Environmental Monitoring of Glyphosate & AMPA Metabolite* in the EU
Monitoring for chemicals in the environment, such as agrochemicals, involves collecting samples from different environmental compartments such as soil, water and air. Samples are then analysed for the chemicals of interest, providing an insight into the amount and extent of their environmental exposure.
Subsequently, monitoring data on concentrations of glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA have been collected from various sources in the EU, including environmental agencies and literature.
With the two compounds being subject to intense programs of investigation, the collection resulted in vast data sets**, allowing for firm conclusions to be drawn for the entire EU.
Through comprehensive statistical analysis, the amounts of glyphosate and AMPA detected in different compartments (soil, water bodies and air), are compared against relevant European regulatory thresholds.
For the vast majority of analysed samples, levels are below the thresholds and do not pose any risk to the environment nor to human health.
The extent of compliance with these regulatory thresholds is extremely high across all environmental compartments.
For groundwater samples, glyphosate concentrations were in the vast majority of cases below the EU threshold of 0.1 ppb  (that is ‘one part in every 10 billion parts’, which for example, is less than a single drop in a typical garden swimming pool), which indicates a very low exposure risk.
In a few cases, groundwater findings were above the regulatory threshold level of 0.1 ppb at the regional level.
Through expert in-depth investigations, the GRG is strongly committed to understanding and determining why these were observed. Such measures are part of ongoing targeted product stewardship programs undertaken by the manufacturers of plant protection products.
* aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) is the main metabolite of glyphosate
** publicly available data collected in monitoring programs run by local authorities
- ppb: parts per billion; another way of communicating concentrations in micrograms of compound per litre of water; 0.1 micrograms/litre is the drinking water concentration limit defined by the EU Drinking Water Directive at the consumers tap.
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. (n.d.). What is a Part Per Billion? [retrieved 10 February 2021]