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EWG News and Analysis

The latest from EWG’s staff of experts >>

EWG’s News Roundup (11/9): U.S. Fails in Climate Leadership, Tips on Avoiding Toxic Dust and More

Thursday, November 9, 2017

On Tuesday, the U.S. earned the awful distinction of being the only nation on Earth to stand in opposition to the Paris climate accord. EWG was quick to call out the Trump administration for its actions around climate change and indifference to leadership.

"Apparently this is what Trump meant when he promised that under his administration Americans would get tired of so much winning," said EWG President Ken Cook. "We've slipped to second place in carbon dioxide pollution, behind China, but if Energy Secretary Rick Perry's scheme goes through to force utility customers to pay above-market rates for electricity from dirty coal plants, we could close the gap."

In better news, last week EWG proudly released our Health Living: Home Guide. This week, we took a deep dive into the guide to show consumers how to avoid toxic dust in their homes.

We also provided context on two recent, startling studies – one on how poor farming practices and policy in the Great Plains is contributing to a new Dust Bowl, and the other on the effects of the rocket fuel chemical perchlorate on developing fetuses.

And with Thanksgiving right around the corner, EWG provided some tips on how to decode the complicated label claims on store-bought turkeys.

For coverage on these developments and more, here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.

EWG’s Farm Subsidy Database

Radio 570 WNAX: EWG Wants Farm Payments Targeted

The Environmental Working Group has released their updated Farm Subsidy Data Base. EWG Senior Analyst for Economics Anne Weir Schechinger says between 2015 and 2016, farmers received ARC and PLC payments totaling more than $14 Billion.

Growing South Carolina: Environmental Working Group Releases Updated Farm Subsidy Payment Database

The Environmental Working Group has updated its farm subsidy database with information from 2015 and 2016, reflecting programs enacted as part of the 2014 farm bill. Reprinted by 21 media outlets.

R Street Institute: Big Ag reaping federal subsidy benefits

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) this week published the most recent update to their Farm Subsidy Database, which serves as a useful guide to illustrate who is and who is not benefiting from the current system. It confirms the trend seen over decades of aggregated data on farming subsidies: the most successful agribusinesses receiving the largest portion of federal farm subsidies.

Scott Pruitt and the EPA

ThinkProgress: Scott Pruitt doesn’t let investigations get in the way of his regulatory rollback

“While the price tag for Pruitt’s phone booth should outrage every taxpayer, it’s who he’s speaking with and what they’re plotting that should be the most concerning to the American people,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group President, a nonprofit environmental group.

Trump and the Paris Climate Agreement

Common Dreams: ‘America Last’: US vs. Entire World After Syria Agrees to Join Paris Accord

"It's almost impossible to pick the most embarrassing action by President Trump since he took office: There are simply too many choose from," said Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook. "But his decision to pull the U.S. out of the climate pact is certainly near the top. A year ago, the country was leading the effort to combat climate change, but now with Trump in charge, we're the only nation on the planet fleeing from the fight."

EWG’s Healthy Living: Home Guide

The Washington Post: Health risks may lurk in your home, environmental group says

Tackling a home improvement project? Your next remodel may pretty up your home, but it could befoul the air you breathe. Now, the Healthy Living: Home Guide makes it easier to choose products that won’t contribute to indoor air pollution.

Mind Body Green: Your 101 Guide to Cleaning Your Home’s Air – No Purifier Required

“I was surprised by how many really bad products there are out there,” Tasha Stoiber, PH.D., a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group told mbg when speaking of the organization’s just-released Healthy Home Guide. “It could take you a while to sift through everything out there. You really need to know what you want to avoid and arm yourself with information before you go shopping.”

Trouble in Farm Country

GRACE Communications Foundation: Ag-Related Nitrate Common in Small Town Water Supplies, Says New EWG Report

According to a new report just out by EWG, the drinking water supplies for millions of people living in farm country are compromised because of a pollutant associated with agriculture: nitrate.

Cleaning Products

Safety + Health Magazine: ‘Cleaning Product Right to Know Act’ becomes law in California

Both the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group and the National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine maintain online databases of cleaning product chemicals and their safety ratings. Reprinted by Workers Compensation.

Daily Mom: Cleaning without Chemicals

The Environmental Working Group found that only 7 percent of household cleaners disclosed all their content. This organization studied tons of cleaners and found lung-harming ingredients in 53 percent. Even cleaners labeled as “green” can still have harmful chemicals in them.

The Science of Eating: Yale Study: Chemical Cleaners Can Double Cancer Risk

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group rates the safety of thousands of cleaning products. For a complete list of the safest (and most dangerous) cleaning products, go here.

Cosmetics

Teen Vogue: How Legislation Potentially Affects Harmful Chemicals in Your Beauty Products

That’s a lot of potential exposure, given that the Environmental Working Group has found adult women use an average of 12 products per day, containing an estimated 168 chemicals, and teenage girls use nearly 17 products per day on average.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Teen Vogue: How Legislation Potentially Affects Harmful Chemicals in Your Beauty Products

That’s a lot of potential exposure, given that the Environmental Working Group has found adult women use an average of 12 products per day, containing an estimated 168 chemicals, and teenage girls use nearly 17 products per day on average . In addition, another EWG report , out last year, found that products marketed to black women included higher quantities of hazardous substances such as parabens, formaldehyde, and lye (a key ingredient in some hair relaxers that has been linked to hair loss and scalp burns).

