable to that observed in animals treated with Roundup, with an increase in relation to the duration of treatment. The majority of glyphosate was excreted unchanged. Urinary levels of the parent compound, glyphosate, were around 100-fold higher than the level of its metabolite, AMPA.
CONCLUSIONS: Glyphosate concentrations in urine showed that most part of the administered dose was excreted as unchanged parent compound upon glyphosate and Roundup exposure, with an increasing pattern of glyphosate excreted in urine in relation to the duration of treatment. The adjuvants and the other substances present in Roundup did not seem to exert a major effect on the absorption and excretion of glyphosate. Our results demonstrate that urinary glyphosate is a more relevant marker of exposure than AMPA in the rodent model. FULL TEXT
Nathan Raines MPH, Marvin González MD MS, Christina Wyatt MD MS, Mark Kurzrok, Christopher Pool, Tiziana Lemma, Ilana Weiss MPH, Carlos Marín, Valerio Prado, Eugenia Marcas, Karina Mayorga, Jean Franco Morales, Aurora Aragón MD PhD, Perry Sheffield MD MPH, “Risk Factors for Reduced Glomerular Filtration Rate in a Nicaraguan Community Affected by Mesoamerican Nephropathy,” MEDICC Review, 2014, 16:2.
INTRODUCTION: Mesoamerican nephropathy, also known as chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology, is widespread in Pacific coastal Central America. The cause of the epidemic is unknown, but the disease may be linked to multiple factors, including diet as well as environmental and occupational exposures. As many as 50% of men in some communities have Mesoamerican nephropathy.
OBJECTIVE: Describe prevalence of reduced glomerular filtration rate in a region of Nicaragua suspected to harbor high rates of Mesoamerican nephropathy; and investigate potential risk factors for such reduction associated with agricultural work (such as pesticide exposure and specific agricultural tasks associated with increased heat stress); sugar consumption; and traditional factors such as age, sex, diabetes, hypertension and nephrotoxic medication use.
METHODS: This study uses a cross-sectional design with nested case-control analysis. Cases were individuals with estimated glomerular filtration rates of <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 and controls were individuals with those >90mL/min/1.73 m2 , estimated using serum creatinine. Data on nutrition, past medical history, medication and substance use, and agricultural behaviors and exposures were collected using medical questionnaires from June through August, 2012. Venous blood and urine samples were collected to assess hemoglobin A1c, and dipstick proteinuria, respectively; anthropometry and blood pressure measurements were made using standard techniques. Analyses were conducted using chi square, and univariate and multiple logistic regression.
RESULTS: Of 424 individuals in the study, 151 had an occupational history in agriculture. Prevalence of glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/ min/1.73 m2 was 9.8% among women and 41.9% among men (male to female ratio = 4.3, p<0.0001). Proteinuria > or equal to 300 mg/dL was observed in <10% of participants with decreased glomerular filtration rate. Hemoglobin A1c and use of NSAIDs were not associated with decreased glomerular filtration rate. Although systolic and diastolic blood pressure was higher among participants with decreased glomerular filtration rate (p <0.001), hypertension was uncommon. Significant agricultural risk factors for reduced glomerular filtration rate included increased lifetime days cutting sugarcane during the dry season (OR 5.86, 95% CI 2.45–14.01), nondeliberate pesticide inhalation (OR 3.31, 95% CI 1.32–8.31), and sugarcane chewing (OR 3.24, 95% CI 1.39–7.58).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate a high prevalence of chronic kidney disease not linked to traditional risk factors, and suggest it may be associated instead with occupational exposure to heat stress in conjunction with pesticide inhalation, sugarcane chewing and sugar intake during the workday. FULL TEXT
Perry MJ, Venners SA, Barr DB, Xu X., “Environmental pyrethroid and organophosphorus insecticide exposures and sperm concentration,” Reproductive Toxicology, 2007, 23:1, DOI: 10.1016/J.REPROTOX.2006.08.005.
BACKGROUND: There is growing concern that poisoning and other adverse health effects are increasing because organophosphorous (OP) insecticides are now being used in combination with pyrethroid (PYR) insecticides to enhance the toxic effects of PYR insecticides on target insects, especially those that have developed PYR resistance.
