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EWG News Roundup (7/6): Pruitt Leaves EPA, EWG Comments on GMO Rule and More

In the News
Friday, July 6, 2018

After 18 months of assaulting public health protections and excessively spending taxpayer dollars, Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt announced his resignation on Thursday. EWG deemed him the worst EPA chief in the agency’s 48-year history.

“Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator,” EWG President Ken Cook said. “He will forever be associated with extraordinary ethical corruption and the abuse of power for petty personal enrichments. Sadly, the ideological fervor with which Pruitt pursued the destruction of environmental regulations and the agency itself lives on in the Trump administration. So while Pruitt is gone, and good riddance, our resistance to all he stood for will continue undiminished.”

This week also marked the closing of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s open comment period for its proposed disclosure rule for genetically modified food. Last week, EWG exposed that the current draft rule could exempt roughly 10,000 foods that contain highly refined GMO sugars and oils. EWG, along with over 11,000 other concerned citizens and organizations, submitted comments to the agency.

Finally, both the Senate and the House farm bills have passed in their respective chambers – now comes the time for the chambers to reconcile their bills. EWG counted down the reasons why the Senate version is better for both farmers and non-farmers alike.

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

Scott Pruitt Resigns from EPA

NBC News: Scott Pruitt EPA replacement Andrew Wheeler won't be any better for environment, green groups say

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, deemed Pruitt "the worst head of the agency in its 48-year history." "He will forever be associated with extraordinary ethical corruption and the abuse of power for petty personal enrichments," Cook said in a statement. “Sadly, the ideological fervor with which Pruitt pursued the destruction of environmental regulations and the agency itself live on in the Trump administration.”

The Guardian: Scott Pruitt is out but his impact on the environment will be felt for years

“Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. “He will forever be associated with extraordinary ethical corruption,” he continued. 

PBS NewsHour: Scott Pruitt resigns as head of EPA, Trump says

Environmental and transparency groups cheered Pruitt’s resignation, including Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group, who said in a statement that “after 18 months of ethical scandals, profligate spending of taxpayer dollars and rollbacks of public health protections … Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator.”

Quartz: Scandal-plagued EPA head Scott Pruitt has been replaced by a coal lobbyist

Pruitt may have been the worst EPA chief ever, some believe. “Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator,” said Ken Cook, the head of the Environmental Working Group, a consumer advocacy group. “He will forever be associated with extraordinary ethical corruption and the abuse of power for petty personal enrichments.”

Reuters: Under fire for ethics scandals, EPA chief Pruitt resigns

The Environmental Working Group, a public health and environment watchdog, called Pruitt “unquestionably the worst head of the agency in its 48-year history.”

StateImpact Pennsylvania (NPR): Scott Pruitt’s resignation welcomed by lawmakers from both parties

Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy group on PFAS and other environmental issues, called Pruitt the worst leader in the EPA’s history. Reprinted by WHYY.

Yahoo! News: Scott Pruitt earns a one-way ticket back to Oklahoma. He may want to travel coach.

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, serenaded Pruitt by calling him “a disgrace.” Democrats in Congress met news of his departure with similar cheer. “Scott Pruitt was able to keep his position for so long — despite astonishing megalomania and unethical behavior — only because of Donald Trump’s historic embrace of corruption,” Beyer said in a statement.

Agri-Pulse: Pruitt resigns from EPA post

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said Pruitt “will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator.”

DTN: Embattled EPA Head Pruitt Resigns

Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said Pruitt would go down in history as "a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator. He will forever be associated with extraordinary ethical corruption and the abuse of power for petty personal enrichments."

Los Alamos Daily News: Officials Weigh In On EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resignation

Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook: “Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator. He will forever be associated with extraordinary ethical corruption and the abuse of power for petty personal enrichments. Sadly, the ideological fervor with which Pruitt pursued the destruction of environmental regulations and the agency itself live on in the Trump administration. So, while Pruitt is gone, and good riddance, our resistance to all he stood for will continue undiminished.” 

The Wire: US: Environmental Protection Agency Chief Resigns Amid Ethics Scandals

The Environmental Working Group, a public health and environment watchdog, called Pruitt “unquestionably the worst head of the agency in its 48-year history.”

Biofuels Digest: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns

Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook: “Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator. He will forever be associated with extraordinary ethical corruption and the abuse of power for petty personal enrichments. Sadly, the ideological fervor with which Pruitt pursued the destruction of environmental regulations and the agency itself live on in the Trump administration. So while Pruitt is gone, and good riddance, our resistance to all he stood for will continue undiminished.”

Business Day: US EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns amid a long list of ethics scandals

The Environmental Working Group, a public health and environment watchdog, called Pruitt "unquestionably the worst head of the agency in its 48-year history". Pruitt, as Oklahoma’s attorney-general before heading up the EPA, had sued the federal agency more than a dozen times on behalf of his oil-drilling state.

