Roundup Chemical in Your Cereal: What to Know

Roundup Chemical in Your Cereal: What to Know

High levels of glyphosate, a chemical found in a popular weedkiller, have been found in cereals and snack foods marketed to children in the USA, according to a new report. The group's test of 61 different oat-based cereals, granola bars and snack bars found that more than half of them contained glyphosate at levels higher than what they consider "protective of children's health".

In 2015, the World Health Organization's Internal Research on Cancer said that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans".

The highest levels were found in Quaker Old Fashioned Oats - 1,000 parts per billion (ppb) of glyphosate.

A California jury on August 10 found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company's glyphosate-based weed-killers, including Roundup, caused his cancer and ordered the company to pay $289 million in damages.

But last week, a California jury found that Monsanto failed to warn a school groundskeeper about a potential cancer risk increase from its herbicides, according to MarketWatch. The EPA should limit the use of glyphosate on food crops, including pre-harvest application.

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But makers of the foods EWG tested said they and their suppliers operate within US government safety guidelines and dismissed the group's findings as irrelevant.

EWG tested more than a dozen brands of oat-based foods to give Americans information about dietary exposures that government regulators are keeping secret.

Glyphosate is the main ingredient in weed killer and has been linked to cancer. The agency's assessment found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label. Most experts in the field agree saying there's very little evidence that glyphosate causes cancer or any other health problems.

What's more, about one-third of the 16 samples made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate, but at levels below EWG's benchmark.

"Glyphosate does not belong in cereal", Tenkin wrote. "No one wants to eat a weed killer for breakfast, and no one should have to do so", he added.

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The New York Times reports that Scott Partridge, vice president at Monsanto, the company that developed the herbicide more than 40 years ago, called the Environmental Working Group an "activist group" that has an agenda.

Thankfully, organic oats scored better - as one might expect. "The government must take steps to protect our most vulnerable populations", said Alexis Temkin, Ph.D, a toxicologist at the organization. "Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits and well within compliance of the safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Commission as safe for human consumption".

"Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels. The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow".

EWG President Ken Cook said in a press release that the group will push the EPA to review its policies on glyphosate and end the use of the product in crops. But he added, "If it could be established what a risky level amounts to I think that's important".

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