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Environmental connections to public health >>

EWG News Roundup (3/3): Trump’s Budget Cuts, the Clean Water Rule and Neurotoxin in Hair Dye

Friday, March 3, 2017

President Trump’s forthcoming budget proposal is expected to cut 3,000 staff from the Environmental Protection Agency and $2 billion from its annual budget. As the New York Times reported, this would reduce the agency’s spending to its lowest levels – not seen since the 1980s. And what’s worse, the cuts will disproportionately affect fence-line communities “who already bear an outsized burden from air and water pollution,” said EWG President Ken Cook. 

In more bad news for the environment, Trump signed an executive order that would gut the Clean Water Rule and put the drinking water of 117 million Americans at risk. EWG researchers looked at geospatial data compiled by the EPA to identify the counties that depend on small streams for their drinking water. Find out it this affects your water here.

And EWG joined other public health groups to file a petition with the Food and Drug Administration to bar lead acetate – a neurotoxin and known carcinogen – from hair dyes like Grecian Formula. For those unaware, lead acetate is the active ingredient in hair dyes that gradually darken grey hair when used every few days.

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

Trump and the Budget

New York Times: Trump to Seek $54 Billion Increase in Military Spending

“The assault on human health begins now with President Trump’s plan to slash the E.P.A.’s resources, which are vital to protecting Americans’ drinking water and air from pollution,” said Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.

CNN: Source reveals EPA programs Trump's budget could cut

Ken Cook, the head of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy and research organization, told CNN in a statement: “The Trump administration has decided fence-line communities across the country, whose residents already bear an outsized burden from pollution, are on their own to take on big polluters.” Reprinted 54 times.

The Guardian: 'Just racist': EPA cuts will hit black and Hispanic communities the hardest

“The Trump administration has decided fence-line communities across the country, whose residents already bear an outsized burden from pollution, are on their own to take on big polluters,” said Ken Cook, president of advocacy organization the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Yahoo! News UK.

The Scientist: Trump’s Budget May Cut Science Funding

But some science and environmental advocates are warning of the damage that Trump’s proposed budget could do. “The assault on human health begins now with President Trump’s plan to slash the EPA’s resources, which are vital to protecting Americans’ drinking water and air from pollution,” Scott Faber, vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, told The New York Times.

Gizmodo: Report: Trump to Announce Massive EPA Cuts

As Scott Faber of the nonprofit research organization Environmental Working Group explains perfectly, "The EPA is the only guarantee that when you turn on your tap your water isn't full of shit.” Reprinted by Gizmodo Australia and True Viral News.

EcoWatch: Trump Gives Pen to Dow Chemical CEO After Signing Executive Order to Eliminate Regulations

And as Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group's senior vice president for government affairs, put it, "President Trump is engineering the most hostile assault on public health, and mark my words, his administration's planned destruction of many rules will put the health of millions of hard-working Americans and their families in jeopardy." Reprinted by RSN.

The Ledger: Hightower: Opinion - The chicken and the egg

For more information and to help stop President Trump and his appointees from rolling back the progress that has been made in humanely raising farm animals, visit www.ewg.org/planet-trump.

Scott Pruitt’s Environmental Protection Agency

Gizmodo Australia: New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Is Never Going To Stand Up To The Fossil Fuel Industry

As Scott Faber of the nonprofit research organisation Environmental Working Group put it, "The EPA is the only guarantee that when you turn on your tap your water isn't full of shit." So it's alarming that Scott Pruitt, newly confirmed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, once worked on behalf of donors in Oklahoma to stop his new employer from keeping literal chicken crap out of the water.

Gizmodo: Chickenshit Scott Pruitt Is Never Going to Stand Up to the Fossil Fuel Industry

As Scott Faber of the nonprofit research organization Environmental Working Group put it, “The EPA is the only guarantee that when you turn on your tap your water isn’t full of shit.” Reprinted by Truthout and by four other media outlets.

Counterpunch: Trump’s Top Energy Aide, Mike Catanzaro Peddled Climate Change Denial

“Tapping Mr. Catanzaro as a White House energy advisor fits with President Trump’s agenda of promoting the interests of fossil fuel industry over the environment and public health,” Formuzis told DeSmog. “Catanzaro has a long history as a lobbyist for many of the same companies that had significant influence over EPA administrator Scott Pruitt when he was attorney general of Oklahoma.”

Clean Water Rule

Mother Jones: Farmers Are Cheering Trump's Repeal of an Environmental Rule That Doesn't Affect Them

The original Clean Water Act exempted agriculture, and WOTUS maintains that status, notes Scott Faber, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group. "What's so bizarre about the fight over WOTUS is that the only sector of commerce that's clearly exempt from the rule has kicked up the most dirt about it," Faber said. Reprinted by Democratic Underground.

Iowa Public Radio: Trump Orders Review of Clean Water Rule that Many Farm Groups Oppose

“The problem is going to be there,” says Craig Cox of the Environmental Working Group, which supported the rule. “The problem is going to get worse. The problem is going to cry out for a solution.” Reprinted by Indiana Public Media, KBIA, KCUR, KMUW and KRCU.

Politico – Morning Energy: Take a Glance! Group: Order Endangers Drinking Water

The Environmental Working Group released an analysis Wednesday warning the executive order signed Tuesday kicking off the rollback of the Waters of the U.S. regulation puts the drinking water of 117 million citizens at risk.

The Fence Post: Pruitt signs order to review WOTUS

Meanwhile, the Environmental Working Group said that pulling back on the rule will endanger drinking water for millions of people.

