Oat Lovers Beware: Study Finds ‘Fertility Impairing’ Pesticide In 80% of Americans

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Oat Lovers Beware: Study Finds ‘Fertility Impairing’ Pesticide In 80% of Americans

| Updated: February 16, 2024 18:49

A US-based advocacy group has uncovered shocking evidence of Americans being exposed to a dangerous chemical in oat-based foods. The study, which appeared in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, showed that 80 percent of Americans had traces of chlormequat, a harmful pesticide, in their urine, according to the New York Post.

Chlormequat, a “highly toxic agricultural chemical,” is allowed to be used on oats and other grains that are imported to the US, as per the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The chemical changes the way plants grow, making them easier to harvest by stopping them from bending over. EWG’s study found chlormequat in 92 percent of oat-based foods bought in May 2023, including well-known brands like Quaker Oats and Cheerios.

The manufacturers of these products, General Mills and PepsiCo, did not respond to requests for comment by The Post. Urine tests done by the EWG between 2017 and 2023 showed higher and more frequent levels of chlormequat in 2023 samples, indicating an increasing exposure to the pesticide among consumers. Interestingly, chlormequat was found in 69 percent of study participants in 2017, going up to 74 percent between 2018 and 2022, and reaching 90 percent in 2023. While the effects of chlormequat on humans are still being studied, animal studies have shown possible damage to reproductive systems and fetal growth, raising worries about its impact on humans. Despite these dangers, the US Environmental Protection Agency proposed to allow the first-ever use of chlormequat on barley, oat, triticale, and wheat grown in the US.

This decision, called “dangerous” by the EWG, was made after a request by chlormequat maker Taminco. The EWG has urged the federal government to take action, including possible mandates from the Food and Drug Administration for testing US foods for chlormequat. Until regulations are in place, the EWG advises consumers to choose organic oat products grown without toxic pesticides like chlormequat and glyphosate.

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