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EWG News Roundup (5/25): Best Sunscreens to Buy, Teflon-Like Chemicals in Water of 110 Million Americans and More

In the News
Friday, May 25, 2018

Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, EWG released its 12th annual Guide to Sunscreens this week. As we do every year, we rated the safety and efficacy of more than 1,000 sunscreens, moisturizers and lip balms that advertise sun protection. EWG researchers found that a staggering 67 percent of the products don’t work well or contain ingredients that could harm your health.

The sun poses special risks to infants and children, so EWG counted down ways for parents to protect their children from sun damage.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt held a summit on toxic fluorinated chemicals, or PFAS chemicals, in drinking water. This comes just a week after the bombshell revelation that his agency was working to stifle a recent study by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that contested the EPA’s safe level for these chemicals.

In anticipation of the summit, EWG analyzed previously unreleased, taxpayer-funded data that estimated the water supplied to almost 110 million Americans could be contaminated with PFAS chemicals. But until the Trump administration releases the ATSDR study, and collects and releases all the PFAS tap water test results, the public will never know the true scope of PFAS contamination of water.

“This is data that was paid for by the taxpayers, but the EPA didn’t bother to collect or release it, keeping millions of Americans in the dark about the dangerous chemicals in their drinking water,” said David Andrews, Ph.D., an EWG senior scientist and author of the new report. “How is hiding the truth an example of ‘leadership,’ or making this a ‘national priority’?”

In other EPA news, Scott Pruitt tapped noted climate skeptic Mike Stoker as administrator of EPA’s Region 9 office. Stoker, who now oversees the agency’s work in California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii, was previously the spokesperson for a California oil company and touts himself as the creator of the “lock her up” movement against Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.

“If I was standing blindfolded on Market Street I could find a dozen more qualified and committed people to do the job,” said EWG President Ken Cook.

EWG also looked at a recent study by scientists at Indiana University and Toxic-Free Future that found a number of popular nap mats used at child care centers are treated with harmful flame retardants chemicals. On EWG’s new Children’s Health site, we gave parents tips on how to avoid flame retardants – at day care and at home.

Additionally, we provided an update on the food industry’s reaction, or lack thereof, to recent food labeling rules the Trump administration put in place. And we listed the ways Pruitt’s EPA has made American life more toxic.

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

2018 Guide to Sunscreens

CNN: Do kids need a different kind of sunscreen?

Several consumer guides provide product rankings using their own criteria, including Consumer Reports and the Environmental Working Group, whose guide to roughly 650 products was released Tuesday. Reprinted 133 times.

TODAY.com: Here are the 23 best sunscreens for kids, according to consumer group

A health watchdog group is shining a light on sunscreens marketed to babies and children. The Environmental Working Group, a consumer watchdog group, released its annual sunscreen guide Tuesday, testing 650 beach and sport sunscreens.

Good Housekeeping: 10 Best Sunscreens to Protect Kids From Sun Damage

Finding the best sunscreen for your family can be tricky. But every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) comes out with its annual sunscreen guide based on a critical look at some of the most popular options out there. Ahead, we narrowed down the list based on availability and affordability. Apply your pick 30 minutes before heading outside and re-apply as directed, says the American Academy of Dermatology.

HuffPost Canada: The Worst Sunscreens Of 2018 For Kids Have Inaccurate SPF Labels: Report

Parents trust that the sunscreen they buy for their kids is safe, but a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) proves that's not always the case. According to EWG's 2018 Guide to Sunscreens report, some sun lotions contain ingredients that boost SPF, but do little to protect children from the sun's harmful rays.

KQED: Push to Ban Coral-Killing Sunscreens Goes National

The CBD petition comes one day after the nonprofit Environmental Working Group published its annual sunscreen guide, which found oxybenzone in two-thirds of the 650 sunscreens it reviewed. The group cites oxybenzone as an environmental and health hazard that acts as a hormone disruptor and is measured in the body of nearly every American.

Parents Magazine: These Are the Worst Sunscreens of 2018 for Babies and Kids, Says EWG

As parents, we want to believe that applying sunscreen to our children is protecting them from the sun's potentially harmful rays. But according to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), some sunscreens can actually be unsafe for kids and babies.

Popular Science: You have questions about sunscreen. We have answers.

There’s also a report from the Environmental Working Group that gives an overall rating to how UVA-protective certain brands are. It doesn’t get into details on specific sunscreens, but Neutrogena, Coppertone, and Banana Boat all came in toward the top. 

