Some popular cereals, oats and snack bars sold on local supermarket shelves could be at risk of containing traces of the chemical found in Round Up. But what if our go-to breakfasts like granola bars, cereals, and instant oats are actually unsafe for us? But for the average person who uses it occasionally for yard work, are Roundup and other weed killers still safe to use? Of the 45 items made with conventionally grown oats, 43 tested positive, with 31 above the organization's threshold for safety.
However, the human health effects of glyphosate remain uncertain, because the product has additional chemical ingredients that, individually or combined, might be carcinogenic, among other reasons. Glyphosate has a more than 40-year history of safe use.
Roundup is the most popular weedkiller in the U.S., and last week a court in California ordered the company to pay $39 million in compensation and $250 million in punitive damages to a school groundskeeper who developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma after years of using Roundup at work. The patient says his illness was caused by repeated exposure to Roundup and other glyphosate-based products. Last week, Monsanto was ordered to pay US$289 million in damages in a lawsuit that linked its weedkiller and cancer.
"It is very troubling that cereals children like to eat contain glyphosate", said Alexis Temkin, an EWG toxicologist and author of the report. In California, based on that ruling, glyphosate is now listed under a registry of chemicals known to cause cancer; the state has proposed that an average adult can be exposed to 1.1 milligrams of the chemical per day with no significant risk (The EPA, which does not consider glyphosate a carcinogen, suggests the limit is 2 milligrams per kilogram of body weight a day, or 140 milligrams for an average adult).
Quaker Oats continues to "proudly stand by the safety and quality of our Quaker products", a spokesman said.
Monsanto, however, says it plans to appeal the court's decision and the verdict "does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews - and conclusions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world - support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr. Johnson's cancer". "Quaker does not add glyphosate during any part of the milling process".
Now of course we have to present the EPA's side: The EPA denies that glyphosate may increase the risk of cancer. In April, internal emails obtained by the nonprofit US Right to Know revealed that the Food and Drug Administration has been testing food for glyphosate for two years and has found "a fair amount", but the FDA has not released its findings. It is also sprayed just before harvest on wheat, barley, oats and beans to kill the crop and allow earlier harvest.
Simply stated, there is far too much glyphosate in their products for parents to feel comfortable feeding them to their kids. "And depending on weather patterns it could drift into their farms and get onto their foods", she said.