Nestlé cheerios cereals on breakfast table with orange juice and spoon

Report Shows 80% Of Americans Have Tested Positive For A Harmful Pesticide Found In Cheerios And Quaker Oats Products That’s Linked To Infertility And Delayed Puberty

On Thursday, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) unveiled a study showing that an astonishing 80% of Americans have tested positive for chlormequat, a dangerous pesticide. This “highly toxic agricultural chemical,” although banned for use on edible plants in the United States, is allowed under federal regulations for application on oats and other grains that are imported into the country. Chlormequat is designed to alter the growth of oat and grain crops, preventing them from bending to facilitate easier harvesting.

The study also highlighted concerning results from the analysis of urine samples taken from 96 individuals between 2017 and 2023. According to the EWG, there was a noticeable increase in the levels and frequency of chlormequat detections in the samples from 2023, indicating a rising trend in consumer exposure to this harmful pesticide.

General Mills, the company behind Cheerios, responded to the findings with reassurance about their product safety. “All our products adhere to all regulatory requirements,” said Mollie Wulff, a spokesperson for General Mills. “At General Mills, food safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to ensuring that our food is prepared and packaged using the safest methods possible.”

Studies on animals have shown that chlormequat can cause reproductive harm and interfere with fetal development, affecting the growth of the head and bones and disrupting key metabolic functions. The EWG also tested 20 additional oat-based foods for chlormequat presence, including seven organic, 13 non-organic, and nine wheat-based products, though the specific brands were not disclosed.

The investigation found that several products, including various flavors of Cheerios—such as the original, Honey Nut, Oat Crunch Oats n’ Honey, and Frosted—as well as Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, Quaker Instant Oatmeal Maple & Brown Sugar, and oat-based bars, contained chlormequat.

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