Glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid are not detectable in human milk1,2

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Abstract

Background:

Although animal studies have shown that exposure to glyphosate (a commonly used herbicide) does not result in glyphosate bioaccumulation in tissues, to our knowledge there are no published data on whether it is detectable in human milk and therefore consumed by breastfed infants.

Objective:

We sought to determine whether glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) could be detected in milk and urine produced by lactating women and, if so, to quantify typical consumption by breastfed infants.

Design:

We collected milk (n = 41) and urine (n = 40) samples from healthy lactating women living in and around Moscow, Idaho and Pullman, Washington. Milk and urine samples were analyzed for glyphosate and AMPA with the use of highly sensitive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry methods validated for and optimized to each sample matrix.

Results:

Our milk assay, which was sensitive down to 1 μg/L for both analytes, detected neither glyphosate nor AMPA in any milk sample. Mean ± SD glyphosate and AMPA concentrations in urine were 0.28 ± 0.38 and 0.30 ± 0.33 μg/L, respectively. Because of the complex nature of milk matrixes, these samples required more dilution before analysis than did urine, thus decreasing the sensitivity of the assay in milk compared with urine. No difference was found in urine glyphosate and AMPA concentrations between subjects consuming organic compared with conventionally grown foods or between women living on or near a farm/ranch and those living in an urban or suburban nonfarming area.

Conclusions:

Our data provide evidence that glyphosate and AMPA are not detectable in milk produced by women living in this region of the US Pacific Northwest. By extension, our results therefore suggest that dietary glyphosate exposure is not a health concern for breastfed infants. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02670278.

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