Breakfast foods marketed to children contain cancer-causing weed killer, study says

Cereal killers Monsanto weedkiller that can ‘probably’ cause cancer found in children’s breakfasts

Bad news for anyone who likes to eat cereal, or granola bars, or anything that contains oats at all: a recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested 45 conventional oat products for the presence of glyphosate, and researchers found it in 43 of them.

At the time, the company's vice president, Scott Partridge, said in a statement, "More than 800 scientific studies, the U.S. EPA, the National Institutes of Health and regulators around the world have concluded that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer". Some of the products with the highest concentrations of the herbicide include Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Cereal and Back to Nature Classic Granola.

On 10 August, a California state jury ordered US-based Monsanto to pay $289 million in damages to Dewayne Lee Johnson, a former groundskeeper for the Benicia Unified School District in the San Francisco Bay area, who has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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In response to EWG's report, a Monsanto spokesperson said, "Even at the highest level reported by the EWG (1,300 ppb), an adult would have to eat 118 pounds of the food item every day for the rest of their life to reach the EPA's limit". Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal contained as much as 780 parts per billion in one sample.

The United States Food and Drug Administration, which regulates domestic and imported food to make sure it does not exceed levels set by the E.P.A., said that based on 2016 samples, it had not found any violations of E.P.A. standards with glyphosate.

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.

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The World Health Organization has classified glyphosate as a "probable human carcinogen", though the product's harm to humans is still being debated. Most experts in the field agree saying there's very little evidence that glyphosate causes cancer or any other health problems. Nearly three-quarters of the samples were found to have glyphosate levels that exceeded the EWG's "health benchmark".

"Glyphosate does not belong in cereal".

The EWG research team says there needs to be more attention and research into the risks to children over the long-term, which has not been studied. The chemical even showed up in several samples of organic oats.

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Dr. Jennifer Lowry, Chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health tells KTVU it is not uncommon to find pesticides in our food. Kellogg, for example, said its food is safe and that the ingredients it buys from suppliers fall under the EPA's "strict standards for safe levels of these agricultural residues". The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, for instance, has found that children between the ages of one and two have much higher exposure than older people. The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow as do farmers who grow crops including wheat and oats. It's not exactly clear how risky the chemical is for humans.

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