Yahoo! News: Your complete guide to choosing the perfect summer sunscreen

With summer approaching and skin cancer rates at an all-time high, getting full protection from the sun is crucial. In anticipation, Environmental Working Group released its 12th Annual Guide to Sunscreens on Tuesday, outlining the best sunscreen products on the market and warning about potentially dangerous ingredients present in lotions and sprays. Reprinted by Yahoo! FinanceYahoo! LifestyleYahoo! Movies and Yahoo! Sports.

Allure: The Environmental Working Group Released Its Sunscreen Guide for 2018

The 12th annual guide was released today, and the EWG has given more than 1,000 products with SPF a rating from 1 to 10; a 1 is the best possible rating, reflecting that the product's ingredients have both low health concerns and excellent balance of UVA/UVB protection, while a 10 means it's missing all of EWG's marks.

Allure: The FDA Is Warning Consumers About the Dangers of Sunscreen Pills

More sunscreen news: The Environmental Working Group Announces Its Annual Sunscreen Guide for 2018. Reprinted by Yahoo! News.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Study finds 67 percent of sunscreens don’t actually work — find one that does

Using sunscreen is imperative for protecting your skin from sunburn or cancer. But finding a product that really works to safeguard against ultraviolat A (UVA) rays isn’t always so easy. According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group’s 12th annual sunscreen guide, 67 percent of products tested don’t work well or contain potentially harmful ingredients. Reprinted by Dayton Daily News

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Stay away from dangerous sunscreen pills, FDA warns

The AJC published this helpful guide to understanding sunscreens on the market with the help of recent sunscreen data from the Environmental Working Group and Consumer Reports.

Bustle: The 5 Best Organic Moisturizers With SPF

Naturopathica Daily UV Defense Cream SPF 50 for $55: Full disclosure, though: while the cruelty-free brand does its best to only use ingredients that are all-natural, plant-based, and highly-rated according to the Environmental Working Group, not all of them are 100 percent organic. This lightweight daily moisturizer uses zinc oxide (a natural form of sun protection) and deep sea enzymes to keep skin safe, in addition to antioxidant-rich green tea extract, which also protects against free radicals.

Fashionista: 21 Top-Rated Sunscreens to Use This Summer, According to Environmentalists

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a lobbying group and think tank that focuses on toxic chemicals, corporate accountability and more, not all sunscreens are created equal. Some contain chemicals that can be harmful to coral reefs, and even though they may prevent sunburn, they can have other negative effects when absorbed into the body through your skin.

Live Science: The 'Best' Sunscreens of 2018: What to Look For

The report, from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), reviewed 650 beach and sport sunscreens for the group's annual Guide to Sunscreens, released today (May 22). EWG is a nonprofit advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., that focuses on environmental issues and public health.

Mind Body Green: Are You Buying The Wrong Sunscreen? Here's What To Look Out For This Year

Every year to kick off the summer season, the Environmental Working Group gives its take on the state of the sunscreen industry. The watchdog group surveys hundreds of sunscreens on the market looking for the healthiest and most eco-friendly options. 

POPSUGAR: 23 of the Safest Sunscreens For Kids and Babies — Including Drugstore and Amazon Options! 
Every year, the Environmental Working Group evaluates and reevaluates all of the new and old sunscreens on the market to ensure that it's informing consumers of the safest (and the most harmful) of the bunch based on a number of factors. Reprinted by Blogorama.

Reader’s Digest: 15 Skin Cancer Myths You Need to Stop Believing Right Now

According to the Environmental Working Group's Guide to Sunscreens, products with SPF 50 or above simply don't do a great job at blocking UVA rays. Those are the ones most associated with malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Save your money and stay in the 30-50 SPF range. These are the best sunscreens for every skin type. Reprinted by MSN.

Romper: The EWG's 2018 Safe Sunscreen Guide Is Out: Here Are The Biggest Takeaways & The Best Brands To Stock Up On

Summer is fast approaching, which means protecting your skin (and your family's) against the sun's harmful rays is crucial. But your usual sun care routine may need some updates. Now that the new 2018 Safe Sunscreen Guide from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is out, it's the perfect time to make sure you and your kids are avoiding any unnecessary sun exposure, and keeping yourselves protected when you are outside.

StyleCaster: The Environmental Group Just Released Its 2018 Sunscreen Guide

We’re constantly waxing poetic about the importance of sunscreen, and although the Environmental Working Group believes SPF should be your last resort for sun protection, the non-profit organization still does an incredibly thorough job of finding the healthiest options among the most popular.

