A Kellog’s recall was apparently prompted by a chemical breakdown product, methylnaphthalene, in some of their cereals. The parent material is supposedly in the cereal box liner, not the cereal itself (one hopes).

While lack of information about this compound and others is a big part of the story, it’s not hard to learn some concerning facts about it by looking at its Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):

Caution! May cause allergic skin reaction. Causes eye irritation. Causes skin irritation. May be harmful if swallowed. May cause respiratory and digestive tract irritation.
Target Organs: None.

Now, an MSDS like this is referring, in large measure, to people working with the the pure compound. Nevertheless, MSDS information like this sure does give one pause. This stuff, or a parent material of this stuff, in contact with my kids’ cereal?

Another question: if it may cause respiratory or digestive tract irritation, wouldn’t some organs be targets, such as the lungs. Perhaps this lack of information is reflective of the apparently paucity of toxicological data on this (and tens of thousands of other compounds).