Environ Res. 2024 Apr 1;246:118114. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2024.118114. Epub 2024 Jan 10.


INTRODUCTION: N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine, or glyphosate, is a non-selective systemic herbicide widely used in agricultural, industrial, and residential settings since 1974. Glyphosate exposure has been inconsistently linked to neurotoxicity in animals, and studies of effects of gestational exposure among humans are scarce. In this study we investigated relationships between prenatal urinary glyphosate analytes and early childhood neurodevelopment.

METHODS: Mother-child pairs from the PROTECT-CRECE birth cohort in Puerto Rico with measures for both maternal urinary glyphosate analytes and child neurodevelopment were included for analysis (n = 143). Spot urine samples were collected 1-3 times throughout pregnancy and analyzed for glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), an environmental degradant of glyphosate. Child neurodevelopment was assessed at 6, 12, and 24 months using the Battelle Developmental Inventory, 2nd edition Spanish (BDI-2), which provides scores for adaptive, personal-social, communication, motor, and cognitive domains. We used multivariable linear regression to examine associations between the geometric mean of maternal urinary glyphosate analytes across pregnancy and BDI-2 scores at each follow-up. Results were expressed as percent change in BDI-2 score per interquartile range increase in exposure.

RESULTS: Prenatal AMPA concentrations were negatively associated with communication domain at 12 months (%change = -5.32; 95%CI: 9.04, -1.61; p = 0.007), and communication subdomain scores at 12 and 24 months. At 24 months, four BDI-2 domains were associated with AMPA: adaptive (%change = -3.15; 95%CI: 6.05, -0.25; p = 0.038), personal-social (%change = -4.37; 95%CI: 7.48, -1.26; p = 0.008), communication (%change = -7.00; 95%CI: 11.75, -2.26; p = 0.005), and cognitive (%change = -4.02; 95%CI: 6.72, -1.32; p = 0.005). Similar trends were observed with GLY concentrations, but most confidence intervals include zero. We found no significant associations at 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that gestational exposure to glyphosate is associated with adverse early neurodevelopment, with more pronounced delays at 24 months. Given glyphosate’s wide usage, further investigation into the impact of gestational glyphosate exposure on neurodevelopment is warranted.

PMID:38211716 | DOI:10.1016/j.envres.2024.118114