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Warning: Another pesticide is found in our bodies!

Are Organic Foods the Only Safe Option?

Bad news: A recent study, of oat products and an allowed p

A pilot study of chlormequat in food and urine from adults in the United States from 2017 to 2023 published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology Feb 15, 2024 found a concerning pesticide called chlormequat in 80% of 96 samples of urine tested. When newer sampes during the 2023 period of time, up to 90% had this chemical detectable in their urine. The group’s urine was tested from people in Florida and Missouri. This chemical is linked to reproductive problems in animals, and we don’t know yet if it harms humans too.

What’s the problem?

  • This pesticide is not allowed on US-grown food crops, but it can show up on imported oats and grains. Think of popular brands like Quaker Oats and Cheerios !
  • The researchers checked oat products (25 conventional and 8 organic) and wheat-based (9 conventional) food samples purchased at U.S. grocery stores in the Washington, DC metro area. The results: Worryingly, 92% of non-organic oat products tested had chlormequat residues.
  • The amount of chlormequat found in people increased between 2017 and 2023, suggesting exposure might be rising.

The scary part:

  • Animal studies link chlormequat to reduced fertility, harmed reproductive systems, and altered fetal growth. These are serious concerns for human health and need to be evaluated before more exposures are allowed for US crops ! In 2020 the EPA raised the amount of Chlormequat allowable in inported crops.
  • Increased amounts allowed on Oats: Prior to 2020, in 2018, the Trump EPA granted the first-ever approval for some amount of CCC on imported oats. In May 2020, the EPA increased the tolerance for CCC residues in imported oat grain from 10 ppm to 40 ppm. There are no authorized use of CCC on domestically grown oats or other food crops.

So, what can we do?

  • Organic options: This study suggests opting for certified organic oats and grains might significantly reduce your exposure to chlormequat. While organic doesn’t guarantee complete absence, it offers a stronger layer of protection.
  • Stay informed: Follow trusted sources for updates on pesticide regulations and health risks.
  • Demand change: Support organizations advocating for stricter pesticide regulations and safer food alternatives.

Remember: This is just one study, and more research is needed to fully understand the risks of chlormequat. However, it’s a good reminder to be mindful of what we eat and choose options that prioritize our health and well-being.

Important note: It’s important to be aware that relying solely on organic foods to completely avoid pesticide exposure is unrealistic and unnecessary. Many conventional foods have very low levels of pesticides that are deemed safe by regulatory agencies. While choosing organic can be a good option for some people, it’s best to maintain a balanced and varied diet based on your individual needs and preferences.