Organic Consumers Association

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Preharvest Use of Glyphosate Poisons Kids' Food

Glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup are the most heavily-used agricultural chemicals of all time, with 1.8 million tons being applied to U.S. fields alone since 1974. Alas, the popularity of this herbicide was built on reckless deceit, and there's really no telling how many people around the world have paid for Monsanto's lies with their lives.

August 10, 2018, a jury ruled Monsanto must pay $289 million in damages to Dewayne Johnson,1,2,3,4,5who developed a lethal form of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma following heavy exposure to Roundup during his work as a groundskeeper. The evidence brought forth in court was extensive and extraordinarily damning, clearly showing Monsanto acted with malice.

It knew Roundup was toxic and caused cancer, yet hid that fact from regulators and the public, fabricating evidence to the contrary and suppressing research showing harm. You can review key documents from this case on the U.S. Right to Know website.6

You can also read "Spinning Science & Silencing Scientists: A Case Study in How the Chemical Industry Attempts to Influence Science,"7 a report prepared for U.S. House members of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which details some of the most important pieces of evidence.

More than 5,000 additional plaintiffs are now waiting in the wings for their own day in court.8 All believe Roundup exposure caused their Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In a recent Highwire interview,9 Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is working on some of these cases, said he believes other disease categories may eventually be added to the growing mountain of lawsuits against Monsanto, as evidence suggests glyphosate and/or Roundup may also be linked to liver cancer, brain tumors and health problems associated with endocrine disruption.

Glyphosate Found in Common Breakfast Foods and Snacks

The same chemical shown to cause Johnson's lethal disease is also showing up in the food supply at potentially unsafe levels. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently commissioned independent laboratory tests to determine how much glyphosate is lurking in the U.S. food supply.

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing foods for glyphosate, and tests reportedly revealed "a fair amount" of residues, their findings have not yet been made public.10

EWG's testing revealed 43 out of 45 food products made with conventionally grown oats tested positive for glyphosate, 31 of which had glyphosate levels higher than EWG scientists believe would be protective of children's health.

Examples of foods with detectable levels of glyphosate include Quaker Dinosaur Eggs instant oatmeal, Cheerios cereal, Nature Valley granola bars, Quaker steel cut oats and Back to Nature Classic Granola.

Further, of 16 organic oat foods tested, five contained glyphosate, although at levels below EWG's health benchmark of 160 parts per billion (ppb). In 2016, tests11 conducted by the nonprofit organizations Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project also found glyphosate residues in a variety of foods including Doritos, Oreos and Stacy's Pita Chips.

Glyphosate has even been detected in PediaSure Enteral Formula nutritional drink, which is given to infants and children via feeding tubes. Thirty percent of the samples tested contained levels of glyphosate over 75 ppb — far higher levels than have been found to destroy gut bacteria in chickens (0.1 ppb).12

Children Likely Ingest Unsafe Levels of Glyphosate From Their Food

Exposure to glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicide formulations, even at low levels, has been linked to a variety of health risks. Daily exposure to ultra-low levels of glyphosate for two years led to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in rats,13 for instance, while the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that glyphosate is a "probable human carcinogen" in 2015.

As of July 2017, California's Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) also listed glyphosate as a chemical known to cause cancer under Proposition 65, which requires consumer products with potential cancer-causing ingredients to bear warning labels. According to EWG:14

"OEHHA has proposed a so-called No Significant Risk Level for glyphosate of 1.1 milligrams per day for an average adult of about 154 pounds. That level of exposure is more than 60 times lower than the safety level set by the Environmental Protection Agency."

Exposure to glyphosate at OEHHA's risk level would present an increased lifetime risk of cancer of 1 in 100,000 for an adult, but EWG points out that an additional tenfold margin of safety may be necessary to protect those most vulnerable, like children and fetuses. Using this methodology, virtually all of the foods tested by EWG could be damaging to human health:15

"With this additional children's health safety factor, EWG calculated that a 1-in-a-million cancer risk would be posed by ingestion of 0.01 milligrams of glyphosate per day. To reach this maximum dose, one would only have to eat a single 60-gram serving of food with a glyphosate level of 160 parts per billion, or ppb.

The majority of samples of conventional oat products from EWG's study exceeded 160ppb, meaning that a single serving of those products would exceed EWG's health benchmark …

The EPA has calculated that 1- to 2-year-old children are likely to have the highest [glyphosate] exposure, at a level twice greater than California's No Significant Risk Level and 230 times EWG's health benchmark."

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