Toxic Weed Killer on The Menu in K-12 Schools Across America

By - December 10, 2018
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An alarming new report by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has families across America concerned, as it found high levels of the dangerous weed killer glyphosate in more than 70% of oat-based breakfast foods that are commonly fed to children in K-12 schools across America. (1).

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the popular weed killer Roundup. It is the most-used herbicide on earth. It is heavily applied on major crops used to make much of the food of the country that feed our children in their critical formative years, including corn, soybeans, oats, and hundreds of other crops. After these crops are harvested, glyphosate-infused grains pollute our foods, especially breakfast cereals and nutrition bars so popular with our youth.

Overall, almost 70 percent of the K-12 oat-based breakfast products tested were contaminated with glyphosate at levels above this health-protective standard of 160 ppb. (1).

How CEH Performed Its Tests

CEH performed tests on 13 favorite breakfast foods commonly served to children every day. The report put a priority on school districts with high levels of participation in the National School Breakfast Program; lower-income children are often more exposed to toxic chemicals than higher -income children. Breakfast items containing the highest levels of glyphosate were:

  • Quaker Maple, Brown Instant Oatmeal
  • Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats

CEH did not detect glyphosate residue any certified organic cereals tested.

Glyphosate’s Notoriously Reputation Exposed by the WHO

In 2015, the World Health Organization identified glyphosate as a ‘probable human carcinogen.’ And, in 2017, the state environmental protection agency in California listed it as a chemical in the state known to cause cancer. (This action was later overturned by a federal judge in a highly controversial ruling). (5).

Glyphosate, Non-Hodgkin’s’ Lymphoma and Other Deadly Maladies

Glyphosate is suspected of causing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other serious cancers. This year, a California jury handed down a $289 million verdict in favor of a former San Francisco groundskeeper whose cancer was most likely caused by massive exposure to glyphosate in Roundup. (3).

Glyphosate is also known to cause disruptions with chemicals in the endocrine system and is thus termed an EDC. EDCs can interfere with crucial hormones in the body and have been linked not only to cancer, but diabetes, stroke and reproductive health issues. Some of these health issues can even be handed down to your children.

It is vital to note that glyphosate cannot be washed off or boiled away in food preparation. It is inevitably part of the crop or crops of which the food is based, whether it is corn, oats, soybeans, or wheat. (6).

EDCs can be harmful in very low doses over the long term, just the type of dose you can be exposed to by eating foods that contain tiny amounts of glyphosate. EPA estimates show that glyphosate residue exposure in foods in the US has quadrupled over the past 25 years. Children are more likely to be exposed than adults. Biomonitoring studies in the past few years have detected glyphosate in 70-93% of the US population. (4).

EPA reports that children are more vulnerable to toxic herbicides such as glyphosate because of: (2).

  • Different physiology: The nervous, immune, digestive and other systems are still in development. Developing body systems are less able to detoxify and excrete dangerous pollutants. A child’s system has less natural protection than an adult’s system. Children also breathe in more air than adults, thus exposing them to double the pollutants.
  • Different behavior: Children play outside more in grass, on ball fields and on play equipment where pesticides may lurk. They also crawl on the floor often and are in full contact with dirty carpets. Their hand to mouth contact is more frequent, making them in greater danger of ingesting toxins.

CEH Sounds the Alarm on Glyphosate in Children’s Food

According to Caroline Cox, Research Director for CEH, the report’s findings are alarming for the health of our children because their bodies are still under development. This fact makes them far more vulnerable to toxic chemicals in Roundup and other pesticides. She noted that school children should not be exposed to Monsanto’s dangerous glyphosate. School nutrition providers and parents should not need to worry about pesticide contamination in school foods – a pesticide that has been linked to severe cancers and hormone disruption.

The report comes just months after the August 2018 ruling in California that Monsanto’s product caused Dewayne Johnson’s terminal cancer. The $289 million award was eventually reduced to $78.5 million, but that colossal decision has paved the way for more than 8,000 other glyphosate cancer lawsuits. The findings of CEH are in line with a growing number of studies that show glyphosate is present in foods given to children.

Other studies showing the presence of glyphosate in children’s food include those by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Moms Across America, Food Democracy Now, and FDA. (1).

Alternatives to Dangerous Glyphosate-Tainted Foods Offered

The CEH report offers several recommendations to reduce children’s exposure to glyphosate:

  • Schools should provide more organic food options
  • Offer more resources to put public pressure on elected officials and agency regulators to do more to protect children from dangerous EDCs
  • Suggest schools serving a breakfast product not tested to reach out to CEH to submit a sample to check for residue of glyphosate.

Are you concerned about deadly weed killer pesticides infesting the food your children eat?

References

Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett is Editor-in-Chief of WeedKillerCrisis. Since 1999, he's worked across a multitude of areas of consumer protection including defective products, environmental issues, identity theft, predatory lending and more.

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