Background: Health concerns surrounding the herbicide, glyphosate, have increased recently due to its widespread use in agriculture and lack of regular surveillance programs in the food supply. However, studying the potential association between organic food consumption, which should decrease one’s exposure to glyphosate, and human health may be complicated due to confounding by the profiles of organic food consumers. Thus, understanding organic food consumer profiles is crucial. In addition, it is unknown whether self-reported organic food consumption frequency is indicative of one’s actual exposure to glyphosate.
Objective: To identify demographic, health-related, and diet-related factors associated with organic food consumption and to determine the association between self-reported organic food consumption frequency and urinary glyphosate levels.
Method: 375 women in Orange County were ranked into three groups based on their self-reported frequency of organic food consumption. Factors associated with frequency of organic food consumption, and urinary glyphosate levels across groups were analyzed.
Results: Self-reported organic food consumption frequency was associated with education, BMI, and healthy diet. We found highest urinary glyphosate levels in the sometime organic food consumers among the three groups, but it was not statistically different. However, grain intake was positively associated with glyphosate levels in infrequent organic food consumers.
Conclusion: The organic food consumer characteristics we observed were consistent with previous findings, and must be considered as confounders when studying the potential health effects of organic food consumption. We observed associations between urinary glyphosate levels and the diet, but our study findings should be confirmed in a larger population.