Holistic Mom: The Great Cheerio Debate

Mamas, let’s talk Cheerios.

Over the last week or so, I’ve had several friends text me in a panic (understandably!) asking if they should toss all the breakfast cereal in their house.

Now, I was the first person to cheer when Monsanto was held responsible for the toxic ingredients in their weed killer, Roundup. They were found liable for $289 million in damages for a school groundskeeper who developed non-hodgkin's lymphoma while using the weedkiller close to 30 times per year. Monsanto should be held accountable for the fact that they did not disclose the cancer risk of using their products.

That being said, I’m keeping the Cheerios.

The World Health Organization has found glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. This is scary, and we should sit up and pay attention. I’m pro-health, pro-organic food, pro “doing your own research and being your own advocate”. So, I’m not here to make a decision for what’s right for your family. I’m just here to try to help you make that decision.

Breakfast favorites like Cheerios, Quaker Oats, and Lucky Charms were found to have detectable levels of glyphosate. The Environmental Protection Agency has set a tolerable limit for glyphosate residue in grains as 30 parts per million (ppm). The food that was found to have glyphosate in the Environmental Working Group study was below that threshold. (They also looked at parts per billions VS parts per million).

I am a fan of the Environmental Working Group and rely on them for a lot of information in regards to products I use or food I buy. I think it is always important for consumers to know what we are buying. It is valuable to have an independent group looking at these kinds of risks, and bringing them to our individual attention.

In my house, my daughter eats Cheerios from time to time (and I occasionally eat them in lieu of getting out the dust buster!). I’m not super worried about her (or my) glyphosate exposure from that alone. It is important to me to look at this from a big picture perspective. In my opinion, looking at the data, Cheerios or Quaker Oats alone is not enough to tip the scales to a cancer risk.

Take this as an opportunity to evaluate what you are comfortable allowing in your home.

Are there areas in your life you could decrease your exposure to toxins or carcinogens?

Are there areas you want help in?

Email me at and let’s chat.

Jessica Crystal (aka LH's Holistic Mom) is an RN, BSN with a degree from the University of Delaware, a holistic health coach certified from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, leader of the Little Hoboken Health & Wellness division, mom to Emma and wife of Adam. She enjoys yoga, reading, and shopping and eating on Washington Street.

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