Childhood exposure to glyphosate linked to adulthood liver and metabolic disorders

Childhood exposure to synthetic glyphosate via diet and pesticide drift is associated with metabolic and liver disorders in adulthood, according to a recent American study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Mother-child pairs were surveyed and tested in California over the course of 18+ years, with children evaluated from the mother's pregnancy through adulthood.  

To measure dietary exposure of glyphosate, the researchers screened subject diets and analyzed urine samples for residues of glyphosate and Aminomethylphosphonic Acid (AMPA), its degradation product. To test the link between living close to glyphosate application and residues in urine samples, agricultural use of glyphosate was mapped against the residential location of all test subjects.

Researchers checked liver enzymes as an indicator of liver disorders. Blood pressure, waist size, and concentration of fats and sugars in the bloodstream were additionally measured as indicators of metabolic disorders.

Researchers found an association between glyphosate consumption and metabolic disorders. Subjects with high childhood urinary levels of glyphosate and AMPA had increased concentrations of glucose and fat molecules, larger waists, and higher blood pressure as adults. Researchers found a two-fold increase in AMPA urinary levels at 5 years old to be associated with a 55% increase in risk of metabolic disorder development.

Children expressing high glyphosate levels at 5 years old were more likely to experience elevated liver enzyme levels later in life indicating a higher risk of liver disease. A two-fold increase in AMPA urinary levels in childhood is associated with a 14% increase in the risk of developing these high enzyme levels.

Elevated levels of urinary glyphosate and AMPA were loosely linked to diet composition, particularly cold cereal consumption at age 5 and consumption of hot cereal, bread, fruit and vegetables at age 14.

Airborne exposure, via proximity to glyphosate application, additionally incurred health risks. Researchers found that adults were more likely to have markers of metabolic syndrome when raised in close proximity to high glyphosate application, or if their mothers were pregnant in these locations.

To manage risk factors for metabolic and liver disorders, consumers can regulate their diet and lifestyle and can lower their risk of exposure to pesticides by choosing organic. Organic products are grown without toxic pesticide application, including glyphosate, which is associated with metabolic and liver disorders as this recent study indicates.


Photo by Providence Doucet on Unsplash