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The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

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BDBN: Chlormequat found in Quaker products

BDBN%3A+Chlormequat+found+in+Quaker+products
Credit: Alyssa Ao

What you need to know:

Chlormequat is a pesticide used by farmers as a plant growth regulator and to prevent crops from bending over. According to the National Library of Medicine, the chemical is used as a growth regulator for commercial production of cereal grains to make crop harvesting easier. The chemical is also used in the growth of cereal grains, meaning it is also found in 92% of non-organic oat-based foods.

In May of 2023, studies showed that 92% of purchased oat-based foods contain chlormequat, which includes Quaker products and Cheerios. However, Quaker Oats is sending a message back to customers that they are standing by the quality of the products and their safety. “We ensure the safest, highest-quality products for our consumers,” the Quaker company said.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations only permit chlormequat to be put and used in ornamental plants, which are garden plants used for decorative purposes. Foods containing chlormequat weren’t allowed to be imported into the U.S., but in 2018, EPA started allowing the importation of these foods.

Food consumption is the main source of pesticides entering people’s bodies. Research has shown that four out of five Americans have pesticides in their bodies that have not been researched by scientists. However, recent studies on chlormequat have shown that 80% of Americans who tested for chlormequat have tested positive for having the chemical inside of them. Researchers tested urine samples and found that the concentration of chlormequat in Americans has increased since 2017.

Why it matters:

Scientists have not yet discovered how chlormequat affects the human body because the testing of this chemical has only been done on animals, such as mice and rats. However, some of the scientific studies on chlormequat show that it can be linked to infertility, fetal growth disruption, metabolic problems and puberty delay.

Animal testing on chlormequat has shown damage to the reproductive system and fetal growth, and has raised questions about whether it could also harm humans.

What are other sources to look at?

A pilot study of chlormequat in food and urine from adults in the United states from 2017 to 2023″ – Nature.com

“Dangerous agricultural chemical chlormequat found in popular oat-based products” – EWG

“New peer-reviewed EWG study finds little-known toxic crop chemical in four out of five people tested” – EurekAlert

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About the Contributor
Alyssa Ao, Co-Graphics Editor
Alyssa Ao, Class of 2025, is a co-graphics editor for WSPN. She is also one of the Math Team captains and co-president of the Art Club. Outside of school, she enjoys art, playing piano and watching TV. Contact: [email protected]
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