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ACUTE EXPOSURE INFORMATION
- USES: Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide, and is the most widely used herbicide in the USA. It is available under a variety of trade names, including Roundup(R).
- TOXICOLOGY: Glyphosate is an aminophosphonic analogue of the amino acid glycine. It kills plants by interfering with the synthesis of the amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. Other chemicals added to glyphosate mixtures (eg, surfactants and diquat) are probably responsible for much of the reported toxicity.
- EPIDEMIOLOGY: Exposure is common, severe toxicity is rare. In the United States, poison centers in the past decade have reported more than 4000 exposures per year of glyphosate-containing herbicides, of which several hundred are evaluated in a healthcare facility. However, only about 1% of these exposures were intentional ingestions, and fatalities are rare. The clinical effects described are limited to glyphosate isoprophylamine (also known as Roundup(R)) and not glyphosate-trimesium, which appears to have a different mechanism of action that may produce rapid toxicity following ingestion. Two fatal cases of intoxication have been reported within 1 hour or less of oral exposure in an adult and a child to glyphosate-trimesium
- WITH POISONING/EXPOSURE
- MILD TO MODERATE TOXICITY: Ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, slight sedation, mouth and throat pain. Eye exposure can cause conjunctivitis. Dermal exposure can cause erythema, piloerection, and contact dermatitis.
- SEVERE TOXICITY: Oral or gastrointestinal mucosal ulceration, hypotension, mild elevations in liver enzymes, leukocytosis, metabolic acidosis, oliguric/anuric renal failure, hyperthermia, pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, ventricular dysrhythmias, coma, and seizures are rare manifestations generally only seen after deliberate ingestion. Severe toxicity resulting in death, most often following intentional exposure, has been related to hypovolemic shock followed by respiratory failure. Prolonged dermal exposure can cause burns. The development of respiratory distress, pulmonary edema, renal failure or acidosis requiring hemodialysis, and/or hyperkalemia are highly associated with poor prognosis.
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