New US Bill Aims to Limit Children’s Exposure to Glyphosate Herbicides

Posted on Mar 17 2019 - 11:43pm by Sustainable Pulse

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced legislation Friday to dramatically limit American children’s exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, in food. The bill would not only ban pre-harvest spraying of glyphosate on oats but also require the federal government to test foods popular with children for the herbicide, which has been linked to cancer.

Key provisions in DeLauro’s bill include:

  • Prohibiting the spraying of glyphosate as a pre-harvest drying agent on oats.
  • Lowering by 300-fold the permissible level of glyphosate residues on oats, restoring the legally allowed level to just 0.1 parts per million, or ppm.
  • Requiring the Department of Agriculture to regularly test fruits, vegetables and other foods routinely fed to infants and children for glyphosate residues.

The most used pesticide in the world, glyphosate is widely used as a weedkiller on genetically modified corn and soybeans in the U.S.. But it is also increasingly sprayed on oats and other grains just before harvest as a drying agent, or desiccant. Glyphosate kills the crop, drying it out uniformly so that it can be harvested sooner. This makes harvesting easier but also increases the likelihood that the herbicide makes it into foods.

The Detox Project Director, Henry Rowlands, stated Friday: “We have been working with food and supplement brands and governments around the world to reduce the public’s exposure to glyphosate and this new bill will raise the level of pressure on U.S. government regulators to take real measures on the issue. Glyphosate Residue Free certification allows brands to take action but we need action across the board.”

“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.”

O’Neil explained that in the past two decades, the Environmental Protection Agency has increased the level of glyphosate residue allowed on oats from 0.1 ppm to 30 ppm, largely to accommodate Canadian oat farmers who use it. The lax policy has resulted in the contamination of oat-based foods with the carcinogenic weedkiller.

In 2016, The Detox Project and Food Democracy Now! revealed the results of extensive glyphosate testing on a wide range of best-selling foods across the U.S., in a groundbreaking report.

Last year, independent laboratory tests commissioned by EWG found glyphosate residues in popular oat-based foods marketed to children, such as Cheerios and Quaker oatmeal. Almost three-fourths of the samples tested had glyphosate levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.

In September 2018, MegaFood, Ben & Jerry’s, Stonyfield Farm, MOM’s Organic Market, Nature’s Path, One Degree Organic Foods, National Co+op Grocers and Happy Family Organics, also petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to sharply limit glyphosate residues allowed on oats and prohibit the pesticide’s use as a pre-harvest drying agent.

Requiring USDA to regularly test fruits, vegetables and other foods routinely fed to children for glyphosate residues will give parents and consumers vital information about potential pathways of exposure to the weedkiller, O’Neil said.

“It is shocking that USDA’s annual pesticide residue survey fails to include the most widely used pesticide in America,” he 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.”

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Sustainable Pulse

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7 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. John Hoffman March 19, 2019 at 22:25 - Reply

    The article focuses on oats, but what about wheat, lentils, and any other crops that farmers apply desiccants to? We just need to get roundup out of the whole food supply.

  2. Carla Coleman March 20, 2019 at 01:43 - Reply

    Glyphosate based weed killers such as Roundup have been promoted for use as a ‘drying agent’ on all grain crops (including wheat) since at least the 1980’s. It is also used on other industrially farmed crops.

  3. Gaia Kelly March 20, 2019 at 07:05 - Reply

    Oats is important, but why doesn’t the bill also include the most highly consumed desiccated crops, namely wheat and cane sugar? Why is it aimed just at children consuming oat products, when farmworkers are ailing and dying from glyphosate (and so are all people), including workers in countries growing sugar cane?

  4. Andrea March 24, 2019 at 22:30 - Reply

    Yeah, please include the testing of all foods on the market. Please also include the the testing for other neurotoxic chemicals used and sprayed on crops and or in the production of crops. We still have issues with DDT and chlorpyrifos and 2-4-D. See contaminants of emerging concern for the many other contaminants that are being monitored in the food supply along with the effects that exposures cause. Lets not forget about degredates and chemical soups and what those do.

  5. Frizzle March 26, 2019 at 05:30 - Reply

    According to Congresswoman DeLauro’s website, the bill covers much more than oats: “The Keep Food Safe from Glyphosate Act would require the USDA, through its Pesticide Data Program, to annually test fruits, vegetables, and other commonly consumed foods for glyphosate residues. The bill would also ban the practice of spraying glyphosate as a pre-harvest drying agent and would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore the permissible level of glyphosate residues on oats to the original level of 0.1 parts per million.”

  6. Frizzle March 26, 2019 at 05:32 - Reply

    Rep. DeLauro’s website describes her bill as about much more than oats: “The Keep Food Safe from Glyphosate Act would require the USDA, through its Pesticide Data Program, to annually test fruits, vegetables, and other commonly consumed foods for glyphosate residues. The bill would also ban the practice of spraying glyphosate as a pre-harvest drying agent and would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore the permissible level of glyphosate residues on oats to the original level of 0.1 parts per million.”

  7. Jenna March 31, 2019 at 20:55 - Reply

    My son was poisoned by herbicides. He was found to have 10x’s the amount an adult should have in their system. He was less then 80 pounds he was 10 and had a very limited diet for years. When we finally figured out what was wrong one of the problems was that he was poisoned by a popular kids cereal. Now we only eat organic, non gmo verified as a family and worry for the future. What can we do to support this bill and ones like it, we live in NJ? We believe it was a direct issue with Monsanto oats for our son.

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