Healthy Living: Debunking Cheerio Myths

The Morning Show

A study was released last week by the Environmental Working Group, warning parents and Cheerio-lovers of all ages that their cereal contains toxic levels of glyphosate weedkiller, which has been classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Tell us more about these classifications from IARC.

IARC has classified cancer risk for a variety of specific chemicals and behaviors. (GRAPHIC 1)

GRAPHIC 1

Source: Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research

IARC’s classifications don’t take into account the levels of exposure that are needed to potentially cause cancer.

So were the levels of glyphosate enough to pose a real risk to consumers?

The Environmental Working Group measured glyphosate residues in parts per billion (GRAPHIC 2)

GRAPHIC 2

· Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch – 833 ppb

· Plain Cheerios – 729 ppb

· Honey Nut Cheerios – 147 ppb

Based on the fact that EWG sets their health limit for children at 160 ppb, you’d probably say YES! This poses a huge health risk.

But let’s put this information into context:

· The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets safety levels for many chemicals, including glyphosate. These levels take into account long term exposure and are set at least 100 times below levels shown to have no negative effect in safety studies

So how much of those Cheerios would you have to eat to get to those safety levels?

You can eat 158 lb/day to get to 1% of the EPA’s no effect level. That’s 6.6 pounds of cereal every hour of the day without sleeping.

(Challenge accepted?)

*Takeaway:*

The dose is really what makes the poison and in this case, the dose you’re getting does not pose any risk. Go ahead and keep eating your Cheerios without worry!

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