EWG News and Analysis
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EWG News Roundup (3/3): Trump’s Budget Cuts, the Clean Water Rule and Neurotoxin in Hair Dye
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
“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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
“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
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.
“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.
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.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Working Group said that pulling back on the rule will endanger drinking water for millions of people.
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.”
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.
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
“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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.