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EWG News Roundup (7/26): EWG’s Two Decades of PFAS Research and Advocacy, Ohio Bails Out Nukes and More

In the News
Friday, July 26, 2019

This week, EWG documented our nearly two decades of groiundbreaking work exposing the toll that toxic fluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, take on our everyday lives. EWG’s research and advocacy highlighting PFAS exposure and the chemical industry’s decades-long coverup of its hazards have raised national awareness of a growing  contamination crisis, culminating this week with a congressional oversight hearing marked by eloquent testimony from people harmed by exposure to these ‘forever chemicals.’

In other PFAS news, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday it will create a new task force that will address drinking water contamination from PFAS at military facilities and in nearby communities.

“The military is one of the primary sources of PFAS contamination in drinking water, so it is now up to [Defense Secretary Mike Esper] to keep his commitment and end the Pentagon’s years-long foot-dragging and its repeated efforts to weaken federal cleanup standards,” said EWG Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber. “It’s time the Defense Department becomes part of the solution instead of the problem that has caused widespread PFAS contamination in communities across the country.”

Ohio legislators passed a bill this week that will continue the state’s pricey bailout of the nuclear energy industry. Numbers compiled by EWG show taxpayers across the nation have footed a $15.5 billion bill on state-level nuclear bailouts since 2016. An investigative report by The Intercept revealed how the nuclear industry worked to elect Ohio legislators who approved the bailout.

And finally, now that summer is in full gear, EWG provided some helpful reminders when it comes to using bug repellant to protect one’s self and their loved ones from pesky insects.

Here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.

Trump Administration

The Washington Post: Trump administration reveals details of $16 billion farm bailout in U.S. trade war

The Environmental Working Group, using data received under the Freedom of Information Act, found individual farmers in five states — Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas — received more than $900,000 in 2018, largely through a loophole that allowed each member of a farm-owning family to apply for relief. Reprinted by Beaumont Enterprise (TX)Culpeper Star-Exponent (VA)Bangor Daily News (ME)The Malone Telegram (Northern Franklin County NY)

U.S. Food Policy: U.S. China agricultural trade and the bailout boondoggle

The Trump administration has sought to offset some of the harm to farmers with bailout funding to selected producers. Using data received under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law, the Environmental Working Group last month reported that many payments exceeded a planned $125k limit.

Bottled Water

Isabel’s Beauty Authority Blog: Drinking water for beauty and wellness

One independent test performed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in 2011 revealed 38 low-level contaminants in bottled water.

BPA

Health Day: Plastics Chemicals Meant to Replace BPA May Not Be Any Safer for Kids

If you're looking to avoid bisphenols, Samara Geller, of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, offered this advice: Eat fewer processed foods and more fresh ones; choose frozen or dried foods over canned, or foods sold in glass or other alternatives to cans and plastic; avoid hard, clear plastics with the recycling code 7 or marked "PC"; ask for electronic receipts; wash your hands after handling paper receipts. Reprinted by Healing WellDoctors LoungeU.S. News & World ReportWebMD; 14 other media outlets

Cellular Radiation

ABC News: EPA allows continued use of pesticide linked to developmental issues in children

[Catherine] Karr [a pediatric environmental medicine specialist at the University of Washington] and environmental advocates like the Environmental Working Group say buying organic produce can reduce exposure to pesticides for pregnant women and children, but that higher prices for organic products can be a problem for many households. Reprinted by GMAYahoo! News;WPHM-AM (Detroit); Regional Daily News (IL); KTIC Rural Radio(Omaha NE); KLGR-AM (MN); KNEB-AM Online (NE); 13 other media outlets

Chlorpyrifos

Blue Ridge Outdoors: Outdoor Updates: New Hampshire Hiker Sets Speed Record on White Mountains

The Environmental Working Group reports that “the evidence is overwhelming that even small doses of chlorpyrifos can damage the parts of the brain that control language, memory, behavior and emotion.”

