A new report conducted by the Environmental Working Group recently found that a number of breakfast foods and cereals may contain trace amounts of glyphosate, a commonly used weed-killing chemical that has been linked to cancer.
Researchers found that 31 out of the 45 food products they tested had higher amounts of the herbicide present than what some scientists consider safe for children to ingest. Although experts have been aware of trace amounts of glyphosate in products for a few years now, groups like the EWG are trying to ensure it stays out of the food we eat because it's been previously linked to cancer by the World Health Organization and scientists in California.
Scott Faber, the vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, told CBS that the findings were extremely unsettling: "We're very concerned that consumers are eating more glyphosate than they know," adding that glyphosate — aka the most active chemical in Monsanto's Roundup fertilizer — was found in "45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats."
As for the foods to look out for? Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, Quaker Dinosaur Egg Instant Oats, Great Value Instant Oats, and Back to Nature Classic Granola were all found to have trace amounts of glyphosate in them.
Ken Cook, the president of the EWG, said the findings are unacceptable and that the EWG plans to petition the Environmental Protection Agency.
"No one wants to eat a weed killer for breakfast, and no one should have to do so."
"I grew up eating Cheerios and Quaker Oats long before they were tainted with glyphosate," he said. "No one wants to eat a weed killer for breakfast, and no one should have to do so . . . We will petition the Environmental Protection Agency to do its job and end uses of glyphosate that resulted in the contamination we report today."
Although medical experts aren't sure exactly how glyphosate affects children, they suggest that even trace amounts are too much to ingest. Dr. Jennifer Lowry, the head of the Council on Environmental Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said that the report is alarming, to say the least: "We don't know a lot about the effects of glyphosate on children. And essentially we're just throwing it at them."
Monsanto, the company that provides the genetically modified seeds used to grow the affected oat products, is denying these claims. The brand released a statement saying that "glyphosate does not cause cancer" and that the herbicide "has a more than 40-year history of safe use." Monsanto added that "even at the highest level reported . . . an adult would have to eat 118 pounds of the food item every day for the rest of their life in order to reach the EPA's limit."
Quaker also released a statement about the findings, ensuring parents that its products are safe to eat: "We proudly stand by the safety and quality of our Quaker products. Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits of the safety standards set by the EPA and the European Commission as safe for human consumption."
But Zen Honeycutt, the head of Moms Across America, a group dedicated to raising health awareness, said those reassurances aren't good enough. "We want to trust that what is in the grocery store is safe, and the shocking reality is that in many cases it's not."