ChemManager: Scott Pruitt Steps Down as EPA Administrator

“Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). But even with Pruitt gone,  he said, “our resistance to all he stood for will continue undiminished.”

Common Dreams: Finally! 'Victory for People and the Planet' as EPA Chief Scott Pruitt Resigns

"Scott Pruitt will go down in history as a disgrace to the office of EPA administrator," Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group said in a statement, noting that the work of green groups fighting the Trump environmental agenda is not finished.

Courthouse News Service: Pruitt resigns as head of EPA; former coal industry lobbyist named acting administrator

Typical was a statement from Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group an organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals. “After 18 months of ethical scandals, profligate spending of taxpayer dollars and rollbacks of public health protections, Scott Pruitt has resigned as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He leaves a legacy as unquestionably the worst head of the agency in its 48-year history,” Cook said.

Hawaii Bans Oxybenzone

CBS News: Hawaii moves to ban sale of sunscreens with coral-harming chemicals

Scientists have found the two substances can be toxic to coral reefs, which are a vital part of the ocean ecosystem and a popular draw for tourists. Both are widely used in sunscreen, with oxybenzone present in the blood of 96 percent of Americans, according to the Environmental Working Group.  

AccuWeather: Hawaii becomes 1st state to ban sunscreens deemed harmful to coral reefs

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides a list of reef-safe sunscreen brands.

Mic: Hawaii becomes the first state to ban sunscreens that damage coral reefs

A number of sunscreens from popular brands like Banana Boat, Coppertone and Australian Gold contain either oxybenzone or octinoxate, according to a search of the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetics ingredients database.

Fast Company: Can your sunscreen protect you without killing marine life?

Also, though both substances are FDA-approved for use in sunscreens, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group notes numerous studies linking oxybenzone to hormone disruption and cell damage that may lead to skin cancer. In its 2018 annual sunscreen guide, the EWG found oxybenzone in two-thirds of the 650 products it reviewed.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: How to choose a reef-friendly sunscreen that also protects skin

From a human health standpoint, in its 2018 annual sunscreen guide, the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental health organization, advises avoiding products containing oxybenzone, which it gives its highest toxicity rating (8) for active ingredients in sunscreens, followed by octinoxate (6).

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Hawaii becomes the first state to prohibit sunscreens with coral-damaging chemicals

Spray sunscreens are not recommended by the Environmental Working Group, due to a risk of inhalation and difficulty ensuring an adequately thick and even layer on skin.

Honolulu Civil Beat: Hawaii Governor Starts The Clock On Sunscreen Ban

For more information on oxybenzone and octinoxate-free sunscreen options, visit Environmental Working Group’s website dedicated to sunscreen. It provides research findings and offers tips for shopping for alternative sunscreens.

Treehugger: Finally, reef-safe sunscreens are all the rage

I've noticed a significant difference in availability. Whereas I used to order reef-safe sunblocks online, now I can find great options at my local pharmacy, such as Thinksport, a top-rated brand by the EWG.

ATSDR Study on PFAS Chemicals              

ABC 7: Community raises alarms about potential cancer link to water contamination

Dangerous PFAS levels have been identified in at least 190 communities around the country and in tests at 126 military facilities, according to information compiled by researchers at Northeastern University and the Environmental Working Group, leading to calls for the government to regulate and clean up the chemicals.

Iosco County News-Herald: Kildee, EWG react to release of PFAS study

In a separate press release, issued by the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG), it is stated that the ATSDR report was released on June 20, and had been suppressed by the EPA, the Department of Defense and the White House.

Decatur Daily: Federal report focuses on toxicity of Decatur-area chemicals

“It has large implications in setting a safe level in drinking water and most likely cleanup levels,” said David Andrews, a chemist and environmental expert with the nonprofit Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C. “It gives additional credence to states that have proposed drinking water standards that are about an order of magnitude below what the EPA set in their health advisory in 2016.”

Mercola: Conspiracy to Hide New Data on Water Pollution

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) set out to determine how widespread the contamination really is — and found up to 110 million Americans drinking water from more than 1,500 U.S. drinking water systems could be at risk.

EPA and TSCA Chemicals

KALW Public Radio: One Planet: How the Trump administration’s EPA is dismantling chemical safety regulations

Guest: Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney at the Environmental Working Group

The Farm Bill 

WESA-FM: What The Farm Bill Could Mean For Conservation Efforts In Pennsylvania

Colin O’Neil is the legislative director with the Environmental Working Group. In a recent report, it found that runoff from farms is damaging drinking water quality in many states.