Eco Daily: U.S Environmentalists Lose Bid to Restore EPA Ban on Chlorpyrifos Pesticide

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said current EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler ignored the advice of EPA scientists who supported a ban. Reprinted by Blacklisted News

Conservation on Private Land

Yale Environment 360: Why Isn’t Publicly Funded Conservation on Private Land More Accountable?

In some cases, having detailed knowledge about conservation initiatives on private land can be a matter of public health, says Craig Cox, vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group.

EWG VERIFIED™

Canadian Packaging: Green trend: from personal care to home care

In 2018, the Environmental Working Group extended its EWG Certified label to home care products.

Michelle Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose Launch

Forbes: Sensational Scents For Summer

This scent was crafted following health, safety and environmental standards of the Environmental Working Group and Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

Parabens in Cosmetics

Everyday Health: What Are ‘Natural’ Skin-Care Products, and Are They Actually Better for You?

While the FDA says that some of these ingredients of concern, including phthalates and parabens, are safe as used, some research points to these as potential endocrine disruptors, or chemicals that affect your hormones and may increase risk for cancer or fertility problems, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

The Beauty Gypsy: The Beauty Gypsy Review: Are Custom-Made Hair Products Worth the Hype (Hello, Prose)?

In a major step towards transparency, every single ingredient is listed with its EWG (Environmental Working Group) rating on the Prose website.

Byrdie: This Surprising Skincare Trend Is All Over South Korea Right Now

If a product can achieve that using clean, non-toxic ingredients (for Koreans, the popular measuring standard being EWG’s Skin Deep Database and also the ingredient rankings in the cosmetics app 'Hwahae'), it is a holy grail," [Brian] Oh [co-founder and CEO of VENN Skincare] says. 

Daily Mail: Student who hasn’t used shampoo or conditioner in almost TWO years claims ditching the products has made her hair healthier and thinker than ever

The thinking behind the movement is that the over-use of chemicals – some of which may be harmful, according to the non-profit Environmental Working Group, who have put together a database where users can check the ingredients of their cosmetics – renders the hair unable to naturally clean itself.

Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors

Mane Addicts: These Toxic Hair Ingredients Might Be Messing With Your Horomones

According to the Environmental Working Group, EDCs have been shown to mimic estrogen, mess with periods and fertility, infiltrate breast milk, cause thyroid irregularities and tumor growth, lower sperm count, and, uh, shrink testicles.

Farm Subsidies

North Arkansas Democrat Gazette: 2nd farm-aid round starts in August

The Environmental Working Group, using data received under the Freedom of Information Act, found that some individual farmers in five states -- Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas -- received more than $900,000 in 2018, largely under a loophole that allowed each member of a farm-owning family to apply for relief. Reprinted by Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Texas Observer: For Some Texas Farmers, Tariff Relief Payments Are Supersized

The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that tracks farm subsidy payments, released data to the Observer this week showing that some large farms in Texas also received payouts well above the limit. Reprinted byUSA New Updates

Glyphosate

Medium: Life after Glyphosate – Let’s make it a reality

In a 2018 survey, glyphosate residues were present in all but two of the 45 oat-derived products sampled by the Environmental Working Group.

Pasadena Weekly (CA): County Supervisors formally ban the use of glyphosate-based products, including Roundup

According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, Bayer has a history of “spreading misinformation about pesticide residues.”

KNTV-TV (Bay Area NBC): Weed Killer Chemical and Kids’ Cereals: Toxicity Experts Debate the Risk of Glyphosate

Various oat-based products like cereals, trail mixes and snack bars tested positive over the past year for a chemical in a widely used weedkiller that is linked to cancer, according to the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization. Reprinted by NBC affiliates in BostonChicagoConnecticutDallas-Ft. WorthMiamiLos AngelesNew YorkPhiladelphiaSan DiegoWashingtonNew England Cable News Online

Goop “The Beauty Closet” Podcast

Glossy: Goop builds out podcast network with a new beauty show

Upcoming guests, in no particular order, include Nneka Leiba, a scientist at The Environmental Working Group; model and Kora Organics founder Miranda Kerr; and, makeup artist and entrepreneur Bobbi Brown.

