EWG News and Analysis
The latest from EWG’s staff of experts >>
EWG News Roundup (2/10): Chemical Disclosures in Cosmetics and Cleaners, False Statements to Congress
This week, Unilever rocked the cosmetics industry by announcing it will begin revealing a host of information about fragrance ingredients used in all of its products. EWG, which has been clamoring for this type of transparency for years, helped spread the good news.
On a similar note, legislation was introduced in California that would force manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in cleaning products. If the bill passes, it would be the first such law to take effect in the nation.
Also this week, more evidence emerged that President Trump’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency may have knowingly provided false statements to members of the Senate, and EWG called on the Department of Justice to investigate. It’s against the law to lie to Congress.
Here’s some news you can use as you begin your weekend.
Unilever’s ‘Game-Changing’ Move on Fragrance
“This is an enormous win for consumers’ right to know,” Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group, which worked with Unilever ahead of its Tuesday announcement, said in a statement. “With this impressive display of leadership, Unilever has broken open the black box of fragrance chemicals and raised the bar for transparency across the entire personal care products industry — and beyond.
According to Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the watchdog organization Environmental Working Group, that's “an enormous win.” “With this impressive display of leadership, Unilever has broken open the black box of fragrance chemicals and raised the bar for transparency across the entire personal care products industry—and beyond.”
Fragrances can include known toxic chemicals like phthalates, which have been linked to hormone disrupters that cause birth defects in baby boys, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental research organization in Washington, D.C.
Unilever, the brand behind Dove, Axe and Degree, has always been a progressive force in the large-scale beauty market. (In fact, we just wrote about its sustainable initiatives last week.) Here, the Environmental Working Group breaks down the company’s latest pledge to demystify fragrances once and for all.
In an interview conducted by MindBodyGreen with Ken Cook, president and cofounder of the Environmental Working Group, Cook said, “Fragrance chemicals ultimately end up in and on the bodies of virtually everyone who uses personal care products, including babies. Unilever’s action is a game changer for transparency in the personal care product market, and we expect other major companies to follow suit.”
“Unilever’s action is a game-changer for transparency in the personal care product market, and we expect other major companies to follow suit,” Environmental Working Group president and co-founder Ken Cook said in a statement. EWG is home to the SkinDeep database, the leading consumer resource about the safety of thousands of personal care products and ingredients.
Pruitt’s Potential Lies to Congress
Interestingly, when Pruitt was running for Attorney General in 2010, he received over $40,000 in campaign donations from defendants and their lawyers in the case, according to an investigation by the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy non-profit. Reprinted by True Viral News.
The Environmental Working Group asked DOJ Wednesday to investigate whether EPA nominee Scott Pruitt “knowingly and willfully made” false statements during his confirmation hearing. The letter cites statements concerning regulation of mercury, the number of cases Pruitt participated in against the EPA and claims about his enforcement record as Oklahoma attorney general as especially troublesome.
“Scott Pruitt’s antipathy for holding polluters accountable in his own state is a bad sign for things to come across America if he’s given the reins at the EPA,” Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said. “The EPA’s job is to protect public health, not let industry off the hook for polluting our rivers and drinking water.”
California Cleaners Legislation
The bill called The Cleaning Product Right to Know Act is co-sponsored by the Environmental Working Group, the Breast Cancer Fund and Women’s Voices for the Earth.
“Senator Lara’s legislation acknowledges that consumer demand to know what is in their products continues to skyrocket, and while some manufacturers are voluntarily disclosing more and more of their ingredients, full disclosure is needed,” said Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, a principal sponsor.
Environmental Health Under Trump’s EPA
“The tragedy is that no one who voted for President Trump voted for dirty water, dirty air, or more dangerous pesticides in their food,” said Scott Faber, vice president of governmental affairs for the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington. “But every indication is that Scott Pruitt will methodically weaken the basic environmental health protections.”
Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, strongly disagrees.
Scott Faber of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group told Fusion that the bill is “just horsesh*t.”
Scott Faber, senior vice president of government relations for the Environmental Working Group (EWG), had stronger words for the committee's plans. “The secret science bill is just horsesh*t,” he told the Huffington Post. “No agency has more integrity when it comes to using science and being transparent than the EPA. This is a poorly disguised war on basic health and protections.”
Cosmetics and Skin Deep®
The Environmental Working Group evaluated over 72,000 products and ranked them in an easy-to-understand guide to make sure you have a resource to keep your family safe. Check out EWG’s “Skin Deep Cosmetic Database” today for recommendations for which products to use and avoid.
According to researchers from the Environmental Working Group, 1 in 8 of the 50,000-plus ingredients used in many of our favorite lotions, lipsticks and lathers is an industrial chemical, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors.
Food and Chemicals
My friends at the Environmental Working Group created an easy-to-use, comprehensive guide, called Good Food on a Tight Budget, to help consumers make the best food choices without breaking the bank.
The Silent Spring Institute, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), and the Green Science Policy Institute teamed up with researchers at the University of Notre Dame and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to analyze more than 400 wrappers and containers from 27 fast-food chains throughout the country. About half the wrappers tested contained flourine, a marker for fluoridated compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), with which one of the study authors is affiliated, issued a press release on the study titled, “Many Fast Food Wrappers Still Coated in PFCS, Kin to Carcinogenic Teflon Chemical.” EWG also suggested that the 20 next-generation perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) cleared for coating paper and paperboard through the Food Contact Notification process have not been adequately tested for safety.
Investigators from Silent Spring Institute, Environmental Working Group, the Green Science Policy Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Notre Dame evaluated about 400 samples of fast food packaging from around the United States. They used particle-induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE) spectroscopy to hone in on their findings, and this is what they discovered.
Check out the Dirty Dozen at ewg.org. You'll want to avoid the most heavily pesticide sprayed produce and get organic when it comes to these twelve. Reprinted by Age Times.
What if you can't afford to buy all organic? The Environmental Working Group's shopper's guide to pesticides in produce shares results of scientific surveys each year that show which foods tend to carry the most and least pesticide residue. So, they offer a guide for consumers to make choices about what to purchase as organic and what to purchase as conventional.
There’s a clever grocery shopping hack for this problem: the Environmental Working Group outlined two lists that will help you differentiate between fresh produce that needs to be organic and the stuff that doesn’t, because its skin provides a natural barrier or crops simply aren’t sprayed so heavily.
In 2015, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) announced that apples ranked #1 with the highest number of pesticides for the fifth year in a row. In 2016, they dropped to second place, only to be out-pesticided by the humble strawberry.