A new report found glyphosate, a weed-killing chemical that health authorities link to cancer, in a number of popular breakfast foods and cereals marketed to children. The study by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered trace amounts of the most widely used herbicide in the country in oats, granolas and snack bars. Thirty-one out of 45 tested products had levels higher than what some scientists consider safe for children.
Glyphosate is the most-widely used herbicide in the U.S., Alexis Temkin, EWG’s toxicologist, said in a recent interview. The tested products — which include popular brands like Cheerios, Lucky Charms and Quaker — do not violate the legal limit of glyphosate set by Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has its own regulations for the amount of the herbicide it says is safe to consume, but there’s a lot of controversy here: California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment proposes a glyphosate exposure level that is more than 60 times lower than the level set by the EPA. The EWG’s measurements are even lower, as the group considers the fact that children are more susceptible to carcinogens.
In the chart published by EWG, a sample of Quaker’s Old Fashioned Oats was found to have 1,300 parts per billion of glyphosate, the greatest amount found within the 45 products tested.
“We’re very concerned that consumers are eating more glyphosate than they know,” said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at EWG. He has been working to improve food safety standards for more than a decade. He said he and his team at EWG had a lab test involving “45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats” and found glyphosate – the active ingredient in the Monsanto weed-killer Roundup – in all but two.
EWG used its own, more stringent standards to conclude that products with excessive levels of the herbicide included Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, Cheerios, Quaker Dinosaur Egg Instant Oats, Great Value Instant Oats, and Back to Nature Classic Granola. Glyphosate was even found in a few organic products, though most had non-detectable levels.
The World Health Organization says glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen,” and California lists it as a chemical “known to the state to cause cancer.” Monsanto disputes that, saying in a statement, “glyphosate does not cause cancer” and “has a more than 40-year history of safe use.”
Last week, a California jury found that Monsanto had failed to warn a school groundskeeper of the cancer risks posed by its weedkiller, Roundup, of which glyphosate is an active ingredient. The man’s lawyers said he developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using the weedkiller as part of his job as a pest control manager for a California county school system.
Monsanto was ordered to pay $289 million in damages. The company says it is facing more than 5,200 similar lawsuits.
Some research points to other potential health effects of glyphosate. In a study published last year in Scientific Reports, a journal from the publishers of Nature, rats that consumed very low doses of glyphosate each day showed early signs of fatty liver disease within three months, which worsened over time.
Both Quaker Oats and General Mills, which makes Cheerios, said that their products were safe and met federal standards.
“While our products comply with all safety and regulatory requirements, we are happy to be part of the discussion and are interested in collaborating with industry peers, regulators and other interested parties on glyphosate,” a Quaker spokesman said Wednesday.
A General Mills spokeswoman said, “Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels.”
If you or a loved one have been affected by or have developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma due to Monsanto Roundup, contact Chhabra & Gibbs, P.A. today by calling 601-948-8005 or by using our live chat here on our site. We are currently accepting these cases and there is no fee to meet with you.