8 thoughts on “The weed-killing chemical at the heart of a Monsanto lawsuit was found in Cheerios. Here’s how worried you should be

  1. I think this is so weird. Glyphosate is primarily manufactured by companies other than Monsanto. Monsanto originally developed it, but the patent expired years ago and now the 3 or 4 largest producers are chemical companies in China. But people have so much hatred for Monsanto, people blame them for things that they didn’t do. And I’d bet money nobody on the jury had any background in epidemiology, oncology, or toxicology, meaning they didn’t really have the knowledge necessary to make a judgment about whether the plaintiff’s cancer was caused by anything in particular…let alone, pin it on one manufacturer out of many.

    But at least the article points out that dose matters and the amount involved is likely not risky. (The IARC puts alcohol in a higher-risk category, so people should be suing beer and wine makers if they get cancer.)

  2. Michael J. Coffey Monsanto (now Bayer) is still reaping profits from a large number of gene modified seeds designed to tolerate Glyphosate. It is in their interest that as many as possible buy their seeds, and use Roundup, regardless of who is producing the weed killer. We as consumers are paying the price, by having our food poisoned just ever so slightly. Do you have background in said areas, and can guarantee that the contamination involves no risk?

  3. Lars Fosdal — And how much profit is being made by the alcoholic beverage industry? They actually induce the majority of adults to drink big mugs of a more highly carcinogenic product. That doesn’t bother you? And it’s not only carcinogenic. It’s also a neurotoxin, so it’s worse on both an acute exposure and chronic exposure basis. And that doesn’t even take into account that it’s addicting. But sure, worry about the less addicting, lower-exposure, less dangerous substance.

    Rather than talk about my background, I’ll point out that I never said there was no risk. I said that the IARC categorized alcohol as a higher risk than glyphosate. By suggesting that the bar is at guarantee of zero risk, you’re setting yourself up a big straw-man fallacy. If you want to suggest that I’m wrong, at least address what I said.

  4. Lars Fosdal — Sure, and even weed killer, in small doses, is harmless. Vinegar is more toxic than glyphosate. Give a pickle to a a child and you’re giving them a higher risk of harm than the amount of glyphosate in breakfast cereal. To know if something is dangerous, you need to know the amount (i.e., dose) and what the risks are at that dose.

    Another comparison: arsenic. As a trace element (that is, in very small doses) it’s essential for health in birds, mammals, and some microorganisms. But increase that dose past a certain point and it’s deadly.

    So let’s see what the science says. (I’m a science teacher, FWIW.) Two rather accessible articles summarizing the science of glyphosate risk:

    slate.com – You Don’t Need to Worry About Monsanto’s Weed Killer in Your Breakfast Cereal


    And although I’m “only” a science teacher, both of these articles were vetted by a lab scientist in the food industry. To pull a quote from the first, “You or your child would more likely get sick from simply eating hundreds of cups of cereal a day before you’d get sick from glyphosate.” And from the second, “The largest data set we have (by far) which does the best job (by far) of accounting for confounding variables shows absolutely no association between handling glyphosate and developing non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”

  5. Michael J. Coffey Let’s see how it pans out. I’ve been vocal against this kind of GMO for years. More poison is not the solution to the coming food supply challenges. We can’t claim to know the long-term effects of this yet, nor do we know at what dosage that there is actual risk. Personally, I think the ambition needs to be lower tolerance for traces of man made poisons in our food. I am voting with my wallet to make it so.

  6. Oh, and the Credible Hulk (skeptic and science educator) wrote a post about the ways the EPA and other organizations set tolerances for toxicity and long-term exposure, and penciled out some numbers in terms of how conservative the estimates are for what’s safe, and what kind of intake it would require to exceed those requirements: crediblehulk.org – Glyphosate toxicity: Looking past the hyperbole, and sorting through the facts. By Credible Hulk

  7. mmm.mmm good. I just scored 80 gallons (in concentrate) for only $20 (normally about $16 a gallon). A lifetime supply no doubt. I hate to use it, but have no real alternative. I really do fell bad when I do spray it (and I always recount the line made (most) famous by J. Robert Oppenheimer “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds” as I do spray it. I love turtles. I have one giant one that adopted by backyard.

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