Medium: “Giving Should Not Be About The Redemption Of The Giver, But About The Liberation Of The Receiver”

I work with the Food Policy Action Committee and the Environmental Working Group on the Farm Bill and other national food related social justice issues lobbying several times a year on Capitol Hill.

Superbugs in Meat Report and Label Decoder

HuffPost Canada: Meat Contains A Surprising Amount of Harmful Bacteria, Says New Report

When you buy meat at the supermarket, you generally assume that what you’re getting is safe. But a new report from the Environmental Working Group has found that this might not be the case.

Politico: Rural hospitals get creative for survival

The latest round of tests by federal scientists found antibiotic-resistant bacteria on nearly 80 percent of supermarket meat in 2015, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group.

Consumer Affairs: Despite rise in superbug cases, report finds rampant antibiotic use in pork industry

On Thursday, the Environmental Working Group said that their own analysis of federal government data uncovered that 71 percent of pork chops sold in American grocery stores are contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The group said that was also true for 62 percent of beef samples, 79 percent of turkey samples, and 36 percent of chicken samples.

One Green Planet: Need Another Reason to Skip Meat? 80% of Supermarket Meat Contains Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

New analysis from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) shows that the latest tests by federal scientists found almost 80 percent of supermarket meat to contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Tech Times: Majority Of Supermarket Meat Contaminated With Superbugs: Report

Non-profit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the results of their latest report this week, and it was revealed that a majority of supermarket meats in the United States are actually contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as superbugs.

VegNews: Superbug Found in 80 Percent of Supermarket Meat

A new analysis report released last week by organization Environmental Working Group (EQG) revealed that 80 percent of meat found in supermarkets tested positive for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

10TV: Report: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in majority of meat in supermarkets

A new government watchdog report shows more than three-quarters of meat sold in the supermarkets contains antibiotic resistant bacteria. The Environmental Working Group’s analysis discovered so-called “superbugs” on nearly 80 percent of ground turkey sampled, 62 percent of ground beef and on more than a third of chicken breasts.

Common Dreams: Aaack! New Analysis Shows Superbugs Lurking on Three-Fourths of U.S. Supermarket Meat

That's according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which sifted through over 47,000 tests of bacteria on supermarket meat, including beef, chicken, pork, and turkey, undertaken by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System in 2015, the most recent year for which the data is available.

Dr. Axe: 10 Food Labels You Can’t Trust

An Environmental Working Group analysis of the latest federal testing shows nearly 80 percent of supermarket meat contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

New Food Magazine: Superbugs found in three quarters of U.S. supermarket meat

The analysis was conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a not-for-profit advocacy organisation focused on environmental concerns. The bacteria were resistant to at least one of 14 antibiotics tested for by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), a federal public health partnership.

Asbestos

Environmental Health News: Analysis: As asbestos toll mounts, Trump’s EPA ignores it

Asbestos is so toxic it has now been banned in 55 countries, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Despite that, the mineral is very much with us today in the United States.

Bug Repellents

Travel & Leisure: The 8 Best Bug Sprays for a Bite-free Summer Adventure

The CDC, Environmental Protection Agency, World Health Organization, and Environmental Working Group all recommend DEET-based products for heavy-duty protection against a wide range of pests. While the chemical concentration may vary by product (usually between 10 and 98 percent), formulas that contain at least 30 percent DEET are the most effective.

Children’s Health

Wake Up World: Why Are IQ Scores Declining?

Children also have lower levels of some chemical-binding proteins, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which allows more of a chemical to reach their organs, while systems that detoxify and excrete chemicals in adults are not fully developed. Reposted by Before It’s News.

Caravan girl: Winning the War on Cancer & New Things We are Incorporating into My Dad’s Diet

In a study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), researchers at two major laboratories found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in umbilical cord blood from babies.

80th Anniversary of Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act

The Rose Sheet: FDCA Turns 80 As Clock Ticks On 2018 Cosmetic Regulatory Reform Legislation

“We’re closer than ever” has become a familiar refrain among cosmetics reform legislation stakeholders, including the Environmental Working Group. The NGO is still hopeful that 2018 could be the year for a much-needed update, following the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act’s 80th anniversary in June. (subscription)

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Grand Rapids Herald Review: Getting to Know You: Dianna’s Aromatherapy at the Farmer’s Market

Many body products contain chemicals not considered safe and can be found by visiting the website of the Environmental Working Group (EWG); an excellent site to guiding the consumer on safe chemicals used in our homes and on our bodies.

Sierra Magazine: What Are the Safest Soaps and Shampoos for a Boating Trip?

I recommend the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. EWG has sifted through tens of thousands of products, evaluating them using a complicated set of criteria to determine the safest brands.

WebMD: Banned from Soap, Is Triclosan in Your Toothpaste?

