Glyphosate and its formulations – Toxicity, occupational and environmental exposure
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Uniwersytet Łódzki / University of Lodz, Łódź, Poland (Wydział Biologii i Ochrony Środowiska, Katedra Biofizyki Skażeń Środowiska / Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, Department of Environmental Pollution Biophysics)
Corresponding author
Marta Kwiatkowska   

Katedra Biofizyki Skażeń Środowiska, Wydział Biologii i Ochrony Środowiska, Uniwersytet Łódzki, ul. Pomorska 141/143, 90-236 Łódź, Polska
Med Pr 2013;64(5):717–729
Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine) is an active ingredient of the most widely used herbicide formulations in protecting agricultural and horticultural crops. Numerous results (mostly published in the years 2010-2013) concerning the action of glyphosate and its formulations in the recent decade were analyzed. Initial reports about alleged biodegradability of glyphosate in the environment turned out to be wrong. It has been shown that glyphosate remains in the soil and can reach people by spreading along with groundwater. Recent publications have shown that glyphosate is detected at low concentrations in the human blood. Publications cited in this article, which indicate a possible induction of neoplastic changes by glyphosate formulation, have raised great concern and controversy in the scientific world. Presenting adverse effects of glyphosate and its formulations we focused on the role of glyphosate formulations in hormonal disorders by impeding the expression of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein and the inhibition of aromatase activity. The impact of glyphosate on oxygen reactive species formation, changes in redox system and the effect on necrosis and apoptosis in various types of cells was shown. We also revealed that glyphosate as a phosphonate herbicide does not inhibit directly the activity of acetylcholinesterase. Based on numerous studies it was noted that commercial formulations of glyphosate exhibit higher toxicity than that of the active substance itself. The discussed problems clearly show the need to evaluate the toxicity of glyphosate and its formulations and related potential threat to humans. Med Pr 2013;64(5):717–729