High Plains Journal: Trump signs order to effectively end WOTUS

Craig Cox, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group, said: “President Trump promised ‘crystal clear water,’ but in his very first executive order to the EPA, he’s set in motion a scenario that means dirtier water—polluted with industrial chemicals, pesticides, manure and fertilizer—could flow from the kitchen taps of tens of millions of families. After this, no one should believe the president or Scott Pruitt when they say they will protect Americans’ drinking water.”

Successful Farming: Trump Orders a Redo on WOTUS

Scott Faber, the Environmental Working Group's senior vice president for government affairs, said that “withdrawing the Clean Water Rule will leave the drinking water supplies of more than 100 million Americans unprotected by the EPA.” Reprinted by Agri-Pulse.

EcoWatch: Interactive Map Shows if Your Drinking Water Is at Risk From Trump's Executive Order

The Environmental Working Group analyzed data from a 2009 EPA study that examined “regional patterns of dependence on intermittent, ephemeral and headwater streams to supply public drinking water systems in the United States, using the most recent, valid data available.” Reprint from EWG.org.

Lead Acetate in Hair Dye

Yahoo! Beauty: Your Hair Dye Is Killing You, According to This Advocacy Group

“Most people know that lead is highly toxic to small children, but lead is also harmful to adults,” Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the EWG, tells Yahoo Beauty. Lead can cause kidney damage and adverse neurological effects in healthy adults, she says, noting that the Canadian government banned lead acetate hair dyes in 2008, determining that their use could “result in the accumulation of potentially harmful body burdens of lead.” Reprinted by Yahoo! New Zealand and three more outlets.

New Beauty: FDA Asked to Ban This Ingredient From At-Home Hair Dye

In a release by the EWG, assistant general counsel Tina Sigurdson said: “An FDA ban on lead acetate is long overdue. Lead acetate can expose people to lead, which has been linked to serious health problems like developmental, reproductive and organ system toxicity, as well as cancer. It’s unconscionable that this potent neurotoxin is still used in a handful of men’s hair dye formulas. Lead acetate already has been banned in Canada and the European Union. It’s time for the U.S. to take action.”

Consumerist: Groups Ask FDA To Ban Lead Compound From Hair Dye Products

Tina Sigurdson, EWG’s assistant general counsel, points out that lead acetate can expose people to lead, which has been linked to serious health problems like developmental, reproductive and organ system toxicity, as well as cancer. Other countries have banned the substance already, she adds.

The Rose Sheet: EWG Seeks Ban On Hair-Dye Ingredient, Fighting Lead On Multiple Fronts

EWG – already seeking prohibitions on trace lead in cosmetics – joins with a slew of other consumer advocacy groups seeking a ban on lead acetate’s use in progressive hair dyes. The color additive was approved by FDA more than three decades ago before lead exposure risks were fully understood, they suggest. (subscription)

Chemical in Cleaners

HealthDay: Health Tip: Dust Your Home Properly

The Environmental Working Group recommends:

  • Vacuum your home often. Make sure your vacuum is equipped with a HEPA filter.
  • Regularly wet-mop floors that aren't carpeted. Use a damp cloth to wipe down electronics.
  • Use a wet cloth (no cleaning products) or microfiber cloth to wipe down furniture.
  • Buy furniture made of wood, or filled with wool, polyester or cotton.
  • Use caulk to seal cracks where dust might settle.
  • Use care dusting areas where kids crawl, sit and play.
  • Use a quality air filter in your furnace or air conditioner. Change it often.
  • Ask someone else to clean for you if you are allergic to dust.

Reprinted by Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and 45 more media outlets.

Reader’s Digest: 7 Hidden Health Dangers of Spring Cleaning

This chemical is a known carcinogen, according to the Environmental Working Group, an non-profit organization that provides information for creating a healthier living environment. Reprinted by MSN.

Cosmetics

The Rose Sheet: FDA’s 10ppm Cosmetic Lead Limit Criticized, Including By Industry Player

The Environmental Working Group continues to show the least flexibility in its stance on the issue, calling on FDA to prohibit lead in cosmetics due to the “grave effects of lead on humans and developing fetuses.” (subscription)

SheKnows: 7 Common American Beauty Ingredients That Are Banned in Other Countries

And though it can definitely be harmful (it’s a known carcinogen, according to the Environmental Working Group), it’s not just hanging around in your beauty products or even in your hair treatments, says Kelly A. Dobos, cosmetics technical manager at Sun Chemical in Ohio.

Mind Body Green: The Face Oil To End All Face Oils

What's more, the research organization that studies chemicals in the gamut of consumer products, The Environmental Working Group's Skin-Deep Cosmetic Database lists 56 products using Brassica Oleracea Italica (broccoli seed oil) as an ingredient. The potent veggie oil also scores a low hazard score of 1 (least harmful), another reason it's been gaining traction.

Farm Bill

Politico – Morning Agriculture: The Case Against a Farm Bill Boost
Agricultural groups and farm-state lawmakers have already begun to point at the state of the farm economy to make their case for preserving and possibly even increasing funding levels in the 2018 farm bill. But the Heritage Foundation, the Environmental Working Group and Taxpayers for Common Sense — three groups that criticize the law, namely its subsidies — argued on the Hill on Wednesday that the current downturn in an inherently cyclical market shouldn’t be used to maintain the status quo on farm policy.

AgNet West: The Case Against More Farm Bill Funding

Ag groups and farm-state lawmakers are already making the case for more funding in the next farm bill due to the current state of the farm economy. However, groups like the Heritage Foundation, the Environmental Working Group, and Taxpayers for Common Sense gave testimony this week against the idea of more funding. Reprinted by AgNet Southeast and KMJN.

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