A chemical that is used for killing weeds, has been discovered in dozens of breakfast cereals that are available in the market. Alarmingly, this weed-killing chemical has been linked to cancer, making the discovery all the more significant.
A popular herbicide Roundup, which is used as a pesticide, contains glyphosate, an active ingredient, that tests reveal is capable of causing cancer. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) confirmed the results just recently, calling for a ban on its use.
The timing of these results could not have come at a worse time for Monsanto, the multinational corporation that manufactures Roundup. Monsanto has been ordered to pay $289 million to a school groundsman in the US after a court found that Roundup’s use contributed to the groundsman’s terminal cancer.
Tests reveal that two-thirds of oat products contain glyphosate levels that are above the recommended safe threshold.
Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, which is also available in Pakistani stores, were found to contain more than 1000 parts per billion (ppb) of glyphosate.
For comparison, EWG says that anything above 160 ppb is unsafe for children.
The active ingredient is used in the US and UK-based farms mostly. Monsanto has denied claims that link glyphosate use to the incidence of cancer, pointing to the fact that even EU has approved its use.
“It is very troubling that cereals children like to eat contain glyphosate, Parents shouldn’t worry about whether feeding their children heathy oat foods will also expose them to a chemical linked to cancer.” – Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist at EWG.
In 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as ‘probably carcinogenic’. A joint report by UN and WHO, a year later said the same thing, adding that there was “some evidence of a positive association between glyphosate exposure and risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma” in some studies.