Roundup herbicide found in Cheerios, among other best-selling American food products


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Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready herbicide, has been detected at high levels in Original Cheerios, Honeynut Cheerios and many other American food products. (Nicholas Erwin/flickr)
Jenna Ladd | December 16, 2016

The active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready herbicide, glyphosate, has been detected at high levels in a variety of best-selling food products in the United States.

Researchers with U.S. Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project used liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to perform the first independent glyphosate residue testing of popular American food products. The results reveal alarmingly high levels of glyphosate in food products such as Cheerios, Wheaties, Special K, Doritos and Kashi products, among many others.

These results were published shortly after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency postponed hearings which were to explore glyphosate’s link to cancer in humans. In 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a class 2A “probable carcinogen.”

Dave Murphy, Executive Director of Food Democracy Now!, said, “Frankly, such a high level of glyphosate contamination found in Cheerios, Doritos, Oreos and Stacy’s Pita Chips are alarming and should be a wake-up call for any parent trying to feed their children safe, healthy and non-toxic food.”

Use of glyphosate-based herbicides has been growing steadily over the last 20 years. According to one study by Environmental Sciences Europe, the United States has applied 1.8 million tons of the chemical since its introduction to the market in 1974. Independent peer-reviewed research has shown that exposure of glyphosate at 0.05 parts per billion (ppb) can alter gene function in the liver and kidneys of rats over the course of two years. Glyphosate was detected at 1,125.3 ppb in Original Cheerios.

Murphy added, “It’s time for regulators at the EPA and the White House to stop playing politics with our food and start putting the wellbeing of the American public above the profits of chemical companies like Monsanto.”

The Environmental Protection Agency set the allowable daily glyphosate intake at 1.75 milligrams per kilogram of body weight in the 1970’s and 80’s, following the results of industry-funded studies. Researchers with U.S. Food Democracy Now! and The Detox Project call for the allowable daily intake to be reduced to 0.025 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, twelve times lower than the current allowable limit.

Dr. Michael Antoniou, a molecular geneticist from London, reacted to the study. He said,

“With increasing evidence from a growing number of independent peer-reviewed studies from around the world showing that the ingestion of glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup can result in a wide range of chronic illnesses, it’s urgent that regulators at the EPA reconsider the allowed levels of glyphosate in American’s food and work to limit continued exposure to this pervasive chemical in as large a section of the human population as possible.”

These findings add to local concerns regarding high amounts glyphosate residue found in Iowa’s Sue Bee honey. The Sioux City-based company is now facing ligation from Beyond Pesticides and the Organic Consumers Association for allegedly inaccurately labeling their products as “all-natural” and “100% pure.”

Iowa honey found to contain high levels of pesticide residue


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Iowa’s honey was found to contain up to ten times the amount of Glyphosate than is allowed by the European Union. (Keith McDuffee/Flickr)
Jenna Ladd | November 3, 2016

Residue from a commonly used Monsanto pesticide have been found in Iowa’s honey.

Glyphosate, a key ingredient in Roundup, was classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015. Following that declaration, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chemist Narong Chamkasem and University of Iowa chemist John Vargo began testing for residue in Iowa’s honey. Their research found Glyphosate levels in honey as high as 653 parts per billion (ppb), which is ten times the level of Glyphosate residue limit of 50 ppb in the European Union. Most of Iowa’s honey had between 23 ppb and 123 ppb of residue, whereas previous testing only found a maximum of 107 ppb Glyphosate in honey. The report stated, “According to recent reports, there has been a dramatic increase in the usage of these herbicides, which are of risk to both human health and the environment.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has not yet established a tolerance for the weed killer in honey. In a statement, EPA said, “EPA is evaluating the necessity of establishing tolerances for inadvertent residues of pesticides in honey. EPA has examined the glyphosate residue levels found in honey and has determined that glyphosate residues at those levels do not raise a concern for consumers.”

