Food safety testing done by the independent organization Food Democracy Now found high levels of the herbicide glyphosate — the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — in some of America’s most popular food products.
Testing and analysis performed by Anresco Laboratories, San Francisco found high levels of glyphosate in popular food products including Cheerios, Oreos, Doritos, and Ritz Crackers, among 29 foods tested. Original Cheerios, for example, had levels as high as 1,125.3 ppb. Probable harm to human health could begin at glyphosate levels as low 0.1 parts per billions (ppb).
The Food Democracy Now report notes that glyphosate contamination of a food cannot be removed by washing and is not broken down by cooking or baking. “Glyphosate residues can remain stable in food for a year or more, even if the foods are frozen or processed,” the report says.
Monsanto’s Roundup is one of the most widely used chemicals in the world. Glyphosate is used in commercial agriculture and in home gardens. Seeds for crops like soybeans and corn have been bred to be resistant to glyphosate so the weed killer can be sprayed on fields without concern for damaging the crop. Roundup is also used in public gardens, parks, roadsides and forests. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that in 2007 farmers in the U.S. used about 185 million pounds of glyphosate, double the amount used six years earlier. Roundup is used in the growing of genetically engineered crops now grown on more than 175 million acres in the U.S. and more than 440 million acres around the globe.
Parker Waichman notes that Roundup has been associated with significant health problems, including leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, respiratory distress, pulmonary edema, arrhythmias, and renal failure. People exposed to glyphosate have experienced blurred vision, coma, confusion, dizziness, hand tremors, headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and loss of coordination.
More than three dozen cancer lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto in a Roundup products multidistrict litigation (MDL). These lawsuits allege that Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma—cancer of the lymph nodes. The plaintiffs allege that they or a family member who has died developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup over the course of several or more years. The plaintiffs also allege that the use of glyphosate with other ingredients, in particular the surfactant polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), makes Roundup even more toxic than glyphosate alone.
Roundup Residues in Food
Compared to permissible glyphosate residue levels allowed in the European Union, U.S. regulators allow a very high level of daily glyphosate residue in America’s food. The acceptable daily intake (ADI) limit in the U.S. is set at 1.75 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (1.75 mg/kg bw/day) versus the lower 0.3 mg/kg bw/day in the European Union.
New research shows that Roundup causes liver and kidney damage in rats, with changes seen at only 0.05 parts per billion (ppb) glyphosate equivalent. Peer-reviewed scientific evidence now suggests harm to human health could begin at glyphosate levels as low as 0.1 parts per billion (ppb).
In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the World Health Organization cancer research arm, declared glyphosate a “probable human carcinogen.” IARC reached its decision based on the research of 17 cancer experts from 11 countries, who met to assess the carcinogenicity of five pesticides. Based on the IARC review of glyphosate, the European Parliament has called for a complete ban on non-commercial public use of glyphosate and serious restrictions on agricultural use.
After IARC designated glyphosate a probable human carcinogen, France’s ecology minister, Segolene Royal, banned the sale of Roundup at garden centers. In Argentina, residents in a town in Entre Rios province have called for action on its high cancer death rates. Nearly half the deaths there in recent years have been attributed to cancer, while the national cancer death rate is 18 percent. Residents blame heavy use of Roundup on rice and soybean crops for a cancer death rate far higher than the national average.
In the U.S., Monsanto has responded to the IARC designation by working with the group CropLife America in an effort to cut off U.S. funding to IARC. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had planned to hold public meetings in October 2016 to examine scientific research on glyphosate. But industry officials challenged certain scientists appointed to the EPA advisory panel and the meetings were canceled.
Legal Help for Those Harmed by Roundup
If you or someone you know has developed cancer or a health problem linked to Roundup exposure, the attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP are available to provide a free, no obligation case evaluation. Contact the firm by filling out the form or calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).