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NEW YORK (CBSMiami) – Some popular breakfast foods and cereals marketed to children contain a weed-killing chemical that some health authorities have linked to cancer.
New research out Wednesday morning discovered trace amounts of glyphosate in oats, granolas, and snack bars.
“We’re very concerned that consumers are eating more glyphosate than they know,” said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs with the Environmental Working Group.
Faber has been working to improve food safety standards for more than a decade.
Faber said his team at the non-profit EWG had a lab test “45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats.” They found glyphosate, the active ingredient in the Monsanto weed-killer RoundUp, in all but two samples.
“I was shocked,” said Dr. Jennifer Lowry.
Dr. Lowry 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,” said Lowry, “And essentially we’re just kind of 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 Clusters.
Glyphosate was even found in a few organic products, though most had non-detectable levels.
The World Health Organization says glyphosate is a “probable carcinogen.” California lists it as a chemical “known to the state to cause cancer”.
Monsanto disputes that, saying in a statement, “glyphosate does not cause cancer” and “has a more than 40-year history of safe use.”
Monsanto also criticized EWG’s research, saying “even at the highest level reported an adult would have to eat 118 pounds of the food item every day for the rest of their life in order to reach the EPA’s limit” for glyphosate residues.
Last week, a jury in California ordered Monsanto to pay one man $289-million dollars in damages after he claimed the company’s weed-killers caused his cancer.
Faber said he’s skeptical of EPA’s glyphosate limits.
“We don’t think it does enough in particular to protect children,” he said.
Zen Honeycutt heads ‘Moms Across America’, a group formed to raise awareness about toxic exposures. Her family switched to an organic-only diet after her three sons developed allergies and other health problems.
“We want to trust that what is in the grocery store is safe and the shocking reality is that in many cases it’s not,” said Honeycutt.
Quaker responded to the EWG’s report with a statement which read in part, “We proudly stand by the safety and quality of our Quaker products. Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits of the safety standards set by the EPA and the European Commission as safe for human consumption.”
General Mills responded by saying, “Our products are safe and without question they meet regulatory safety levels. The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow.”