OBJECTIVES: We conducted a pilot biomonitoring study to determine whether men in our reproductive cohort study were being exposed to pesticides environmentally by virtue of frequenting an agricultural setting.
METHODS: We screened 18 randomly selected urine samples collected from male participants of reproductive age for 24 parent compounds and metabolites of pesticides and examined the results in relation to sperm concentration.
RESULTS: Results showed high prevalence of exposure to OP and PYR pesticides and our preliminary analyses provided some suggestion that the higher exposure group had lower sperm concentration.
CONCLUSIONS: The potential of OP/PYR mixtures to have enhanced human toxicity needs more research attention.
Melissa J. Perry, Anne Marbella, Peter M. Layde, “Nonpersistent Pesticide Exposure Self-report versus Biomonitoring in Farm Pesticide Applicators,” Annals of Epidemiology, 2006, 16:9, DOI: 10.1016/J.ANNEPIDEM.2005.12.004.
PURPOSE: Few studies using biologic markers to examine nonpersistent pesticide exposure among pesticide applicators were conducted in field settings. This study compares self-reported dermal, inhalation, and ingestion exposures with urinalysis results after one-time application of the commonly used herbicide atrazine to field crops. It was hypothesized that: i) applicator reports of exposure would be associated positively with detection of urinary atrazine metabolites, and ii) applicator reports of personal-protective-equipment (PPE) use would be associated negatively with detection of urinary atrazine metabolites.
METHODS: Wisconsin dairy farmers were randomly selected to participate in 1997 to 1998 and were instructed to collect a urine sample 8 hours after the first pesticide application of the season. Farmers then were interviewed within 1 week of their first application to report on application practices. Eighty-six urine samples were analyzed for deethylatrazine, a major atrazine metabolite.
RESULTS: Comparing urinalysis results with self-reported dermal, inhalation, and ingestion exposure showed poor agreement between self-reported exposure and urinary deethylatrazine detections (all κ < 0.40). Multivariate linear regression modeling with deethylatrazine level as the outcome showed that self-reported practices did not significantly predict atrazine metabolite levels.
CONCLUSIONS: Possible explanations for the discrepancies between urinalysis results and self-reported data include: i) inaccuracies in self-reported data and ii) substantial interpersonal variation in atrazine metabolism, resulting in major differences in body burden for similar exposures. Either explanation poses challenges for epidemiologic studies of the health effects of pesticides, which rely solely on self-reported measures of exposure. Additional evaluation of determinants of accuracy in self-assessed occupational and environmental exposures is needed.
René Glynnis English, Melissa Perry, Mary M. Lee, Elaine Hoffman, Steven Delport, Mohamed Aqiel Dalvie, “Farm residence and reproductive health among boys in rural South Africa,” Environment International, 2012, 47, DOI: 10.1016/J.Envint.2012.06.006.
Few studies have investigated reproductive health effects of contemporary agricultural pesticides in boys. To determine the association between pesticide exposure and reproductive health of boys. We conducted a cross-sectional study in rural South Africa of boys living on and off farms. The study included a questionnaire (demographics, general and reproductive health, phyto-estrogen intake, residential history, pesticide exposures, exposures during pregnancy); and a physical examination that included sexual maturity development ratings; testicular volume; height, weight, body mass index; and sex hormone concentrations. Among the 269 boys recruited into the study, 177 (65.8%) were categorized as farm (high pesticide exposures) and 98 (34.2%) as non-farm residents (lower pesticide exposures). Median ages of the two groups were 11.3 vs 12.0 years, respectively (p<0.05). After controlling for confounders that included socioeconomic status, farm boys were shorter (regression coefficient (RC)=-3.42 cm; 95% confidence interval (CI): -6.38 to -0.45 cm) and weighed less (RC=-2.26 kg; CI: -4.44 to -0.75 kg). The farm boys also had lower serum lutenizing hormone (RC=-0.28 IU/L; CI: -0.48 to -0.08 IU/L), but higher serum oestradiol (RC=8.07 pmol/L; CI: 2.34-13.81 pmol/L) and follicle stimulating hormone (RC=0.63 IU/L; CI: 0.19-1.08 U/L). Our study provides evidence that farm residence is associated with adverse growth and reproductive health of pubertal boys which may be due to environmental exposures to hormonally active contemporary agricultural pesticides.