Ever since glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, was declared a “probable human carcinogen” in spring 2015, consumer and activist groups have been scrambling to expose the truth about this growing threat to the health of humans and wildlife.
Perhaps one of the most health damaging practices of all is the process of “burning down” crops prior to their harvest in the fields with glyphosate, which causes the plants to soak up the toxic chemicals before passing them on to humans or animals that eat them.
Monsanto and Bayer have no problem with it, of course, considering that their jobs are to sell as much of the herbicide as possible.
But now, a congresswoman from Connecticut is taking aim at the controversial practice, introducing legislation to ban it outright on the grounds that it is damaging to human health.
Legislation Would Ban Late Harvest Spraying of Oats
This past week Rep. Rosa DeLaura of Connecticut introduced legislation to dramatically limit American children’s exposure to glyphosate by introducing the bill, which would ban late-harvest spraying on oats and also require the federal government to test foods popular with children for the cancer-linked herbicide.
Her bill would also lower by 300-fold the permissible level of glyphosate residues on oats, restoring the legally allowed level to just .1 parts per million (ppm), according to a report from the Environmental Working Group.
The bill would also require the Department of Agriculture to regularly test fruits, vegetables and other foods routinely fed to infants and children for glyphosate residues.
“We applaud Rep. DeLauro for once again advocating on behalf of children’s health,” said Colin O’Neil, EWG’s legislative director.
“No parent should worry whether feeding their children healthy oat-based foods will also expose them to a chemical linked to cancer. We know farmers can harvest oats without glyphosate, and to protect kids’ health, this needlessly risky practice must stop.”
Glyphosate is also sprayed as a weedkiller, often on genetically modified crops like corn and soybeans that have been engineered in a laboratory by Monsanto, Bayer, or other companies to withstand large doses of the chemicals.
Over the past two decades, the EPA has increased the level of glyphosate residue allowed on oats from .1 ppm to 30 ppm, in large part to accommodate Canadian oat farmers.
Last year, independent laboratory tests commissioned by the EWG found glyphosate residues in Cheerios, as well as Quaker Oats and oatmeal, popular oat-based foods marketed to children.
Almost three-fourths of all samples had glyphosate residue levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.
The bill, if passed, could change the country’s priorities in terms of how it focuses on children’s health.
“It is shocking that USDA’s annual pesticide residue survey fails to include the most widely used pesticide in America,” O’Neil said.
“Parents deserve to know how much of the food they buy and feed their children could potentially be contaminated with a highly toxic chemical listed by the state of California as a substance known to cause cancer. DeLauro’s bill is an important first step toward providing that information for consumers.”
Full results on oat testing from EWG’s August 2018 tests can be found on their website here.
In total, 43 of 45 brands breakfast products using conventional oats tested had some level of glyphosate in them, and three-quarters of them had levels well in excess of EWG’s health benchmark of 160 ppm.
Products testing free of glyphosate were most;y of the organic variety, including Kashi’s Heart To Heart Honey Toasted Oat Cereal (which can be found on Amazon.com), 365 Organic Old-Fashioned Oats from Whole Foods’ product line, and Nature’s Path Organic Honey Almond Granola.
The two non-organic products found to be free of glyphosate were KIND Oats & Honey with Toasted Coconut, as well as the Bob’s Red Mill brand oats product, although both each tested positive on half of their tests. Bob’s Red Mill’s second test was recorded at 300 ppm, nearly double the safe limit recommended by EWG.