Glyphosate exposure, cardiovascular diseases and cancer risks
Glyphosate (GLY) is a broad-spectrum herbicide with a unique mode of action and an apparent selective toxicity to plants. As far as human health risks are concerned, it has become one of the most controversial pesticides. In the last two years, a possible excess of risk of cancer (i.e., non-Hodgkin lymphoma) associated with exposure to GLY has taken center stage regarding public concerns on health risks posed by pesticides. A recent report by Pan et al. (J Public Health Emerg 2017;1:4) suggesting that GLY might also be a risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD) seems to open a new chapter in the ongoing debate on GLY safety. In this article, we commented the major shortcomings of most observational studies that have investigated associations between GLY exposure and adverse health outcomes. The lack of quantitative assessments of exposure (e.g., by repeated measures of urinary levels of GLY) and the fact that studies were not designed to find out dose-response relationships are two of the major weaknesses common to all epidemiology investigations of health hazards posed by GLY exposure. Owing to these methodological limitations, current epidemiology evidence is insufficient to conclude that exposure to GLY increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or any other type of cancer.