EWG News and Analysis
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EWG’s News Roundup (10/13): Feds Imperil Children’s Health, Seek Bailout for Coal and Nuke Industries
EWG has been sounding the alarm this week over two sweeping, deeply troubling Trump administration policy decisions.
First, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt announced the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, which worked to reduce dangerous smokestack pollution from coal-fired power plants. The EPA estimated that if the program was left untouched it would “lead to climate and health benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, including avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.”
“The repeal of the Clean Power Plan lays bare the truth that protecting the health of children from industrial pollution isn’t even on his radar,” EWG President Ken Cook said, referring to Pruitt. “You’d hope the head of the EPA would champion policies that shield kids from the life-threatening risks of asthma, but Pruitt and the Trump administration have clearly shown whose interests they care most about: the failing coal industry, not America’s children.”
In another disturbing development, this week Energy Secretary Rick Perry appeared before a congressional committee to defend his agency’s plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants. This plan has been widely criticized due to the fact that it would increase energy bills for millions of ratepayers even though there are cheaper, renewable and safer sources of energy that would employ more Americans and ensure reliability for the power grid.
“Instead of trying to stick ratepayers with the cost of keeping these dying industries on life support, Perry should look at the facts and face the truth: The competition is over and renewables won,” said Grant Smith, EWG’s senior energy policy advisor.
This week we also congratulated EWG Board Member Michelle Pfeiffer for being one of this year’s recipients of the Variety Power of Women award. A Golden Globe Award winner and three-time Academy Award nominee, Pfeiffer has long been a champion of environmental health and animal rights.
For coverage on these stories and more, here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.
Clean Power Plan Repeal
"You’d hope the head of the EPA would champion policies that shield kids from the life-threatening risks of asthma, but Pruitt and the Trump administration have clearly shown whose interests they care most about: the failing coal industry, not America’s children," said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, in a statement.
Coal and Nuclear Industry Subsidies
"When Rick Perry was nominated, he admitted he didn't understand what the Department of Energy does, and with this profoundly wrong-headed scheme he's proven it," said EWG President Ken Cook. "DOE's stated mission is to address the nation's energy challenges 'through transformative science.' But this plan would sabotage the transition to cleaner, safer renewable energy technologies by forcing American consumers to bail out the Trump administration's allies in the dying coal and nuclear industries."
Variety’s Power of Women Award
But even as Pfeiffer realized she needed to know more about toxic chemicals and questionable consumer products, she struggled to find a resource to keep her informed. That’s where Environmental Working Group came in. From shoddy sunscreen to contaminated tap water, the nonprofit research and advocacy group educates consumers and citizens about public safety issues.
Besides Priyanka Chopra, other women who have featured on the special edition cover are Kelly Clarkson (QX Super School), Patty Jenkins (Anti-Recidivism Coalition), Michelle Pfeiffer (Environmental Working Group), and Octavia Spencer (City Year), as reported by Variety.
Variety recently honoured the 35-year-old actress, alongside talented women - Kelly Clarkson (XQ Institute), Patty Jenkins (Anti-Recidivism Coalition), Michelle Pfeiffer (Environmental Working Group), and Octavia Spencer (City Year).
EPA Nominee Michael Dourson
Michael Hickey, the village resident who tested the water and sounded the first alarm about the contamination three years ago, as well as Loreen Hackett, Emily Marpe and her 12-year-old daughter, Gwen Young, traveled there on behalf of the Environmental Working Group and Environmental Defense Fund.
We push envelopes and we are always giving back to groups we believe in, like the Environmental Working Group, who helps fight for a clean environment for our children and the Happy Family Children’s Village in Tanzania, in honor of my dad.
Unfortunately, the toxicity of plastics is still a bit of a mystery. What we do know is that most plastics contain chemical additives to create certain qualities for specific uses. And things like bisphenol-A (BPA) and the plastic softeners known as phthalates, for example, are known to be toxic; they are both potent hormone disruptors that are increasingly linked to health effects like brain and behavior changes, cancer, and reproductive system damages, notes the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in ProduceTM
LISA DRAYER, CNN NUTRITIONIST: Different kinds of fruit contain differing amounts of pesticide residue, even after being washed. The environmental working group put out its dirty dozen list of the most contaminated produce.
Apples consistently show up on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, making them a good choice to buy organic when available commercially. If buying local apples, talk to the grower about his or her pesticide practices; many use the minimum necessary spraying to keep their orchards viable and offer unique and tasty breeds not found in grocery stores.
On the other hand, experts advise eating organic versions of veggies without peels, as well as those with soft exteriors. Many of these foods are included on the Environmental Working Group's 2017 "Dirty Dozen" list, which includes celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers and tomatoes.
But I get it: Organic can be expensive, and plunking down three times as much for organic cauliflower can become a financial burden. If organic isn’t entirely in your budget, check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to make the best-informed choices about conventional produce.
Skin Deep® Database
We also wanted our picks to be widely available through some of our favorite online shops like Amazon, Walgreens, and Target. We also made sure our selections were approved by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit entity that researches the safety and efficacy of cosmetic and household products, as well as their environmental impact.
Go on to the Cosmetics Database, or ewg.org, and look up what some of these chemicals are and the actual toxicity of them. There’s a rating from zero to nine, it’s not all accurate on there but at least it’s an indicator of what is going on and it can help guide.
Tap Water Database
According to a report released last month by the Environmental Working Group, a nonpartisan advocacy group, dioxane was found in tap water samples that affect 90 million Americans in 45 states. Reprinted by Gears of Biz.
In 2015, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell pegged 1-ppt as the safe level of PFOA in drinking water. The Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization which has mapped and analyzed PFAS in drinking water nationwide, backs the 1-ppt level.
“Opt for VOC-free disinfectants, non-toxic paint and top coats, and open your windows as often as you can to let in the clean breeze,” Ro says. Also, you can shop for cleaner, safer cleaning products (or make your own)—the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a helpful guide to help you know what to watch out for.
2018 Farm Bill
Craig Cox with the Environmental Working Group, says the conservation provisions of the Farm Bill represent a big opportunity to help farmers deal with the more serious issues they’re going to face regarding quality of life.
Craig Cox, Ferd Hoefner and Beverly Paul spoke Oct. 4 in Pittsburgh during the annual convention of the Society of Environmental Journalists. The event had a strong ag component, including presentations by the three ag policy experts on the 2018 farm bill, the centerpiece of the federal government's food and agricultural policy.
A recent database by the Environmental Working Group shows that there are more than 16,000 products out there that contain bisphenol A, a potential carcinogen that also has been shown to harm the reproductive system. And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to chemical exposure. Here are some resources to help you make sure you're steering clear of harmful chemicals in your everyday products.