Treehugger: 5 sunscreen ingredients to avoid

Thankfully, Environmental Working Group is on the task. Each year they publish the EWG Sunscreen Guide, which presents a comprehensive report on the state of sun protecting products. The database of products is invaluable and is a great tool for consumers. It lists the data for some 650 sunscreens for beach and sports use, 250 SPF-rated moisturizers and 115 lip products – each one evaluated for its safety and efficacy, with high ratings going to those that “provide broad spectrum, long-lasting protection with ingredients that pose fewer health concerns when absorbed by the body.”

Well+Good: If this vitamin is in your sunscreen, it could actually increase your chance of cancer

Back in 2010 when the Environmental Working Group (EWG) first brought up concerns about retinyl palmitate, 40 percent of products contained it—something that’s not great considering research found it speeds up the development of tumors and lesions on animals when exposed to sunlight. Now, according to the just-published annual sunscreen report from the EWG, the vitamin A derivative is still found in 1 in 8 of this year’s reviewed products.

Well+Good: Why your sunscreen might be staining your clothes—and how to prevent it

And different ingredients not only interact differently with the sun, they also have different effects on light versus dark clothing. (BTW, if you had no idea that there were, in fact, different sunscreen ingredients, the EWG’s 2018 guide to sunscreens hit today to help you sort through everything there is to know.) 

Well+Good: Do you know the big difference between sunscreen and sunblock?

They work by deflecting ultraviolet rays from penetrating the skin Carla Burns, research analyst at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) says. On the other hand chemical filters, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, octocrylene, etc., are actually sunscreens. That’s because they absorb the UV rays and turn that into heat through a chemical reaction in the skin.

EPA Summit on PFAS Chemicals and EWG PFAS Report

The Associated Press: Pruitt promises action on rising threat from contaminants

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group estimated in a new study that more than 1,500 water systems serving as many as 110 million customers across the country may be contaminated.

ABC News: EPA will move to label chemical found in drinking water 'hazardous'

An analysis from the non-partisan advocacy group Environmental Working Group found that some level of the chemicals are present in drinking water for up to 110 million Americans. Drinking water systems for at least 16 million people tested with PFAS levels higher than the limit recommended by the EPA.

The New York Times: Three Reporters Are Turned Away From an E.P.A. Event

“Scott Pruitt had the chance to generate the first positive press coverage of his tenure at E.P.A.,” said Alex Formuzis, a spokesman for the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization, “then decided to throw reporters out of a public meeting about widespread drinking water contamination.”

Politico: Inside Today's PFAS Summit

Related doc: Up to 110 million Americans could have PFAS in their water, new analysis from the Environmental Working Group finds — exceeding the group's previous estimates. Read more. 

The Washington Post: The Energy 202: EPA holds summit on dangerous chemicals after delayed report

“Scott Pruitt could score points with the public by taking action in the interest of public health and release all data... and pressure other federal agencies, utilities and labs to do the same," said Dave Andrews, senior scientist at the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group. "Goodness knows he could use some positive press."

The Associated Press: Michigan will spend $1.7 million to test for PFAS in public water supplies

And it looks like Michigan will have a lot of cleaning up to do. The state leads the nation in PFAS contamination sites, according to a recent report from the Environmental Working Group. 

Earther: The EPA Barred Flint's Representatives From Attending Its Toxic Water Summit [Updated]

What’s more, Kildee’s district is home to a number of sites contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) according to the Environmental Working Group. PFAS, which include chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems, are what this summit was about.

E&E News/Greenwire: EPA bars reporters from summit on politically toxic chemicals

After the summit is concluded, top EPA officials plan to visit Michigan, New Hampshire and other states affected by PFAS contamination. A study released today from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group estimates that more than 1,500 drinking water systems, serving up to 110 million customers across the country, may be contaminated with PFOA, PFOS and similar chemicals.

E&E News/Greenwire: Science proposal muddies reviews of toxic nonstick chemicals

EPA concluded a two-day summit yesterday that focused on combating the health threats posed by PFAS chemicals, which the nonprofit Environmental Working Group estimates are present in drinking water systems across the country that serve up to 110 million customers.

E&E News/Greenwire: EPA bars reporters from summit on politically toxic chemicals

After the summit is concluded, top EPA officials plan to visit Michigan, New Hampshire and other states affected by PFAS contamination. A study released today from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group estimates that more than 1,500 drinking water systems, serving up to 110 million customers across the country, may be contaminated with PFOA, PFOS and similar chemicals.

The Hill: EPA grapples with potential health threat in drinking water

“At this point, it really just seems like a public show, with no action to really to back it up,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. 

