Two out of 13 popular brands of oat milk had detectable levels of the controversial herbicide glyphosate, according to a
new report from Mamavation.
Partnering with EHN.org, the environmental wellness blog and community had the oat milks tested by a U.S.-Environmental-Protection-Agency-certified lab for glyphosate and heavy metals. They found traces of glyphosate and arsenic in MALK Organic Oat Milk at 12 parts per billion, and glyphosate in Silk Extra Creamy Oatmilk at 14 parts per billion.
“Oat milk is consumed by many people as a drink alternative that goes into coffee, cereals, baked goods, and other foods,” Linda Birnbaum, scientist emeritus and former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program, told
Mamavation. “One exposure would be fine, but daily exposure is concerning. “
Glyphosate is the most widely-used herbicide in the world and linked to number of human health problems including cancer, neurological diseases, endocrine disruption and birth defects. Arsenic is linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease and developmental impacts to children.
EHN.org partially funded the testing and Pete Myers, chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, which publishes Environmental Health News, reviewed the findings. The report builds EHN.org and Mamavation’s growing library of consumer products tested. For example, recent testing found evidence of
PFAS chemicals in contact lenses.
Other scientists who reviewed the results said the two products with contaminants are cause for concern.
“Glyphosate residues in food products are troubling at any level,”
Terry Collins, Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry & Director of the Institute for Green Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, told Mamavation. “Clearly, the company with glyphosate and arsenic above 10 [parts per billion] would be well advised to discover why these are there and eliminate them.”
Collins also pointed to the good news: most brands had no detectable levels of the herbicide.
“And it is encouraging that most products were found to be free of such heavy metal contamination above 10 parts per billion,” he added.
Why is glyphosate in oat milk?
Glyphosate has been found in a variety of oat products, including oat meals and cereals, as well as some lentils and barleys. Some experts believe late season glyphosate spraying — which hastens the drying out process for crops in the field — is the culprit.
“I used to eat oat products frequently, but when I learned about pre-harvest desiccation I stopped eating any oats that weren’t grown organically,” Myers told Mamavation.
Heavy metals can get into food from soil, past pesticide use, manufacturing or storage.
What brands were glyphosate-free?
Mamavation found no glyphosate or harmful metals in oat milks from Three Trees, Rise Brewing, Oatsome, Kirkland, Califia, Planet Oat, Oatley, Nut Pods, Elmhurst and Chobani.
“It’s important to select products that do not have detectable glyphosate or other heavy metals in order to protect your family (and yourself) from the complications that can arise from daily exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals,” Birnbaum said.