Glyphosate, the potentially cancer-causing chemical used in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, has once again turned up in some of the nation’s most popular breakfast foods and snacks.
The tests, which were conducted by the Environmental Working Group, included 10 samples of General Mills’ Cheerios and 18 samples of Quaker’s instant oatmeal, breakfast cereals, and snacks.
Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal tested for the highest levels of glyphosate, at 2,837 parts per billion, or ppb.
All but two of the 28 samples tested contained levels of glyphosate above the group’s own health benchmark of 160 ppb.
That benchmark is far lower than the glyphosate limits set by the federal government. In justifying its lower benchmark, the Environmental Working Group maintains that “small, repeated exposures can add up if someone eats food containing glyphosate every day.”
“How many bowls of cereal and oatmeal have American kids eaten that came with a dose of weed killer? That’s a question only General Mills, PepsiCo and other food companies can answer,” EWG President Ken Cook said in an October 24th press release. “But if those companies would just switch to oats that aren’t sprayed with glyphosate, parents wouldn’t have to wonder if their kids’ breakfasts contained a chemical linked to cancer. Glyphosate and other cancer-causing chemicals simply don’t belong in children’s food, period.”
This isn’t the first time the Environmental Working Group has found glyphosate in popular foods and snacks. Just two months ago, the group announced that an earlier round of tests had detected the chemical in all but two of 45 samples of foods made with conventionally grown oats, and in roughly 1/3 of 16 products made with organic oats.
Roundup is the most popular weed killer in the world, and is widely used in agricultural settings.
However, in March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen, following a review that linked exposure to an increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and its various subtypes.
Thousands of Roundup lawsuits have been filed in courts around the United States on behalf of individuals diagnosed with cancer following repeated exposure to glyphosate. The nation’s first such trial concluded in August, when a San Francisco jury awarded $289 million in compensatory and punitive to a former groundskeeper with terminal non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The judge overseeing that case recently upheld the jury’s finding that Roundup caused his cancer. However, she slashed the plaintiff’s punitive damages by more than $210 million to comply with the California state constitution’s limits on such awards.