July 21, 2016
Dr. Claire Stephenson and Dr. Caroline Harris published "An Assessment of Dietary Exposure to Glyphosate Using Reﬁned Deterministic and Probabilistic Methods," in Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Glyphosate is a herbicide used to control broad-leaved weeds. Some uses of glyphosate in crop production can lead to residues of the active substance and related metabolites in food. The paper uses data on residue levels, processing information, and consumption patterns, to assess theoretical lifetime dietary exposure to glyphosate.
Initial estimates were made assuming exposure to the highest permitted residue levels in foods. These intakes were then reﬁned using median residue levels from trials, processing information, and monitoring data to achieve a more realistic estimate of exposure. Estimates were made using deterministic and probabilistic methods. Exposures were compared to the acceptable daily intake (ADI), the amount of a substance that can be consumed daily without an appreciable health risk.
Reﬁned deterministic intakes for all consumers were at or below 2.1% of the ADI. Variations were due to cultural differences in consumption patterns and the level of aggregation of the dietary information in calculation models, which allows reﬁnements for processing. Probabilistic exposure estimates ranged from 0.03% to 0.90% of the ADI, depending on whether optimistic or pessimistic assumptions were made in the calculations. Additional reﬁnements would be possible if further data on processing and from residues monitoring programs were available.
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