Headline Health – As reported here recently, the Monsanto weedkiller RoundUp is showing up in scores of products on supermarket shelves, especially breakfast cereals.
An article running on NBC News purports that the bad guy in this story is not Monsanto, nor the agribusinesses who spray millions of tons of their weedkiller on our food; it’s the news outlets who are “scaring parents” by reporting on the issue.
Here’s NBC’s account, and if you really enjoy weedkiller on your oatmeal, go for it – your local grocery store has boxes full of the stuff.
Weed killer in your cereal? Maybe, but don’t panic, says NBC
A report by an environmental group disregards accepted evidence about safe levels of the chemical.
Startling headlines about a weed killer in children’s cereal and snack bars are swamping social media and scaring parents this week.
An advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group, said on Wednesday that it had found traces of the pesticide glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, in certain popular breakfast cereals.
The group is not neutral on the issue. [Who thinks that being neutral on the issue of weedkiller in kids’ breakfast cereal is a good thing? – Editor]
It actively campaigns against glyphosate, and this particular piece of research was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, which would have allowed other experts in the field to ask questions before the research was made public.
The amounts found are far below the allowable limits, and anyway, most experts in the field say there’s very little evidence that glyphosate causes cancer or any other health problems.
The Environmental Protection Agency has said for years that there’s not much evidence that the pesticide can cause cancer in people.
“The draft human health risk assessment concludes that glyphosate is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans. The agency’s assessment found no other meaningful risks to human health when the product is used according to the pesticide label,” the EPA says.
“Glyphosate is no more than slightly toxic to birds and is practically nontoxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates and honeybees.”
But what about the recent court case in which a California jury ordered Roundup maker Monsanto to pay $290 million in damages to a groundskeeper with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?
American juries do not necessarily rule based on scientific evidence, and they are not required to.
“From a purely scientific point of view I do not think that the judgment makes sense,” Paul Pharoah, a professor of cancer epidemiology at Britain’s University of Cambridge, said after the ruling.
He noted that evidence that glyphosate increases the risk of cancers such as lymphoma is “very weak.” Read the full story at NBC News.