CBS7: WSPA (Spartanburg, SC): EPA tried to stop publication of water contamination report at military bases

But, some lawmakers and environmentalists are still concerned reports of contaminated water at military bases nationwide is raising concerns about the safety of service members and their families. David Andrews, of Environmental Working Group said, “It really opens up the question of to what levels has the DOD taken to address these contaminated waters.” 

The Fayetteville Observer: EPA to set GenX toxicity value

The same day as the summit, the Environmental Working Group in Washington released a report stating that up to 110 million Americans could be drinking water contaminated with PFAS chemicals at levels of 2.5 parts per trillion or greater. According to the organization, independent scientific assessments find that the safe level of exposure to PFAS chemicals is about 1 part per trillion. Reprinted by Greensboro News & Record and Wilmington Star News.

Newsmax: Flint Rep.'s Staff Barred From Parts of EPA Water Summit

An analysis published Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group found up to 110 million U.S. residents might be exposed to drinking water contaminated with PFAS, the Examiner reported. Kildee's home state is planning to spend $1.7 million to test water supplies across the state, including in 1,380 public water systems and 461 schools

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel: Group: PFAS contamination far worse than was believed

The Environmental Working Group said its data shows the tap water supplies for about 110 million Americans have been impacted by the PFAS compounds. C8, once used to make Teflon at the Washington Works in Wood County and suspected of causing six diseases in people, and its successor GenX are in the family of fluorinated chemicals.

StateImpact Pennsylvania: Pruitt: EPA will weigh regulation of two toxic chemicals. Advocates are skeptical

To coincide with the EPA summit, EWG on Tuesday released a new study showing that some 1,500 U.S. drinking water systems supplying 110 million people could have the chemicals in them at levels that exceed what EWG says is safe. In some cases, contamination is higher than the lower standard advocated by the EPA.

StateImpact Pennsylvania: White House feared PR ‘nightmare’ over agency’s stricter chemical limits, emails show

National data on PFC contamination were published in 2017 by Northeastern University and Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit that advocates for stronger regulation of PFCs.

ThinkProgress: More than 100 million Americans’ drinking water could be contaminated by harmful chemicals

That’s a huge number of people. But throw that figure out the window because a new report released Tuesday by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimates that the drinking water of up to 110 million people across the country — almost seven times more than the group’s previous estimate — may be contaminated with the class of chemicals.

WCMU Public Radio (Mt. Pleasant, MI): State says PFAS testing to cost 1.7 million dollars

A report from the Environmental Working Group found Michigan has the most known PFAs contamination sites in the country.

Washington Examiner: EPA's Scott Pruitt says chemical-free drinking water a 'national priority,' deflects blame for blocking a study on it

An analysis published Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group found that up to 110 million U.S. residents may be exposed to drinking water contaminated with PFAS.

EPA Science Advisory Panels

E&E News/Greenwire: GOP lawmakers, industry had EPA's ear on advisory panels

Other documents in the file include a letter from a top executive with American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, along with 2015 congressional testimony from officials with the Environmental Working Group and World Environment Center.

EPA and Chemical Plants

The Daily Nonpareil (Council Bluffs, Iowa): Editorial – Rule changes would increase danger 

Not unexpectedly, a chemical manufacturing group welcomed the changes, while spokesman Alex Formuzis of the Environmental Working Group called them a “hollowing out” of the original safety upgrades.

EPA and Mike Stoker

San Francisco Chronicle: Trump appoints new EPA head in SF who led ‘lock her up’ chants against Clinton

Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group, said the previous hiring difficulties may be why the embattled Pruitt was willing to hire Stoker despite his desire to oversee 702 employees in San Francisco from a Los Angeles satellite office. “That he doesn’t even want to face EPA employees who’ve spent their careers protecting public health, speaks volumes about what we can expect from his leadership,” Cook said.

Algal Blooms Report

Great Lakes Now Detroit Public TV: A Growing Epidemic of Toxic Algal Blooms

New research just out from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) shows a growing number of algal blooms since 2010 – at least 300 blooms in lakes, rivers and bays in 48 states. Nationwide map map shows locations of reported toxic blooms in green, Image by ewg.org. The new report also shows 169 toxic blooms were reported in 40 states in 2017, compared to only three blooms in 2010.

Brownfield Ag News: Algal blooms on the rise in U.S. waterways

Toxic algal blooms continue to be a problem in Lake Erie and other US waterways, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group.

California Lead Testing Bill

California Health Report: Bill Would Require Childcare Centers to Test Drinking Water for Lead

The bill, introduced by Rep. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) with backing from the non-profit advocacy organization the Environmental Working Group, received unanimous support from two assembly committees earlier this year. The Committee on Appropriations is expected to decide next week whether to bring the bill before the full assembly for a vote, said Susan Little, EWG’s senior advocate for California government affairs.