The Environmental Working Group’s website has a database of personal care products that consumers can search to learn if anything that they use or are considering using contains triclosan.

GMO Labeling

Activist Post: New Law Could Exempt Thousands of Genetically Engineered Foods From Labeling

The Environmental Working Group reports that if companies want to label foods which are made with genetically engineered ingredients, they must use the words “bioengineered” or “bioengineered food ingredient,” instead of the widely known phrases “genetically modified” or “genetically engineered.” 

Before It’s News: Loophole Could Exempt Over 10,000 GE Foods from GMO Disclosure Labeling Law

According to an EWG analysis, new loopholes proposed by the Trump administration could exempt over 10,000 – or 1 out of 6 – genetically engineered foods from a new GMO disclosure law. 

Mint Press News: New Law Could Remove GMO Labeling From Thousands of Foods

The Environmental Working Group reports that if companies want to label foods which are made with genetically engineered ingredients, they must use the words “bioengineered” or “bioengineered food ingredient,” instead of the widely known phrases “genetically modified” or “genetically engineered.” Interestingly, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) recently conducted a survey to see how people respond to these different labels, including new symbols being tested by the USDA.  

Shopper’s Guide for Pesticides in Produce™               

MSN: Meet the Clean 15: The Fruits and Vegetables Least Likely to Poison You Slideshow

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) devised their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides by analyzing which fruits and vegetables have the lowest pesticide residues in grocery stores. They revise the list every year, ensuring that their recommendations remain updated with current farming practices.

Healthline: 24 Clean Eating Tips to Lose Weight and Feel Great

The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list is an excellent resource that advises consumers on which foods contain the highest pesticide residues.

Mother Earth Living: Everything’s Coming Up Strawberries

Of course, by now, most people are familiar with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen,” an annual list of most contaminated fruits and vegetables.

EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

Refinery29: What Beauty Editors Actually Pack In Their Beach Bags

"I'm excited about this new sunscreen from LoveSunBody, and not just because it has an Environmental Working Group score of 1 (meaning that it's the safest in the U.S.). It also smells like vanilla and goes on so light, too." 

Red Tricycle: 10 Great Sunscreens That Pack a Protective Punch

The available selection of sunscreens can be overwhelming, and it’s often difficult to determine which products are both effective AND free of harsh chemicals. We’ve rounded up our favorites (and the Environmental Working Group’s, too!) to ensure you and your squad can enjoy the warm weather days without worries.

Northern Virginia Magazine: Keep the kids safe from the sun this summer

The popular Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens is a great website for searching a sunscreen’s effectiveness or finding out about the safety of its ingredients.

Santa Barbara Independent: Mesa Couple Making Healthy Sunscreen

Two Peas is now partnered with the Environmental Working Group and Think Dirty, two major consumer advocacy and education organizations.

Vancouver Sun: Sunscreen contamination on the Cowichan River a real concern

And Environmental Working Group, a non-profit advocacy organization that concerns itself with toxicity of household chemicals, warns that “when zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles wash off skin, they enter the environment, with unknown effects.”

The Alaska 100: Summer safety tips from Alaska Nurses Association

Certain sunblocks contain chemicals that can not only be harmful to your body but also to the environment. With so many options out there, the Environmental Working Group has created a quick guide to help.

Cairo West: How to Suntan Safely this Summer

Avoid certain chemicals on the ingredients list. Oxybenzone and methylisothiazolinone are two flagged by the Environmental Working Group.

Experience Life: Which Sunscreen Is Right for You?

The problem is many sunscreen products contain harmful chemicals, and some are not as effective as they seem, says Sonya Lunder, MPH, a senior analyst at the Washington, D.C.–based Environmental Working Group (EWG). Two-thirds of the products the group looked at for its 2018 Sunscreen Guide contain harmful ingredients and offer weak sun protection.

Kitchen Stewardship: Natural Sunscreen Review: Over 100 Mineral Sunscreens Tested by One Family!

We started in 2010 with 28 of the 40 natural sunscreens that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rated as “safe” at the time. (They now rank hundreds that way; exciting to see more and more brands getting on board!)

Tap Water Database 

The Young Turks: Bases for Migrant Detention Contain Nuclear Waste, Other Toxins

Despite the Army’s lack of additional testing, there is evidence of other contaminants, aside from the nuclear waste. According to a report by the Environmental Working Group, Fort Bliss’s drinking water from 2010 through 2015 contained four different cancer-causing contaminants at levels exceeding federal drinking-water standards: radiological contaminants including both uranium and radium; chromium; dibromochloromethane; and trihalomethanes (TTHMs).

Brentwood: HOME SWEET HOME: Clean up your water supply with a whole home filtration system

(To check what’s in your water, head to the Environmental Working Group’s online database: https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/.)

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