The Organic Consumers Association and Beyond Pesticides filed a lawsuit against one of Iowa’s top honey producers, Sioux Honey Association Cooperative for the prevalence of Glyphosate in their products. The honey, called Sue Bee Honey is labeled as “pure,” “100% natural,” and “All natural.” Prosecutors contend that such language is false advertising given the amount of pesticide residue found in Sue Bee Honey during the FDA’s study.

Darren Cox, president of the American Honey Association, said, “It’s a chemical intrusion, a chemical trespass into our product.” He added, “We have really no way of controlling it. I don’t see an area for us to put our bees. We can’t put them in the middle of the desert. They need to be able to forage in ag areas. There are no ag areas free of this product.”

Jay Feldman is Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides and a plaintiff in the lawsuit against Sioux Honey Association Cooperative. He said, “Until U.S. regulatory agencies prohibit Monsanto and other manufacturers of glyphosate from selling pesticides that end up in the food supply, we need to protect consumers by demanding truth and transparency in labeling.”

Herbicide use increases


Photo by santheo, Flickr.

A new study has found that farmers are increasing their use of herbicides.

As we’ve reported before, heavy use of the herbicide Roundup led to the development of weeds resistant to the chemical – often referred to as “super weeds”.

As the super weeds become more prevalent, farmers are trying to deal with them by using more herbicide.

Listen to the report from Iowa Public Radio here.

On the Radio: Roundup may present danger to Iowa’s environment


A tractor spraying herbicide on field. Photo by Tpmartins, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s episode discusses the effects of the herbicide known as Roundup.

Should Iowans worry about how the world’s most widely used herbicide affects our environment?

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

A series of studies are raising questions about the herbicide Roundup. Last year, a report out of the University of Pittsburgh found that tadpoles grew longer tails when exposed to Roundup – the same adaptation as when they are exposed to other threats. This indicates that the herbicide may have unwanted effects on some species.

Past studies have found that glyphosate-based herbicides – like Roundup – cause birth defects in laboratory animals. Roundup is also believed to have caused the development of “superweeds”, which have grown resistant to herbicides and are so large that they can damage farm equipment.

A U.S. Geological Survey study last year found traces of glyphosates in nearly every air and water sample collected in Mississippi and Iowa.

For more information on this issue, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

I’m Jerry Schnoor from the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

Thank You.

Study: tadpoles experience morphological changes in response to Roundup


Photo by aneye4wonder (Ineta McParland), Flickr.

A new study conducted by University of Pittsburgh indicates that the popular weed killer Roundup causes morphological changes in amphibians. In other words, the amphibians are changing shape possibly in adaptation to the weed killer’s stresses.

For this study, three types of tadpoles were used: the leopard frog, American toad and wood frog. The tadpoles were placed in created wetlands with “environmentally relevant” concentrations of Roundup.

Many of the tadpoles’ tail grew to twice their normal length. This is similar to the adaptations developed in response to the stress of predators. The larger tails allow the tadpoles to escape faster.

Read more about the study from ENews Park Forest here.

Popular herbicide linked to birth defects


Photo by andyarthur, Flickr

Studies indicate that a popular herbicide used around the U.S. is linked to birth defects. The herbicide, known as Roundup, contains the chemical glyphosate, which has repeatedly been shown to cause birth defects in laboratory animals. Less clear is the chemical’s effects on humans. For obvious reasons, scientists have not conducted much testing on humans, but the Huffington Post reports that examples indicating a strong connection between glyphosate and human birth defects do exist:

Farmers and others in Argentina used the weedkiller primarily on genetically modified Roundup Ready soy, which covers nearly 50 million acres, or half of the country’s cultivated land area. In 2009 farmers sprayed that acreage with an estimated 200 million liters of glyphosate.

The Argentine government helped pull the country out of a recession in the 1990s in part by promoting genetically modified soy. Though it was something of a miracle for poor farmers, several years after the first big harvests residents near where the soy cop grew began reporting health problems, including high rates of birth defects and cancers, as well as the losses of crops and livestock as the herbicide spray drifted across the countryside. Continue reading