April 11, 2019

Draft Toxicological Profile for Glyphosate Published

A new draft toxicological profile for glyphosate is now available for review and public comment from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in a variety of broad-spectrum herbicidal products for residential, commercial, and agricultural uses. According to ATSDR, it is typically manufactured for commercial use as a salt available in soluble liquid and granule formulations.

People can be exposed to glyphosate via dermal contact with consumer products, crops, foliage, or soils that contain residues of glyphosate. Exposure can also occur when people inhale mist or spray during the use of products containing glyphosate. Workers may be exposed to the chemical by inhalation, dermal contact, and ocular contact during the manufacture, transport, use, and disposal of glyphosate. ATSDR states that dermal contact appears to be the major route of exposure to glyphosate for people involved in its application.

ATSDR’s draft profile for glyphosate explains that human exposures to the chemical are to herbicides that contain glyphosate and other ingredients, and that human studies have reported possible associations between glyphosate herbicide use and various health outcomes. However, glyphosate formulations vary in specific components and their relative proportions, which ATSDR says precludes “meaningful comparisons of toxic effect levels.”

There is no OSHA permissible exposure limit for glyphosate. In 2017, ACGIH added glyphosate to its “Under Study” list, which includes chemical substances and physical agents to be considered for Threshold Limit Values.

The draft toxicological profile for glyphosate is available for download from the ATSDR website. Comments may be submitted via Regulations.gov until July 8, 2019.

ATSDR toxicological profiles characterize the toxicologic and adverse health effects information for hazardous substances. Each peer-reviewed profile identifies and reviews the key literature that describes a substance's toxicological properties. Health and toxicologic information on the potential for human exposure; chemical and physical properties; regulations and guidelines; and production, import, use, and disposal can also be found in ATSDR’s toxicological profiles. A full list of toxic substances with published profiles is available on the agency’s website.