[Effects of aerial applications of the herbicide glyphosate and insecticides on human health]. Chapter


  • INTRODUCTION The herbicide glyphosate is administered aerially by the Program to Eradicate Illicit Crops Program and is undertaken in rigorous compliance with the Environmental Management Plan. OBJECTIVE The effects of the glyphosate herbicide and other aerially applied insecticides were measured to determine possible impact on human health. MATERIALS AND METHODS In 2006-2006, a survey was taken of 112 individuals living in herbicide-treated areas of the Colombian provinces of Huila, Tolima, Putumayo, Guaviare, Santander, Antioquia, Magdalena and La Guajira. Samples of blood were examined for presence of acetylcholinesterase and organochlorine insecticides; urine was analyzed for glyphosate and its metabolites. RESULTS Fifty percent (50%) of the individuals sampled acknowledged the use of control chemicals as part of their work. The mean exposure time to the chemicals was 84.4 months, with a mean daily exposure of 5.6 hours. The most commonly used pesticides were of category I--extremely hazardous. In individuals sampled for glyphosate (39.6% of the total), 64.3% indicated the use of this herbicide at ground level in agricultural work. A statistically significative relationship was found between the use of glyphosate at ground level, and the concentration levels of glyphosate in the urine samples (odds ratio=2.54, 95% CI: 1.08 to 6.8). CONCLUSION These data did not show a relationship between the aerial sprayings of glyphosate for illicit crops eradication and an impact on human health, nor with occupational exposure to this and other chemicals (insecticides) with a high levels of toxicity.

publication date

  • 2009/9/1


  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Health
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pesticides
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urine
  • glyphosate


  • 0120-4157 (Print)r0120-4157 (Linking)

number of pages

  • 20

start page

  • 456

end page

  • 75