Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, with a broad range of agricultural, commercial and household applications. The Monsanto Company began selling the herbicide in the 1970s and its use has increased sharply with the introduction of genetically engineered crops of corn, soy, sugar and sugar beets in the U.S.
A 2015 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concludes that glyphosate is likely carcinogenic in humans. The study found sufficient scientific evidence of glyphosate’s carcinogenicity in experimental animals and found that the herbicide also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells.
The World Health Organization has recently classified glyphosate as a “probable” carcinogen and environmental and consumer groups have begun to focus their efforts on the herbicide.
The Food and Drug Administration said it planned to begin testing some foods for glyphosate following an Alliance for Natural Health study which found that 10 out of 24 common breakfast foods contained detectable levels of glyphosate, the abundance of which could lead to consumers ingesting more than EPA acceptable levels.
Just recently Quaker Oats came under fire for its failure to identify oatmeal products containing glyphosate. In a potential class action lawsuit, consumers are questioning the company’s label of ‘natural’ as in ‘healthy’, considering that detectable amounts of the herbicide were found in the breakfast cereal. Other personal injury product liability lawsuits are springing up across the country following the IARC report linking the herbicide to health risks in humans.
Source: The New York Times, “Quaker Oats 100% Natural Claim Questioned in Lawsuit”, by Stephanie Strom, May 1, 2016.