Background: Despite the growing and widespread use of glyphosate, a broad-spectrum herbicide and desiccant, very few studies have evaluated the extent and amount of human exposure. Objective: We review documented levels of human exposure among workers in occupational settings and the general population. Methods: We conducted a review of scientific publications on glyphosate levels in humans; 19 studies were identified, of which five investigated occupational exposure to glyphosate, 11 documented the exposure in general populations, and three reported on both. Results: Eight studies reported urinary levels in 423 occupationally and para-occupationally exposed subjects; 14 studies reported glyphosate levels in various biofluids on 3298 subjects from the general population. Average urinary levels in occupationally exposed subjects varied from 0.26 to 73.5 μg/L; environmental exposure urinary levels ranged from 0.16 to 7.6 μg/L. Only two studies measured temporal trends in exposure, both of which show increasing proportions of individuals with detectable levels of glyphosate in their urine over time. Conclusions: The current review highlights the paucity of data on glyphosate levels among individuals exposed occupationally, para-occupationally, or environmentally to the herbicide. As such, it is challenging to fully understand the extent of exposure overall and in vulnerable populations such as children. We recommend further work to evaluate exposure across populations and geographic regions, apportion the exposure sources (e.g., occupational, household use, food residues), and understand temporal trends.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2019


  • Environmental carcinogens
  • Exposure assessment
  • Glyphosate
  • Herbicides
  • Human biomonitoring
  • Round-up


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