Paper Mag: Goop Is Launching a Clean Beauty Podcast, Obviously

The series will see a diverse range of guests including Nneka Leiba, a scientist at The Environmental Working Group, Miranda Kerr, and Bobbi Brown.

Green New Deal

Reuters: Ethanol vs. environment: Democratic hopefuls campaign on clashing agendas

But Scott Farber, a vice president at the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based research and advocacy organization, said Democratic candidates cannot simultaneously support the Green New Deal and the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the 2005 federal law that requires ethanol and other biofuels to be blended the nation’s fuel pool. Reprinted by Yahoo!

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

Fayetteville Observer (N.C.): Our View: U.S. House, Senate taking a hard look at GenX

Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group said [N.C. Republican Senators Richard] Burr and [Thom] Tillis in the past have shown they are willing to “protect North Carolinians from toxic chemicals.”

KYW News Radio (Philadelphia): First-ever bill on regulating PFAS has passed US House

"I can't underscore how little law is on the books regards to PFAS chemicals. We don't know about most of the contamination. We don't know most of the sources of contamination. There are no requirements to restrict new PFAS discharges into the air and water," said Scott Faber, who is with the Environmental Working Group, which has compiled a map of PFAS contamination across the country.

Nitrate Cancer Risk Study

Medical Daily: US Wells That Pump Groundwater Are Starting To Go Deeper and Deeper

Non-profit Environmental Working Group warned that drinking California's water for a long time could lead to cancer due to harmful contaminants.

Stuff: Nitrates in US drinking water may cost US $8 billion a year

In the paper in Environmental Research, five scientists from North Carolina's Duke University and the Environmental Working Group in Washington DC used national nitrates data and risk ratios to work out how many adverse birth cases and cancers could be related to nitrate-contaminated drinking water.

Nuclear Power Subsidies

The Intercept: OHIO REPUBLICANS BALKED AT A NUCLEAR BAILOUT, SO THE INDUSTRY ELECTED NEW REPUBLICANS — AND WALKED AWAY WITH $1.1 BILLION

According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit devoted to research and advocacy, five cash-strapped states across the country have foisted more than $15 billion in subsidies on failing nuclear power plants since 2016, the latest sign that nuclear is unable to stand in a competitive energy market against lower-cost renewables.

PFAS in Clothing Treatment

Time: Why You Should Always Wash New Clothes Before Wearing Them

David Andrews, a senior scientist with the nonprofit Environmental Working Group who has investigated the use of chemicals in the textile industry, says clothing is often treated with stain-repellents, color-fasteners, anti-wrinkle agents, softness-enhancers, and any number of other chemical treatments. Reprinted by att.netPress FromMSNMSN Ireland

PFAS in Firefighting Foam

The Post and Courier (Charleston SC): Toxic chemicals from firefighting foams could be found at 11 SC military bases

David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, believes the use of these chemicals has been one of the most overlooked environmental issues in the country. Reprinted by US Politics

PFAS in Sewage Water

Arizona Daily Star Online: Is it safe to wade in or drink the water now in the Santa Cruz? Here's what to know

Even the Environmental Working Group, a national group that has fought for very strict limits on those compounds in drinking water, says that skin contact with PFAS in the low parts-per-trillion range isn’t likely to be a major source of exposure.

PFAS Pentagon Task Force

Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown PA): Pentagon to create PFAS task force

“EWG applauds Sen. Shaheen for getting Sec. Esper to commit to a comprehensive and aggressive plan to clean up PFAS at military bases,” said Environmental Working Group Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber, in a statement. Reprinted by The Intelligencer (Doylestown PA)Burlington County Times (Westhampton PA)

Military Times: Esper creates task force to deal with cancer-causing chemicals on military installations

The Environmental Working Group says that harmful levels have been detected in groundwater or drinking water sources of the fluorinated compounds, known collectively as PFAS. Reprinted by Air Force Times OnlineArmy Times OnlineMarine Corps Times Online

Stars & Stripes: Iran, water contamination at bases high on new defense secretary Mark Esper’s priority list

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that specializes in environmental research and advocacy, has identified 175 military installations where PFAS has been found in drinking water.

