Sign up to receive email updates, action alerts, health tips, promotions to support our work and more from EWG. You can opt-out at any time. [Privacy]


EWG News and Analysis

The latest from EWG’s staff of experts >>

EWG News Roundup (2/3) Pruitt, PFCs in Food, Harvard, Truth-Challenged White House and More

Friday, February 3, 2017

Holy smokes, what a week. It began with reports from EWG and others showing food wrappers from several top fast food chains were contaminated with toxic PFCs. The Senate broke its own rules to force a vote on Scott Pruitt to head EPA. Of course, we couldn’t remain silent over the looming scenario of a rabid anti-public health, pro-polluter like Pruitt running the EPA. More on that next week.

EWG used aerial photos to catch Pruitt in some serious truth bending over his own record, for which the White House attempted to refute by issuing a bold-faced lie in response to our report.

And EWG staff, along with other noted experts, spoke at widely watched events at the Harvard School of Public Health and George Washington University.

Phew. Here’s some news you can use as you start your weekend.

Pruitt Nomination Heads to the Full Senate:

Associated Press: GOP senators move Trump EPA pick ahead as Dems boycott vote

“During the campaign, President Trump pledged to dismantle the EPA," said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. "In Scott Pruitt, he found just the man to carry out his vision.”

Reuters: Senate panel advances Trump EPA chief pick over Democrats' boycott

"If he is approved by the full Senate, he will start on day one as the worst EPA administrator in history," said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group.

Politico: Morning Agriculture – A Final Stab at Pruitt Before Committee Vote

The Environmental Working Group is out with a new report today — as the Environment and Public Works Committee is expected to vote on Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head EPA — that highlights what the advocacy group says is the Oklahoma attorney general’s poor record on curbing poultry runoff in the Illinois River Basin…. A White House spokesman tells MA that the report “is just another desperate attempt to distort AG Pruitt’s record.” 

EcoWatch: GOP's Move to Force Through Trump's EPA Pick Is 'Outrageous'

Lastly, Environmental Working Group president and co-founder Ken Cook said that President Trump has found just the man to carry out his vision of dismantling the EPA. “By any measure, the president could hardly have found—and the committee could not have approved—a worse nominee to be in charge of public health and environmental protection,” Cook said. “As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt's crusade of more than a dozen lawsuits filed against the EPA to stop efforts aimed at reducing air and water pollution to protect Americans is unmatched. Time and time again, Pruitt said 'no' when policies were proposed or rules implemented that would save lives, including initiatives specifically intended to protect children.”

Inhabitat: Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of

Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group, opined that Pruitt, if installed, might be the “most hostile EPA administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history.” And indeed Pruitt’s career is a catalogue of micro- and macro-aggressions against what many would consider basic human entitlements.

PFCs in Food Wrappers:

Cheat Sheet: Wrappers and Packaging at These 10 Fast Food Restaurants May Be Hazardous

A new report from the Environmental Working Group has listed out more than two dozen restaurants that have these compounds in their packaging. Just what in the hell are PFCs and fluorine? PFC (also called PFAS), per the Environmental Working Group, stands for perfluorinated chemicals.

Chicago Tribune: Potentially dangerous chemicals found in fast-food wrappers, researchers say

“We just don’t know enough about the safety of these new chemicals,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group who co-authored the study with researchers from federal and state agencies, universities and other nonprofit organizations. “Since there are other options out there, this should be a wake-up call for these companies.”

Denver Post: Toxic chemicals tainting Colorado groundwater also found in fast-food packaging

The Environmental Working Group study, peer-reviewed and published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, found the perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in grease-resistant wrappers -– including pizza box liners, sandwich and pastry packaging — from chains including Starbucks, Jimmy Johns, Taco Time, Chipotle and Quiznos. The chemicals can leach into food, potentially reaching consumers, the study authors said, urging companies to find safe alternative packaging.

The Huffington Post: Yes, There Are Still Chemicals In Your Fast Food Wrapper

Advocacy organizations like the Environmental Working Group, which collaborated on the new study, argue these PFCs have not yet been properly tested for safety and that the FDA has failed to step in to protect consumers. In a Wednesday paper accompanying the study, the EWG called for fast food companies to stop using packaging that contains PFCs. Reprinted on WoW.

Mother Jones: The Nasty Ingredient in Fast-Food Wrappers

A new peer-reviewed study by scientists at the Environmental Working Group, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other organizations found traces of PFOA in a few packaging samples it collected from fast-food restaurants in 2014 and 2015, years after the production phaseout.

