Canadian farmers blamed for ag chemical in U.S. oat foods

Published Feb 22, 2024

Tridge summary

A study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found that Canadian oat growers may be responsible for ag chemical residues found in Cheerios and Quaker Oats. The study detected chlormequat, a plant growth regulator, in 80% of urine samples and 92% of conventional oat-based food samples tested. Although the amounts were below the EPA's safe level of exposure, the EWG has called for more extensive testing due to potential reproductive and developmental risks. The chemical is not permitted for use by U.S. growers but is allowed on imported foods such as oats from Canada.
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Original content

A U.S. environmental group is pointing a finger at Canadian oat growers, saying they’re the cause of ag chemical residues found in Cheerios and Quaker Oats. Late last week the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a study on oats and chlormequat, a plant growth regulator marketed as Manipulator. Farmers apply chlormequat to oats and cereal crops to decrease the height of plants and reduce the risk of lodging. The EWG study, published Feb. 15 in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, looked at the presence of chlormequat in urine and foods. The scientists collected 96 urine samples from 2017-23, and chlormequat was detected in 77 samples, or 80 percent of cases. The urine came from adults in Florida, South Carolina and Missouri. The high rate of positive tests should raise “alarm bells,” the EWG said in a news release, because the “chemical is linked to reproductive and developmental problems in animal studies, suggesting the potential for similar harm ...
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