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More children’s cereals contaminated with cancer-causing weedkiller identified in new round of tests by EWG

Cheerios Fills the Full FrameA toxic weed-killer linked to cancer was detected in every sample of oat-based cereals and snack products in a new round of tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group.

All but four of the 21 products contained levels of glyphosate, the main ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup, higher than what EWG scientists consider safe for children’s health.

The highest levels of the weed-killer were detected in General Mills’ Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch at 833 parts per billion, or ppb, and Cheerios, with 729 ppb. The EWG’s health benchmark for children is 160 ppb. A child would only need to eat a single 60-gram serving of food with a glyphosate level of 160 ppb to reach the maximum dose considered safe by the EWG.

This is the third round of glyphosate tests by the EWG, and it confirms the findings from the first two in August and October of last year. Tests of 94 samples of oat-based foods found glyphosate in all but two samples, with 74 samples at levels of glyphosate above EWG’s health benchmark.

The EWG said more than 236,000 people have asked General Mills, Quaker, and other companies in a petition to use oats that weren’t sprayed with the weed-killer, but General Mills has refused.

“As these latest tests show, a box of Cheerios or other oat-based foods on store shelves today almost certainly comes with a dose of a cancer-causing weed-killer,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., vice president for science investigations at the EWG.

Each year, more than 250 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on crops in the United States, mostly on “Roundup-ready” corn and soybeans genetically engineered to withstand the herbicide. However, glyphosate is now being applied to non-GMO wheat, barley, oats, and beans. The weedkiller kills the crop, drying it out so it can be harvested sooner.

In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” to people. In 2017, the herbicide was also listed by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer.

Recently, three courts in California ordered Bayer-Monsanto to pay more than $2 billion after each of the juries found glyphosate caused non-Hodgkin lymphoma in four people who used Roundup.


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