MinnPost: Fast-food wrappings are found to carry nonstick coatings linked to health risks

Andrews is a senior scientist on the staff of the Environmental Working Group, which has long advocated for better regulation of toxic chemical exposure in realms from pesticides to cosmetics to cleaning products. Other scientists working on the study represented academic institutions and regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Vermont Public Radio: Study Finds PFOA-Related Chemicals In Fast Food Packaging

The study was conducted by scientists from Silent Spring Institute, the University of Notre Dame, the Environmental Working Group, the Environmental Protection Agency and Green Science Policy Institute.

Treehugger: Study finds fast food packaging rife with harmful chemicals

The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters, also included researchers from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, University of California at Berkeley, Environmental Working Group, the U.S. EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. Reprinted by True Viral News.

Food Tank Summit:

Food Tank: Ken Cook: “I have great hope that we can fix the food and agriculture system”

Ken Cook, President and Co-Founder of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), is speaking at the third annual D.C. Food Tank Summit, Let’s Build a Better Food Policy, which will be hosted in partnership with George Washington University and the World Resources Institute on February 2, 2017.

HortiDaily: Food Tank Summit explores future food policy

Food Tank, in partnership with The George Washington University and the World Resources Institute, announces the 3rd Annual Washington, D.C. Food Tank Summit. Confirmed speakers … Ken Cook, President and Co-founder, Environmental Working Group.

Harvard Forum on Endocrine Disruptors:

The Harvard Gazette: The unsettling chemicals around us

Presented jointly with the Huffington Post, whose senior living editor, Erin Schumaker, was the moderator, the panel focused on chemicals that affect the endocrine system, and their effects on fertility and childbirth. But the central point of the talk was contained in four words, screened in a video by the Environmental Working Group: “Toxic chemicals are everywhere.”

Another vulnerable group is teenage women, said Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research for the Environmental Working Group. That’s partly because teens tend to use more cosmetics and other personal products than adult women, she said.

The Huffington Post: The Health Effects Of Hormone-Altering Chemicals In Everyday Products

The hourlong event took place at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday and featured Russ Hauser, acting chair of the department of environmental health and professor of reproductive physiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Tamarra James-Todd, assistant professor of environmental reproductive and perinatal epidemiology, at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research, at the Environmental Working Group; and Pete Myers, founder, CEO and chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences.

Cosmetics and Skin Deep®:

True Viral News: Study confirms: High levels of toxicity are drastically reduced in the body after women switch to natural make-up

All the products were selected from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, which is available online. They were all free of phthalates, parabens, triclosan and oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3, or BP-3). All these chemicals have been linked to endocrine-disrupting effects.

Insight: Bold on beauty - Au Naturale aims to be the world’s cleanest makeup company

Prange had made friends at the nearby Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health advocacy organization. She shared her personal challenge finding products that would not make her sensitive skin break out. When they showed her EWG’s Skin Deep cosmetics database on ingredients for skin care products, she was astonished to see the toxic ingredients in so many of them.

HAPPI: Fresh Monster Is Designed for Kids

In fact, Fresh Monster meets the highest standards for personal care products set by Whole Foods and the Environmental Working Group.

HAPPI: Modere is now an EWG Verified oral care line

Modere is now an EWG Verified oral care line, marking the first mouth rinse and toothpaste to receive the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) verification in the oral care space.


Cheat Sheet: 10 of the Worst Breakfast Cereals for Children

Unlike other studies, like a recent Environmental Working Group report evaluating sugar in cereal, Cereal FACTS factors in the popularity and marketing of the cereals as well as its overall nutritional profile.

 MyInforms: Food Additives to Avoid (and how to do it)

When you’re reading an ingredients list, knowing what to look for can be a big help. Back in 2014, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) put out a list of 12 food additives to avoid, and the list is still incredibly helpful.

Civil Eats: As Trump’s EPA Takes Shape, Here’s Your Pesticide Cheat Sheet

All have environmental and health effects that raise serious concerns—enough so that some are banned or severely restricted in the European Union. These pesticides are also all used on some of the most commonly eaten and popular produce, including apples, cucumbers, grapes, kale, spinach, strawberries, and tomatoes, all of which appear on the Environmental Working Group’s 2016 “Dirty Dozen” list.


Key Issues: 

comments powered by Disqus