2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Creators Syndicate Online: Organic or Conventional? Why the Dirty Dozen Matters

The EWG, you should know, is a reliable research and advocacy nonprofit that "uses the power of information to protect public health and environment.” Reprinted by ArcaMax

Bad Credit: The Cornucopia Institute is Working Toward Economic Justice for Family-Scale Organic Farms

Based on this information, the Environmental Working Group lists strawberries, spinach, and kale as the top three most contaminated produce items atop its annual Dirty Dozen list. Reprinted by CornucopiaBefore It’s News

Bella Online: Can Pesticides Harm Sperm?

A handy way to make sure that you are consuming a low pesticide load while maximizing fruit and vegetable intake is to use the Environmental Working Groups app which is updated annually to identify the ‘dirty dozen.’

Pasadena Star-News (CA): How you can save money and eat a healthier diet by cooking at home

Check out the “Clean Fifteen” and the “Dirty Dozen” of the Environmental Working Group to help prioritize which foods to buy organic to avoid pesticide contaminants. Reprinted by Press-Telegram (Long Beach CA)Orange County Register (CA)Los Angeles Daily NewsDaily Breeze (Torrance CA)Redlands Daily Facts (CA); 4 other media outlets

EWG's Guide to Sunscreens

CNN Health: Majority of sunscreens could flunk proposed FDA standards for safety and efficacy, report to say

Nearly two-thirds of all sunscreens evaluated by the Environmental Working Group would probably not be considered safe and effective under standards proposed by the US Food and Drug Administration, the consumer advocacy group will announce this week. Reprinted by KITV4 ABC (Honolulu)

American Spa: Five Ingredients You Don't Want In Your Sunscreen

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has reviewed data about human exposure and toxicity for some of the most commonly used sunscreen ingredients and found that the following were cause for concern: [homosalate, methylisothiazolinone, octinoxate, octocrylene, oxybenzone]

Fitness Health Yoga: Sunscreen Warning: Chemical Ingredients Absorbed More Than We Thought

You can check with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) 2019 Guide to Sunscreens for assist in discovering the very best sunscreen for you. 

PFAS in Drinking Water

Salon: 10 ways Andrew Wheeler has decimated EPA protections

According to a recent study by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University, these chemicals threaten the drinking water supplies of an estimated 19 million Americans.

Michigan Advance: Michigan Dems flood D.C. PFAS hearing: ‘We cannot have another Flint water crisis’

In June, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would monitor PFAS contamination, eliminate a major source of it, require manufacturers report PFAS discharge, according to the Environmental Working Group.

National Groundwater Association: House committee holds hearing on PFAS contamination and need for corporate accountability

However, chairman Harley Rouda (D-California) submitted the Environmental Working Group’s statement that includes information on DuPont and 3M Co.’s knowledge of PFAS. Rouda said he will make sure these two companies provide answers to the public.

NC Policy Watch: Activists to Congress: N.C. residents living ‘on bottled water and fear’

In June, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would monitor PFAS contamination, eliminate a major source of it, require manufacturers to report PFAS discharge, and more, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Santa Fe New Mexican: Air Force refuses to clean up plume of ‘forever chemicals’ beneath Clovis

Schaap wants to make sure that what happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else. In May, he went to Washington with the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group, to lobby Congress for strong PFAS limits.

KCAW-FM (Sitka AK): Yakutat officials wary of state’s PFAS double standard

By limiting its testing to just two compounds, the DEC is no longer screening for others — such as PFHxS — which in February had been one of the drivers for declaring a Yakutat drinking water source contaminated. “Which is really incredible,” said David Andrews. a chemist with Environmental Working Group in Washington D.C. Reprinted by Alaska Public Media (NPR)

Umbilical Cord Blood Study

Verily: Detoxify Your Home with These Simple Steps

The Environmental Working Group tested the umbilical cord blood of ten babies in 2009 and found more than 230 industrial pollutants across the samples.

 

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