Stop!!! Back Away from the Cheerios and Lucky Charms

As a parent of small children I’m willing to assume I am not alone in my choice to pour some Cheerios into a container on the go… or sprinkle a hand full of the cereal on the high chair tray for the baby to play with and snack. It’s not uncommon.

Yet it has been in the news lately that Cheerios along with several other foods are laced with a healthy dose of cancer causing weed killer. Roundup…. GREAT!!!!! Here is what you need to know.

Popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars come with a hefty dose of the weed-killing poison in Monsanto’s Roundup, according to independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG. These new findings come days after a California jury awarded $289 million to a school groundskeeper who claimed Roundup gave him  lymphoma.

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EWG’s tests found glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats. More than two thirds of the samples had glyphosate levels above what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.

Glyphosate has been linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization. The California case that ended Friday was the first of reportedly thousands of lawsuits against Monsanto. These suits have been brought by farm workers and others who allege that they developed cancer from years of exposure to Roundup.

“I grew up eating Cheerios and Quaker Oats long before they were tainted with glyphosate,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “No one wants to eat a weed killer for breakfast, and no one should have to do so.

Oat-based foods are a healthy source of fiber and nutrients for children and adults, and oat consumption is linked to health benefits such as lowered cholesterol and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. EWG’s findings raise the prospect that millions of American children are being exposed to a suspected carcinogen at a time when their bodies are rapidly developing.

“It is very troubling that cereals children like to eat contain glyphosate,” said Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., EWG toxicologist and author of the report.  “Parents shouldn’t worry about whether feeding their children heathy oat foods will also expose them to a chemical linked to cancer. The government must take steps to protect our most vulnerable populations.”

About one-third of 16 samples of foods made with organically grown oats also had glyphosate, all at levels well below EWG’s health benchmark. Glyphosate may get in organic oats by drifting from nearby farm fields, or cross-contamination in a processing facility that also handles non-organic foods.

The EPA has denied that glyphosate may increase the risk of cancer. Documents introduced in the California trial showed how the agency and Monsanto worked together to promote the claim that the chemical is safe.

EWG is urging the EPA to review all evidence linking glyphosate to increased cancer risk and other adverse health effects in human and animal studies. The EPA should limit the use of glyphosate on food crops, including the practice of applying it just before harvesting.

In the absence of EPA action, “It’s up to consumers to call on companies to rid their products of glyphosate,” Cook said. “EWG’s consumer campaign focusing on oat-based foods is only a start to ending human exposure to glyphosate.”

According to the test the highest levels, greater than 1,000 ppb, were detected in two samples of Quaker Old Fashioned Oats. Three samples of Cheerios had glyphosate levels ranging from 470 ppb to 530 ppb. Twelve of the food samples had levels of glyphosate lower than EWG’s health benchmark, ranging from 10 ppb to 120 ppb. Only two samples had no detectable glyphosate.

Glyphosate was also detected at concentrations of 10 ppb to 30 ppb in five of 16 samples made with organic oats. The five samples came from two brands of organic rolled oats: Bob’s Red Mill and Nature’s Path. A third brand of organic rolled oats and all other organic oat products tested did not contain detectable concentrations of glyphosate.

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