Evaluation of the Effects of Glyphosate on Human Health in Areas of Influence of the Illicit Crop Eradication Program (PECIG)

Other Releases
Ministry of Social Protection, National Institute of Health
December 2003
Bogota, Colombia


  • Studies to date have not established a relationship between reported health problems and the PECIG.

  • (D. Revelo and cols., "Effects of Spraying with Glyphosate in the Municipalities of Valle de Guamuez, San Miguel y Orito, Putumayo, Colombia and two studies by Dr. Camilo Uribe, Director of the Uribe Cualla Clinic, in Narico and Putumayo).


  • To explore the possible effects of glyphosate on human health as a result of aerial spraying.


  • To detect the possible cases of acute pesticide poisoning that appear in the same time and place as aerial glyphosate application.

  • To describe the clinical symptoms of human exposure to glyphosate from aerial spraying.

  • To characterize the exposure of the population of sprayed areas to other pesticides.

  • To explore some attitudes of the population to aerial spraying.


  • Spontaneous consultation with the Institute of Health.

  • Active search by Health Brigadas.

  • Reporting by community leaders and municipales level Ombudsmen.



  • Every individual in zones of influence of sprayed areas that presents/displays clinical manifestations of contact or exhibition to pesticides during the days after spraying, with one or several of the following signs or symptoms:

    • Digestive Symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain. 
    • Dermal Symptoms: cutaneous irritation, itching, rashes, vesicles, and blisters. 
    • Ocular Symptoms: reddening, irritation, pain or conjuntival hemorrhage. 
    • Respiratory Symptoms: cough, difficult or labored breathing.


  • Every individual residing in the zone of influence of the spray area, present during the 5 days following spraying, with clinical manifestations derived from contact or exposure to pesticides or a clinical picture compatible with acute pesticide poisoning of any degree of severity, diagnosed by a health worker, and who also presents antecedents of contact or exposure to pesticides, for occupational or accidental reasons, with the exception of documented cases like suicide attempts.


  • Every individual that fulfills some of the following criteria:

    • Clinical epidemiologist: clinical picture compatible with exposure to or contact with pesticides diagnosed by doctor and with clear antecedents of verified exposure with verifiable evidence of contact and identification of the causal toxic agent. 
    • Laboratory: cases with biological indicators of exposure or altered effects due to pesticides, with or without evident clinical symptoms. 
    • Legal medical findings: Deceased person with a diagnosis of pesticide poisoning, confirmed by legal-medical procedures, with the exception of cases of intentional suicide or death by homicide.


  • Evaluation of signs and symptoms related to acute pesticide poisoning.

  • Toxicological antecedents such as: smoker, alcohol consumption.

  • Demographic characteristics of the individuals.

  • Antecedents of occupational exposure to pesticides such as: workplace environment, use of pesticides, time of exposure, use of protective equipment, measures of hygiene and industrial safety.

  • Type of pesticides used.

  • Individual's perception of PECIG.

  • Results of biological tests to determine pesticides involved.


  • Determination of glyphosate and amino-methyl phosphonic acid (AMPA) in urine.

    •  50 mililiters of urine will be collected in polypropylene bottles with threaded covers; once taken the sample must remain frozen (in refrigerator).
  • Determination of organoclorados (OC) in blood (heptacloro, p-p, - DDT, aldrin, clordano-range, oxiclordano, heptacloro epoxido, hexaclorobenceno and p-p, - DDD).

    • 9.5 mililiter of blood will be collected without an anticoagulant in hard glass tubes of pyrex or similar type. The serums must remain refrigerated.
  • Determination of acetilcolinesterasa (Ache) in blood.

    • 0.5 mililiters will be taken from blood in ependorf tubes that contain sodica heparina as an anticoagulant. The samples will have to remain refrigerated.


  • All the collected samples will have to be sent as rapidly as possible. The blood samples only remain stable for 5 days in refrigeration after sampling and they will have to be processed during this period of time.


  • Clinical History

  • Informed Consent

  • Epidemiological survey of the study

  • Individual notification card of cases in case of acute pesticide poisoning.