Nothing is more important to your health and quality of life than safe drinking water and clean streams and lakes. Across the country, pollution from farms is one of the primary reasons water is no longer clean or safe. Agriculture is the leading source of pollution of rivers and streams surveyed by U.S. government experts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Thankfully, if we make simple changes in the way we farm, we can take a big step toward clean water.
Keeping water clean and safe enough to drink is a tough job, especially when there are forces that sabotage this vital public health goal.
The Environmental Protection Agency was first alerted 15 years ago to contamination of drinking water by PFOA, a chemical used to make Teflon that has since been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, heart disease and other serious health problems. Since then, PFOA pollution has grown from a regional problem to a national crisis. Yet EPA still has not set a legal limit for the compound in drinking water, even in the face of repeated appeals from state officials and representatives of the public interest community.
The European Union just banned two agricultural weed killers linked to infertility, reproductive problems and fetal development – the first-ever EU ban on endocrine-disrupting pesticides. That’s good news for Europeans. But as in Europe, many endocrine-disrupting weed killers remain widely used on American crops, and from farm fields make their way into drinking water and food.
National media outlets, public health officials and Congress have all focused recently on lead contamination in drinking water, as they should be. The tainted water in Flint, Mich., Newark, N.J. and many other communities around the country poses a serious, potentially lifelong public health threat to millions. But industrial pollution in people happens long before they take their first sip of water.
Americans are watching their tap water more closely than ever these days following the lead crisis in Flint, Mich., and other incidents of water contamination around the country.
Throughout most of the 20th Century, American cities and homeowners installed lead pipes and solder in their tap water delivery systems – creating a toxic legacy for all of us. And the problem isn’t likely to change soon. No matter where you live, you can use simple techniques to discover whether your tap water is polluted with lead.
The EWG staff voted the landmark global climate accord approved on December 12 in Paris as the top environmental story of 2015. In our judgment, the achievement of the Paris pact is that, for the first time, representatives of 196 nations – large and small, rich and poor, heavily industrial and rural – agreed in principle that they must reduce carbon emissions and that they will report on their progress every five years.Read More
As in past years, EWG asked its staff of scientists, policy analysts and governmental and communications specialists to vote on what they considered the 10 most important stories of 2015 in two categories: stories that relate specifically to agriculture and those that involve general environmental issues. The rest of the agriculture list is below. To see the staff’s ranking of general environmental stories, got to EWG’s Enviroblog.
Ripped from the pages of an obscure science fiction novel, millions run screaming from the threat of a toxic algal bloom blanketing almost 650 miles of the Ohio River. Regrettably, this story isn’t made up. Officials in the Ohio River basin are scrambling to deal with poisonous slime that may compromise the safety of drinking water, suffocate aquatic life and halt recreational activity for much of the region.
How many times a day do you drink water? Cook with it? Brush your teeth with it? Offer some to your children?
Newly published research shows that even very small doses of the Teflon chemical PFOA in drinking water pose a more serious threat to public health than previously thought. EWG’s report on the research, released today, shows that federal guidance on safe levels for PFOA is hundreds, even thousands of times too weak.
Every time they drink a glass of tap water, people in the mid-Ohio River Valley of West Virginia and Ohio may be consuming unsafe amounts of an industrial chemical linked to cancer, birth defects, heart disease and other illness. More than a decade after this threat became known, government regulators have failed to set enforceable standards to ensure the water is safe – and now, new science says the danger may be much greater than either residents or regulators thought.Read More
Scientists are only beginning to investigate how certain chemicals may interact to contribute to cancer development. But given that we live in a sea of chemicals, it makes sense to begin reducing exposures to ones we know are bad actors.Read More
We live in the age of plastic. Every year we make plastic stuff in amounts that equal the weight of the entire human population, and enough of it is thrown away to circle the Earth four times. More than five trillion plastic pieces, altogether weighing more than 250,000 tons, are floating at sea. We have polluted our oceans with plastic to the point where we have created five enormous accumulation zones, sometimes referred to as garbage patches.
Nitrogen from fertilizers and manures washed off farmland costs Americans $157 billion a year in damages to human health and the environment.
The Obama Administration’s new hydraulic fracturing rules, released Friday, leave too much control in the hands of the oil and gas industry, particularly when it comes to public disclosure of the toxic chemicals used in fracking and fracking wastewater, Environmental Working Group said.Read More
The recent discovery of high levels of benzene in wastewater from oil and gas fracking operations in California turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg. An extensive review of a year-old state data by the Environmental Working Group has found that wastewater from hundreds of fracking operations was heavily contaminated with a toxic stew of chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm and nervous system damage.Read More
WASHINGTON – President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL bill shows he stands for national policies that invest in clean renewable energy and that he understands the destructive impact this project would have on America’s environment and energy future.Read More
EWG Executive Director Heather White said today that Monday’s West Virginia oil spill and explosion shows that it’s absolutely critical for the U.S. to reduce its dependence on oil and base our future economy on clean energy.Read More