Finally breakfast fans who saw 28 million of their Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, and other sugary favorites recalled have an answer.
What caused that waxy smell in Kellogg's breakfast cereals and made people sick?
According to non-profit watchdog the Environmental Working Group, it was methylnaphthalene, a component of crude oil and coal tar that may also be formed “as a pyrolytic byproduct from the combustion of tobacco, wood, petroleum-based fuels, and coal.”
According to an EWG press release,
"In 1998 EPA listed the compound as a high production volume (HPV) chemical that lacked basic safety data in the public literature. In response to requests by the agency, a consortium of large petrochemical interests volunteered to provide vital safety data. They included BP, Chevron, Condea Vista, Exxon, Fina Oil, Koch, Marathon Ashland, Mobil Oil, PDV Midwest Refining, Phillips Petroleum, Shell, and Sunoco. Eleven years later, however, EPA’s website shows no data whatsoever submitted by these companies."
And now for the truly scary part from their report:
"Animal studies show that methylnaphthalene causes lung damage when exposure occurs via inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact. Mice given feed containing 0.075 percent or 0.15 percent of 1- or 2-methynaphthalene for 81 weeks had lung damage known as 'pulmonary alveolar proteinosis,' marked by abnormal lipids, proteins, and fluid in the lung (ATSDR 2005, citing Murata 1993, 1997). Applying a mixture of 1- and 2-methylnaphthalene to the skin resulted in similar lung injury to mice (Murata 1992). In people, this lung disease is unusual and is typically caused by inhaling particulates (Lin 2009). Other types of acute lung damage have been reported, including to the epithelial and Clara cells and to the nasal epithelium (Lin 2009)."
As of right now, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has concluded data on methylnaphthalenes is not sufficient to determine its "carcinogenicity potential" in humans.
So what's it doing in your cereal? EWG Spokesman Alex Formuzis told The Stir it's actually part of the bag your cereal is packaged in.
Does it make you feel better knowing what caused this ... or worse?
Image via Amazon