Review of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) biomonitoring and epidemiology

Carol J. Burns*, Gerard M. H. Swaen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

62 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

A qualitative review of the epidemiological literature on the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and health after 2001 is presented. In order to compare the exposure of the general population, bystanders and occupational groups, their urinary levels were also reviewed. In the general population, 2,4-D exposure is at or near the level of detection (LOD). Among individuals with indirect exposure, i.e. bystanders, the urinary 2,4-D levels were also very low except in individuals with opportunity for direct contact with the herbicide. Occupational exposure, where exposure was highest, was positively correlated with behaviors related to the mixing, loading and applying process and use of personal protection. Information from biomonitoring studies increases our understanding of the validity of the exposure estimates used in epidemiology studies. The 2,4-D epidemiology literature after 2001 is broad and includes studies of cancer, reproductive toxicity, genotoxicity, and neurotoxicity. In general, a few publications have reported statistically significant associations. However, most lack precision and the results are not replicated in other independent studies. In the context of biomonitoring, the epidemiology data give no convincing or consistent evidence for any chronic adverse effect of 2,4-D in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)768-786
JournalCritical Reviews in Toxicology
Volume42
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

Keywords

  • 2,4-D
  • herbicide
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • cancer
  • biomonitoring

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