Glyphosate, the chemical that has long been linked to cancer by many health authorities, was found in oats, snack bars, and granolas. These products are often used to make baby food, and according to the study, 31 out of 45 of the sample products showed large amounts of the chemical, which is more than what scientists consider to be safe for consumption.
EWG’s vice president of government affairs, Scott Faber, said that he and his team are concerned about what they are seeing.
"We're very concerned that consumers are eating more glyphosate than they know," he told reporters.
Unfortunately, many of the crops are treated with Monsanto weed-killer Roundup, making crops vulnerable to becoming contaminated.
Products that showed high traces of the chemical included Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, Quaker Dinosaur Egg Instant Oats, Great Value Instant Oats, Cheerios, and Back to Nature Classic Granola.
Even a few organic items showed traces of the herbicide, except the levels were non-detectable.
Dr. Jennifer Lowry, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Environmental Health said she was shocked when she saw the report.
"We don't know a lot about the effects of glyphosate on children," Lowry said. "And essentially we're just throwing it at them."
While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets a limit of glyphosate that is considered “safe,” EWG’s Faber said that’s not enough.
"We don't think it does enough in particular to protect children," he said.
Last week, Monsanto was ordered to pay a man $289 million in damages. He had claimed that the glyphosate in their weed-killers had caused his cancer. Still, the company said that the chemical does not cause cancer.
In a statement, the company said that "glyphosate does not cause cancer" and that it "has a more than 40-year history of safe use."
When responding to EWG’s study, the company added that "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.
General Mills, the company behind Quaker oats, also responded, saying that its products are not dangerous.
"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,” a statement read. "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."
To food safety activists such as Zen Honeycutt, the head of Moms Across America, however, this latest study shows that the EPA needs to do more to protect our children.
"It is time now for them to step up and do their jobs to ban glyphosate," Honeycutt said.
She explained that after her three sons developed allergies and other health issues, her family switched to an organic-only diet.
"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," Honeycutt said.
Just last week Monsanto was ordered to pay more than $200M after lawsuit claimed its products cause cancer....Now This:— Avajoye Burnett (@AvajoyeWJZ) August 15, 2018
Weed-Killing Chemical Linked To Cancer Found In Some Children's Breakfast Foods https://t.co/QVRJW9ozY9
Even after this report was released, companies continue to downplay the presence of dangerous chemicals in their products. And what’s even more shocking is they do so with items consumed by babies and young children.
Thankfully, we have groups like the EWG investigating these items and helping activists to make their cases. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the President Donald Trump administration will pay attention to their concerns.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Edgard Garrido