A new report found glyphosate, a weed-killing chemical that some health authorities link to cancer, in a number of popular breakfast foods and cereals marketed to children. The study by the non-profit Environmental Working Group(EWG) discovered trace amounts of the most widely used herbicide in the country in oats, granolas and snack bars. Thirty-one out of 45 tested products had levels higher than what some scientists consider safe for children.
Recently, some scientists, doctors and activists around the world have worked to keep glyphosate out of crops due to concerns that it is a dangerous carcinogen.
"We're very concerned that consumers are eating more glyphosate than they know," said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at EWG. He has been working to improve food safety standards for more than a decade. He said he and his team at EWG had a lab test involving "45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats" and found glyphosate – the active ingredient in the Monsanto weed-killer Roundup – in all but two.
"I was shocked," said Dr. Jennifer Lowry, who heads the Council on Environmental Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"We don't know a lot about the effects of glyphosate on children," Lowry said. "And essentially we're just throwing it at them."
EWG used its own, more stringent standards to conclude that products with excessive levels of the herbicide included Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, Cheerios, Quaker Dinosaur Egg Instant Oats, Great Value Instant Oats, and Back to Nature Classic Granola. Glyphosate was even found in a few organic products, though most had non-detectable levels.
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