Exposure assessment using human biomonitoring for glyphosate and fluroxypyr users in amenity horticulture

Alison Connolly, Kate Jones, Karen S Galea, Ioannis Basinas, Laura Kenny, Padraic McGowan, Marie Coggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Pesticides and their potential adverse health effects are of great concern and there is a dearth of knowledge regarding occupational exposure to pesticides among amenity horticulturalists.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to measure occupational exposures to amenity horticuturalists using pesticides containing the active ingredients, glyphosate and fluroxypyr by urinary biomonitoring.

METHODS: A total of 40 work tasks involving glyphosate and fluroxypyr were surveyed over the period of June - October 2015. Workers used a variety of pesticide application methods; manual knapsack sprayers, controlled droplet applicators, pressurised lance applicators and boom sprayers. Pesticide concentrations were measured in urine samples collected pre and post work tasks using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Differences in pesticide urinary concentrations pre and post work task, and across applications methods were analysed using paired t-tests and linear regression.

RESULTS: Pesticide urinary concentrations were higher than those reported for environmental exposures and comparable to those reported in some agricultural studies. Log-transformed pesticide concentrations were statistically significantly higher in post-work samples compared to those in pre-work samples (paired t-test, p<0.001; for both μgL-1 and μmol/mol creatinine). Urinary pesticide concentrations in post-work samples had a geometric mean (geometric standard deviation) of 0.66 (1.11) μgL-1 for glyphosate and 0.29 (1.69) μgL-1 for fluroxypyr. Linear regression revealed a statistically significant positive association to exist between the time-interval between samples and the log-transformed adjusted (i.e. post- minus pre-task) pesticide urinary concentrations (β=0.0039; p<0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Amenity horticulturists can be exposed to pesticides during tasks involving these products. Further research is required to evaluate routes of exposure among this occupational group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1064-1073
Number of pages10
JournalInternational journal of hygiene and environmental health
Issue number6
Early online date27 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • Acetates/urine
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agriculture
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Glycine/analogs & derivatives
  • Herbicides/urine
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure/analysis
  • Pyridines/urine


Dive into the research topics of 'Exposure assessment using human biomonitoring for glyphosate and fluroxypyr users in amenity horticulture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this