The Lovely Geek: Why I Switched to Green Beauty

It’s actually quite scary all the crap that goes into conventional beauty product. Enter The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and its Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, a non-bias organization that reviews the ingredients in products we use.

Conscious Life News: 10 Ways to Balance Your Hormones Naturally for Vibrant Health

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!

LA Loyolan: 4 cruelty and toxin-free beauty products

“I like The Honest Company products and I know that they’ve had some controversies, but to me it seemed all their lawsuits were people taking advantage of the celebrity name. Most of their products on [The Environmental Working Group] are verified.” The Environmental Working Group is a website that provides information about what’s in beauty and other household products. Swift also mentioned Origins. “Origins is another clean company. I like their foundation,” she said.

Glyphosate

Kaiser Health News: California Cracks Down on Weed Killer As Lawsuits Abound

California is the first state in the U.S. to “take regulatory action to protect our residents from this chemical,” said Olga Naidenko, senior science adviser for the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization. The move is a “huge step and has global implications.” Reprinted by Miami Herald and nine other outlets.

Mercury in Seafood

Waking Times: 6 Foods that Help the Body Detox Heavy Metals

These metals are present in our environment, including drinking water and foods. For example, the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit research organization environmental watchdog, study that showed that almost 50,000 public water systems in the U.S. are contaminated with dozens of harmful chemicals. These included heavy metals arsenic, chromium, barium, and uranium. Reprinted by Before It’s News and Nify Health.

Plate of the Union: Rescue Brew

Craft Beer: Even Ugly Fruit is Beautiful to Atlas Brew Works

“The markets are always looking for a place to give their produce,” explains Jocelyn Lyle from The Environmental Working Group (EWG). “They give to food banks always, but if it’s too spoiled and at that turning point you can’t actually safely give that food to consume in its raw state, so you have to manipulate it in a form to make it safe to use and beer is perfect for it.”

Perchlorate in Drinking Water

TIME: A Common Chemical May Be Unsafe for Pregnant Women and Babies. Here’s What You Need to Know

If you live in an area where tap water is known to exceed the EPA’s interim advisory of 15 parts per billion, the FDA also recommends using bottled water to prepare infant formula. Not sure what’s in your water? You can consult the Environmental Working Group’s tap water database.

Nonstick Chemicals in Drinking Water

Quartz: A new analysis of 4-year old data shows the EPA is ignoring a lot of toxins in US drinking water

Research also suggests that the toxins harm human health at much lower levels than the EPA threshold. According to David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, there is debate in the toxicology community as to whether, like lead, there is actually no safe level of exposure, particularly in children who can accumulate more of it than adults and where some studies have suggested an association with behavioral and developmental problems. Reprinted by six other outlets.

The Intelligencer: Is the EPA missing PFC water contamination across the country? One expert says yes.

If the 28 percent number held true across all public water systems tested by the EPA, it would mean about 1,377 systems, serving at least 13.8 million Americans, would contain at least one of the perfluorinated chemical. That number is strikingly close to a 15 million person estimate generated in a June 2017 analysis from Northeastern University and the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which tallied up areas of known contamination nationwide.

NJ.com: Editorial - N.J. wants to keep this toxin from getting to your drinking water

Still, the Garden State deserves the kudos it’s getting on the national level from the likes of the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington that seeks stronger checks on the PFOA family of chemicals, among other toxins. Reprinted by the Tribune.

Shelter Island Reporter: Stony Brook center to look at water contamination

Although Shelter Island doesn’t draw its water from the county, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non profit group of scientists, lawyers and communications experts aiming to protect human health warned that drinking water from wells such as those on Shelter Island could become affected through wastewater discharges and other toxic wastes.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Healthline: Rinsing That Apple Off with Water Might Not Be Good Enough

Kirkpatrick advises her patients to follow the guidance of The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen, lists made by the Environmental Working Group that rank fruit and vegetables most and least likely to have pesticide residue. Reprinted by Gears of Biz.

Food Dive: FDA: 98% of domestically grown food is within pesticide residue limits

Environmental organizations usually jump on pesticide residue sampling reports to point out that even if detected levels were low, they are still present and indicate that chemical use on crops meant for human consumption needs to be scaled back. The ever-present debate rages on, even before the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” report shows up each spring. Some find the interpretation of testing results alarmist – especially those who believe that contamination levels pose an imminent threat to public health.

MSN: 75 Unhealthiest Foods On the Planet

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) notes that because there are so few studies on its potential health risks (which include asthma, allergies, and cancer), it should be removed from the food supply. Yet you can still find it in Sunbeam’s Texas Toast.

The Science of Eating: McDonald’s Fries Contain Far Less Junk in the UK Than the US

Overall, potatoes have among the highest levels of pesticide residues of any food crop. In last year’s pesticide testing done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other fruit or vegetable. Reprinted by Nify Health

EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

Reader’s Digest: 12 Toxic Ingredients Found in Your Beauty Products

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) cites avobenzone as a relatively safe sunscreen ingredient, however, research suggests otherwise.                             

National Tap Water Database

KXAN: ‘I want our water fixed’: Rockdale residents push city to fix ‘red water’

As for safety of the red water, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) says the water is in compliance. However, Donnelly-Kerlin found reports from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that say otherwise. “Three contaminants that are cancer causing agents have tested positive repeatedly for that in Rockdale water,” she said. 

 

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