Dear Food Manufacturers: Stop Polluting Children With Glyphosate

In its latest report on glyphosate residues on common children’s foods, EWG found that, like oats and wheat, chickpeas and other beans and lentils come with a dose of Roundup, a weedkiller formerly manufactured by Monsanto, now Bayer. The report’s authors, Alexis M. Temkin, Ph.D., and Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., recommend that everyone continue eating hummus and chickpeas. And as always, organic products are a much better choice.

At the same time, EWG is calling on food manufacturers and grocery stores to source beans, peas, lentils and grains that are not treated with glyphosate as a pre-harvest drying agent, because using this probable carcinogen is unnecessary and harmful. There are other ways to harvest these crops that do not risk our health and well-being.

Buying organic alternatives is currently our best option for reducing children’s exposure to pesticides. But it’s not a perfect solution, as sometimes even organic crops become contaminated with the pesticide, possibly through use on neighboring farms. Nationwide, the prices for organic food have been decreasing. Still, recent market surveys show that organic food remains 7.5 percent more expensive on average, compared to conventional foods, a price difference that puts organics out of reach for many. EWG believes it is essential for all families and communities to have resources to buy healthy foods of their choice.

Other connections between glyphosate and children’s health:

  • Children are more susceptible than adults to harm from environmental toxins like pesticides because their neurological, hormonal and immune systems are still developing. Exposure at key points in their development can cause permanent damage. This is why the Environmental Protection Agency is required to use a tenfold margin of safety when setting limits for pesticide residues on food – to protect infants and children.
  • Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in the U.S., yet it has not been included in the biomonitoring programs conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2019, EWG petitioned the CDC to start monitoring for glyphosate in Americans’ bodies.
  • Glyphosate is classified as a probable human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. This classification was announced following the IARC’s 2015 review of “all relevant evidence available in the public domain for independent scientific review,” as opposed to government regulatory agencies that often rely on private industry data. 
  • A study conducted by the Center for Environmental Health reported that children carry much higher levels of glyphosate in their bodies than their parents.
  • One-third of American newborns had glyphosate in their bodies, according to a large study published this year.
  • In 2019, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles published a population-based case-control study examining the link between pesticide exposure and autism. They found a 60 percent increase in rates of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability in children who in their first year of life lived within about a mile and a quarter of areas highly sprayed with glyphosate.

The best and most socially equitable way to prevent children from becoming polluted with glyphosate is to stop its use at the farm level. The first step is to demand that companies stop the pre-harvest spraying of glyphosate on foods. Who can accomplish this? Food manufacturers, grocery stores, lawmakers – and you, the customer and constituent.

Take Action


EWG will continue to test both conventional and organic beans and bean products for glyphosate and advocate for all food growers and producers to phase out glyphosate use as a pre-harvest desiccant.

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