Glyphosate and Polyoxyethyleneamine Ingestion Leading to Renal, Hepatic, and Pulmonary Failure

ACS Citation

Bigner, J. A.; Fiester, S. E.; Fulcher, J. W.; Schammel, C. M. G.; Ward, M. E.; Burney, H. E.; Wheeler, J. F.; Wheeler, S. K.; Teuber, J. M. Glyphosate and polyoxyethyleneamine ingestion leading to renal, hepatic, and pulmonary failure, Am J Forensic Med Pathology, 2021, 42, 282-285.


Glyphosate is an organophosphorus compound and the active ingredient in commonly used herbicides, whereas polyoxyethyleneamine (POEA) is a nonionic surfactant often coupled with glyphosate in these herbicides to increase their efficacy. Cases of glyphosate-POEA ingestion have shown a variety of outcomes, ranging from skin and mucosal surface irritation to death. Here, we report mortality after ingestion of at least 237 mL of an herbicide confirmed to contain both glyphosate and POEA. The decedent's electronic medical record indicates presentation to the emergency department shortly after ingestion and rapid decompensation, with death occurring on the fourth day of admission. The autopsy report showed extensive pulmonary edema and congestion with no alimentary tract abnormalities. Microscopically, airway inflammation, edema, and hemorrhage were shown as well as pericentral necrosis and macrovascular hepatic steatosis. This case is unusual for several reasons including the fatal outcome in a young 30-year-old patient, the large volume of the herbicide consumed, the associated large volume aspirated, and the lung pathology associated with exposure to glyphosate-POEA since inhalation, and in this case, aspiration is an uncommon route of glyphosate-POEA exposure. This report therefore offers rare respiratory tract pathological findings and the clinical course after aspiration of a large volume of glyphosate-POEA.

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The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology

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