Report: High levels of weedkiller chemical found in cereals, snacks aimed at U.S. children

Out of 45 samples, glyphosate was present in all but two, and almost three-quarters of the samples were found to have glyphosate levels that exceeded the EWG’s ‘health benchmark’.


High levels of glyphosate, a chemical found in a popular weedkiller, have been found in cereals and snack foods marketed to children in the U.S., according to a new report.

The findings come from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. After conducting analyses of common oat- and wheat-based food products, like Cheerios and Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, the group found glyphosate was present in all but two of 45 samples. Almost three-quarters of the samples were found to have glyphosate levels that exceeded the EWG’s ‘health benchmark’.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, a widely used weedkiller manufactured by Monsanto that was introduced to American markets in 1974. It’s not exactly clear how dangerous the chemical is for humans. The World Health Organization lists glyphosate as a ‘probable carcinogen’ and California says it’s known to cause cancer. Still, other scientists say the health risks are so minuscule that foods containing the chemical are basically safe to eat.

“When you’re dealing with something like that, a 1-in-a-million increased risk of cancer, I would say that isn’t a significant level to be particularly concerned about,” Michael Davoren, who studies molecular toxicology at UCLA and was not involved in the report, told WebMD.


The report comes a week after a court awarded $289 million to a former Monsanto groundskeeper who said he’d developed cancer after being exposed to glyphosate at his job. Monsanto Vice President Scott Partridge said in a statement:

Glyphosate “has a 40-year history of safe use and continues to be a vital, effective and safe tool for farmers and others. More than 800 scientific studies, the US EPA, the National Institutes of Health and regulators around the world have concluded that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer.”

The Environmental Protection Agency seems to agree, stating that “chronic dietary risk posed by glyphosate food uses is minimal.”

“According to the EPA, people should avoid consuming more than 2 mg of glyphosate for every kilogram of body weight,” Alex Berezow, senior fellow of biomedical science at the American Council on Science and Health, a nonprofit group that says it advocates for evidence-based science and medicine, told CNN.

“The good news is that nobody on Earth consumes anywhere near that amount of glyphosate ... The EWG fabricated its own safety standard so that they could promote organic food. They’ve been doing this for years -- ignoring the scientific literature in order to lobby for the organic industry.”

However, EWG President Ken Cook told The Guardian that the EPA has a “lawless” nature under the Trump administration and that companies should “step up” to reduce glyphosate in food to a level below what’s mandated.

“Our view is that the government standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency pose real health risks to Americans ­– particularly children, who are more sensitive to the effects of toxic chemicals than adults,” he said.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Space toilets: How astronauts boldly go where few have gone before

A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.

Videos
  • When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
  • Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
  • Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Photo: Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less