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IPFS News Link • Food

Four Out of Five Americans Test Positive for 'Emerging Contaminant' ...

•, By Jack Davis

A new report claims that federal officials need to take a closer look at a chemical that is increasingly prevalent in oat-based products.

The Environmental Working Group published research in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology that said 80 percent of the people tested in the group's research tested positive for the chemical, according to the New York Post.

The study said that the chemical known as chlormequat is "an emerging contaminant with documented evidence of low-dose adverse health effects in animal studies."

Noting that no human research has been done on the drug, the study said that in animals, the drug is linked to reduced fertility, altered fetal growth and delayed puberty.

The study is based on research from three sets of samples taken in 2017, 2018-2022 and 2023. In the 2017 test, 16 of 23 urine samples showed the presence of the chemical. The 2018-2022 tests found the chemical in 17 of 23 samples.

But in the 2023 round, the chemical was in 45 of 50 samples, for a 90 percent rate. Overall, the chemical was found in 80 percent of the tests.

The study said the chemical was "only allowed for use on ornamental plants in the U.S," but "a 2018 decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permitted the import of foods, primarily grains, treated with chlormequat."

The chemical is used to decrease stem height on grains, making plants less likely to lean over, and making harvesting easier, the study said.

A news release on the website of the Environmental Working Group noted that "we detected the chemical in 92 percent of oat-based foods purchased in May 2023, including Quaker Oats and Cheerios.

"The fact that so many people are exposed raises concerns about its potential impact on public health," the release said.