Sci-tech

Unsafe levels of weed killer chemical found in cereals marketed to children

Unsafe levels of weed killer chemical found in cereals marketed to children

Popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars come with a hefty dose of the weed-killing poison in Roundup, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG.

Even so, a 2015 decision by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer declared glyphosate, which prevents plants from photosynthesizing, a probable carcinogen.

But just last week, a jury in California ordered Monsanto to pay one man $289 million in damages after he claimed the company's weed killers caused his cancer. "Parents should not have to wonder whether feeding their children these heathy foods will also expose them to a pesticide that increases the risk of cancer", EWG said in the report.

He attributes his condition to the company's proprietary herbicide glyphosate he used. "Quaker does not add glyphosate during any part of the milling process".

250 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on American crops every year, but the highest concentrations of the chemical are found in non-GMO wheat, barley, oats, and beans.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient found in the most heavily used pesticide in the United States called Monsanto's weed-killer Roundup.

What's high? Well, the EWG suggests kids shouldn't be exposed to more than 160 parts per billion per day (ppb).

Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a risk assessment that "concludes that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans". The oat products we tested from a number of other companies had glyphosate levels well below our children's health-protective benchmark, so it is possible to produce and sell foods that do not contain unsafe levels of glyphosate.

A government website listing federal regulations shows the minimum glyphosate residue allowed on cereal grains is 30,000 parts per billion, far higher than the EWG recommendations.

In April, internal emails obtained from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that scientists have found glyphosate on a wide range of commonly consumed food, to the point that they were finding it hard to identify a food without the chemical on it.

In 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency found traces of the chemical in almost 30 per cent of the 3,200 food samples it tested. But there haven't yet been human studies of the health effects of glyphosate exposure in food, and though there have been studies of farmworkers and more studies in animals, there are relatively few studies overall.

"We don't think it does enough in particular to protect children", he said.

A General Mills spokeswoman told The Times, "Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels". But he added, "If it could be established what a risky level amounts to I think that's important". "Over those four decades, researchers have conducted more than 800 scientific studies and reviews that prove glyphosate is safe for use". Along with that, on December 18, the company even posted on their website a statement by the EPA, "The draft human health risk assessment concludes that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans".