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Your Kid’s Cereal Might Be Laced With Weed Killer

Photograph by Twenty20

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit consumer-protection organization, is warning the public, particularly those with children, about an independent lab study concerning popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars. The EWG found that many contain glyphosate, a broad-spectrum herbicide and active ingredient found in Roundup weed killer that is said to be linked to cancer by California state scientists and the World Health Organization.

Based on the findings, traces of the glyphosate were found "in all but two of 45 samples of products made with conventionally grown oats." That means that many of the brands we've come to know and love—Quaker Oats, Kellogg’s, Nature Valley and General Mills (to name a few)—have been selling breakfast and snack foods that contain pesticides.

And yes, this includes Cheerios and Lucky Charms. (Cue heartbreak.)

“I grew up eating Cheerios and Quaker Oats long before they were tainted with glyphosate,” said EWG’s president, Ken Cook, in a statement on the organization's website. “No one wants to eat a weed killer for breakfast, and no one should have to do so.”

No one wants to eat a weed killer for breakfast, and no one should have to do so.

He went on to say that EWG plans to “petition the Environmental Protection Agency to do its job and end uses of glyphosate that resulted in the contamination we report today."

Cook adds that EWG is also calling on those "companies to make these iconic products with clean ingredients."

The report claims that nearly three-fourths of the samples provided showed levels of glyphosate that were “higher than what scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.” About one-third of 16 samples, made with organically grown oats, also had glyphosate “all at levels well below EWG’s health benchmark."

To add fuel to the fire, EWG says that internal emails, obtained back in April by the nonprofit U.S. Right to Know, revealed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food for glyphosate for two years and has found “a fair amount.” According to EWG, they have yet to release these findings.

“It is very troubling that cereals children like to eat contain glyphosate,” said Alexis Temkin, EWG toxicologist and author of the report. “Parents shouldn’t worry about whether feeding their children healthy oat foods will also expose them to a chemical linked to cancer. The government must take steps to protect our most vulnerable populations.”

In the meantime, EWG is urging consumers to “call on companies to rid their products of glyphosate,” by signing their petition. At the very least, read the labels and make sure the foods you are eating and serving your family do not contain glyphosate.

A full list of products tested can be found in EWG’s August report—but remember, they only tested 45.

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