Potential toxic effects of glyphosate and its commercial formulations below regulatory limits

Food Chem Toxicol. 2015 Oct:84:133-53. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2015.08.012. Epub 2015 Aug 14.


Glyphosate-based herbicides (GlyBH), including Roundup, are the most widely used pesticides worldwide. Their uses have increased exponentially since their introduction on the market. Residue levels in food or water, as well as human exposures, are escalating. We have reviewed the toxic effects of GlyBH measured below regulatory limits by evaluating the published literature and regulatory reports. We reveal a coherent body of evidence indicating that GlyBH could be toxic below the regulatory lowest observed adverse effect level for chronic toxic effects. It includes teratogenic, tumorigenic and hepatorenal effects. They could be explained by endocrine disruption and oxidative stress, causing metabolic alterations, depending on dose and exposure time. Some effects were detected in the range of the recommended acceptable daily intake. Toxic effects of commercial formulations can also be explained by GlyBH adjuvants, which have their own toxicity, but also enhance glyphosate toxicity. These challenge the assumption of safety of GlyBH at the levels at which they contaminate food and the environment, albeit these levels may fall below regulatory thresholds. Neurodevelopmental, reproductive, and transgenerational effects of GlyBH must be revisited, since a growing body of knowledge suggests the predominance of endocrine disrupting mechanisms caused by environmentally relevant levels of exposure.

Keywords: Endocrine disruption; GMO; Glyphosate; Pesticide; Roundup; Toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinogens / analysis
  • Carcinogens / chemistry
  • Carcinogens / standards
  • Carcinogens / toxicity
  • Endocrine Disruptors / analysis
  • Endocrine Disruptors / chemistry
  • Endocrine Disruptors / standards
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / analysis
  • Glycine / toxicity
  • Glyphosate
  • Herbicides / analysis
  • Herbicides / chemistry
  • Herbicides / standards
  • Herbicides / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Pesticide Residues / analysis
  • Pesticide Residues / chemistry
  • Pesticide Residues / standards
  • Pesticide Residues / toxicity*
  • Teratogens / analysis
  • Teratogens / chemistry
  • Teratogens / standards
  • Teratogens / toxicity
  • Toxicology / methods


  • Carcinogens
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Herbicides
  • Pesticide Residues
  • Teratogens
  • Glycine