Cleaning Products

Cheat Sheet: The Shocking Reason This 1 Common Household Cleaning Brand Has an ‘F’ Rating

Want to know what the most dangerous household cleaning brand is? We count down to No. 1 (page 10), plus share the products deemed the safest by the Environmental Working Group, ahead.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

New York Online: Ask the Strategist: What’s the Best Long-lasting Natural Lipstick?

As a general note, to determine the naturalness of any given product, people in the natural-beauty world often look to the Environmental Working Group, who rate every single beauty product by how natural and healthy for you it truly is. Check out that entire list on lipsticks

Dr. Axe: 7 Steps to Balance Hormones Naturally

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 for recommendations for which products to use and avoid.

Healthy Beautiful: The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Products – Ultimate Review & Guide

Humane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment Body & Face Wash: The only brand amongst all mentioned to has an EWG rating. This means that it is environmentally friendly, there are no harmful chemicals used, and there is very low chance of irritation or allergic reactions to any of their line. Highest EWG safety rating of 1. No parabens, SLS, fragrance, or animal testing. 100% hassle-free guarantee.

The Farm Bill 

High Plains Journal: Conservative groups to Congress: Farm bill must address commodity programs

These lavish programs already vastly exceed a reasonable safety net, yet this bill expands them further. For example, according the Environmental Working Group, each family member in a family-owned farm can now collect subsidies worth up to $125,000 per year. They don’t even have to live or work on the farm.

Oroville Mercury Register (Oroville, Calif.): Rep. Doug LaMalfa: Farm bill failure a ‘slap in the face’

LaMalfa is a rice farm owner and has received subsidies over the years amounting to over $1.7 million in traditional farm subsidies from 1995 to 2016, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Plastic Pollution

Bloomberg BNA: Bottled Water and the Damage Done: Coping With Plastic Pollution

“I think anybody that walks down the street, in almost any city, can see that we can’t just recycle our way out of this problem,” Nneka Leiba, director of healthy living science at the Environmental Working Group, told Bloomberg Environment.

Nonstick Chemicals in Cookware

Earth911: Get Unstuck! 7 Nonstick Cookware Alternatives

In a 2007 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study, PFOA was detected in 100 percent of the newborns examined. According to the Environmental Working Group, PFCs are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weaker immune defense against disease.

EWG’s Guide to Seafood

Mercola: How Farmed and Frankenfish Salmon Endanger Our Most Perfect Food

Similarly, when the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested farmed salmon from U.S. grocery stores, they found farmed salmon had, on average 16 times more PCBs than wild salmon, 4 times more PCBs than beef and 3.4 times more PCBs than other seafood.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

The Washington Post: The truth about organic produce and pesticides

And then I talked with Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group. She’s also a data geek, a woman after my own heart, and she had actually tried to replicate Savage’s results. She couldn’t.

EcoWatch: What All Parents Need to Know About Pesticides in Produce

Every spring the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases our Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. The guide can be used by anyone trying to avoid pesticides, but it's especially important for parents to limit their children's exposures to these toxic chemicals.

Mind Body Green: You Can Buy Everything You Need To Heal Your Gut For Under $20. Here's Your Shopping List

Doing that takes a little know-how. Two excellent sources are the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. These lists, updated yearly, catalog the most- and least-contaminated produce. If you can’t afford to buy everything organic, this list will help you make the most-informed choices. As much as possible, stay away from the "dirty dozen."

Mind Body Green: 6 Things You Need To Know Today (May 22, 2018)

According to a new report from the EWG, there are a few things parents should keep in mind when it comes to pesticides in fruits and vegetables. First, kids eat more fruits and vegetables compared to their body weight than adults do, which increases their exposure to pesticides. And yes, when kids ingest pesticides, it is associated with long-term damage—so beware of particularly pesticide-laden produce, like strawberries, spinach, and as of this year, apples and pears.  

Tap Water Database

Rivard Report: Digging Into the Health Effects of Water Contamination Left By Metal Plating Site

Although the concentration of hexavalent chromium in those wells is far under the legal limit, information from the Environmental Protection Agency, the State of California, and a senior scientist with chemical watchdog Environmental Working Group indicate it may pose an elevated cancer risk if consumed for many years.

Trouble in Farm Country

Courier & Press (Evansville, Ind.): Tighter controls sought for polluted farm runoff

Those conservation practices were designed to help stop polluted runoff from fields susceptible to erosion. However, the Environmental Working Group says dwindling enforcement of those practices is threatening water supplies in many rural communities with polluted runoff caused by eroding farmlands.


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