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EWG News Roundup (9/6): Hurricane Dorian Threatens N.C. Factory Farms, Climate Crisis Takes Center Stage in 2020 Campaign and More

In the News
Friday, September 6, 2019

This week EWG sounded the alarm over the serious risks from Hurricane Dorian in North Carolina. As was the case with with Hurricane Florence last year, Dorian’s flood waters and rainfall threatened once again to spread millions of tons of animal waste from factory farms into drinking water sources throughout the state’s eastern coastal plain.

“The most important thing right now is that people stay safe,” said Soren Rundquist, director of spatial analysis for the Environmental Working Group, which studies the growth, expansion and pollution of factory farms in North Carolina and other states. “But the heavy rainfall could flood poorly located factory farms, spreading untold tons of hog, chicken and turkey waste along the coastal plain.” 

On Wednesday, CNN hosted 10 Democratic presidential candidates for a climate change town hall. EWG pulled together a list of vital questions that demand each candidate’s attention.

And finally, EWG applauded lawmakers in California for proclaiming October 2019 Children’s Environmental Health Month.

“Kids in California are exposed to environmental contaminants every day,” said Susan Little, a senior advocate in EWG’s California governmental affairs office. “We know that toxic chemical exposures affect the well-being of our children. This official designation will call attention to the need to protect all children from polluted environments.”

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

Cleaning Products

The New York Times: Do D.I.Y. Cleaners Really Work?

When the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization, reviewed more than 2,000 cleaning products, it found that more than half contained ingredients that irritate the lungs.

Real Simple: How to Find the Best Natural Cleaning Products for You – Plus When to Use Them

Most cleaning products sold at supermarkets and stores such as Target or Amazon will be ranked by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Green & Clean Mom: Best Baby Detergent for Sensitive Skin

I have tried to find the best products, with the least chemicals that can harm sensitive skin. I have done that by using EWG’s guide to laundry detergents which show which products have those kinds of chemicals in them.

Cosmetics Reform

Chemical Watch: NGO Platform: It is long past time for cosmetics safety in the US (subscription)

Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group's senior vice president for government affairs, examines the risks posed by chemicals found in personal care products.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Forbes: Female Founder Building A Plastic-Free Beauty Brand

She advises customers to take the lead and read ingredient lists, use resources such as the Environmental Working Group’s website, and rely on clean beauty marketplaces like Credo beauty, instead of just accepting what brands market to them.

Bingham County Chronicle (Blackfoot ID): Toxins, the environment, and your health

When buying deodorant, soap, lotions, and shampoos, consult www.EWG.org/skindeep which is an extensive database of nearly 80,000 personal care products to highlight those products that are free of toxic chemicals.

Bustle: The Best Budget Organic Makeup

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) launched its Skin Deep Cosmetics database back in 2004, and rates the safety of individual cosmetic products from one to 10, with one being the safest.

Longevity: Cancer And Health: 13 Surprising Habits That Can Increase Your Risk

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization that looks to raise awareness about the various toxic chemicals that we may come into contact with within our everyday lives.

Montreal Gazette (Canada): The face of change: Beauty brands pushing for change in Canada – and beyond

(For those looking to further their understanding on the subject of ingredients, Renfrew points to the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as a “great tool.”)

Romper: Baby Skincare Brand Pipette Is Designed For The Most Delicate Infant Skin

The brand adheres to Environmental Working Group (EWG) guidelines, and refuses to use over 2,000 chemicals that could potentially be toxic (you can check out the ingredient page to see why some chemicals get a thumbs down from Pipette).

EWG Guides

Mind Body Green: How To Detox Your Space & Body At The Same Time

EWG: Wondering which foods to buy organic? Which personal health care products are healthier? Which safer insect repellents actually work? EWG is a nonprofit advocacy group with practical guidelines for everyday living.

EWG VERIFIED™ and Herbal Essences

Better Homes & Gardens: The Best Hair Products of 2019

We love that this moisturizing shampoo is EWG Verified, which means it meets the Environmental Working Group's standards on ingredient selection, transparency, and manufacturing.

Farm Bailouts

(Reprinted from AP) Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell MT): Farmer Fatigue: Some Ohio Valley Farmers Tire of Trade War

Ohio Valley farmers received $616,287,779 in payments from the first round of the Market Facilitation Program through the end of April, according to data obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request by the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group. Reprinted by The Eagle (Bryan TX)The Dispatch (Clay Center KS)The Argus-Press (Owosso MI)The Herald Dispatch (Huntington WV)Kentucky New Era (Hopkinsville KY)Bradenton Herald (FL); reprinted by 22 other media outlets

Before It’s News: Farmers Union VP: “We Lost Pretty Much All Our Markets Since Trump Took Over”

However, a review by the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization best known for promoting organic foods, found that more than half of payments made to U.S. farmers went disproportionately to the largest farms, with the top one percent receiving an average of more than $180,000, while 80 percent of subsidized farms were given less than $5,000.

City Pages (Minneapolis MN): Trump’s ag bailout is going to the starving farmers of…Minneapolis?

But when the Environmental Working Group analyzed welfare data from the Department of Agriculture, it found 9,000 more deserving farmers residing in America's biggest cities.

Mercola: Why farm bailouts may cause the next Dust Bowl

As reported by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), "China responded to … tariffs on Chinese aluminum and steel products by placing retaliatory tariffs on more than 800 U.S. food and farm products, which led in turn to the MFP bailout program." Reprinted by HealthgluBreaking Trending News

WCBU (Bradley University and Illinois State University): Does Federal Farm Aid Benefit Those Who Need The Least Help?

Reports by the non-partisan, non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) indicate much of the MFP money last year went to the nation’s largest, wealthiest farms. Reprinted by WGLT (Illinois State University)

WGLT NPR (Illinois State University): $33 Million And Counting: Trade Payments Buy Patience From McLean County Farmers

McLean County farmers have already received $33 million in the first round of trade relief payments, formally called the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), according to a WGLT and WCBU analysis of USDA data. That’s the most for any county in the U.S., according to the Environmental Working Group, which has tracked the payments. Reprinted by WVIK (Rock Island IL)

Food Policy Action

Eating Well: Celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio Is on a Mission to End Hunger for Veterans

Six years ago, he and Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook co-founded Food Policy Action, an advocacy group that's focused on food safety, nutrition and hunger issues-particularly school lunch programs and hunger among veterans.

Food Scores

Hackernoon: How Come Junk Food is Still An Epidemic?

EWG’s Food Scores, which offers a website as well as Apple/Android apps to make checking a healthy score of any food items convenient.


About Lawsuits: General Mills Testing To See If It Can Survive If Roundup Is Banned

The actions also come in response to a number of tests by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental activist organization in the U.S., showing high levels of glyphosate residue in a number of General Mills products, like Cheerios.

Food Navigator: Thrive Market embraces glyphosate-residue-free certification

Given that testing from the Environmental Working Group and The Detox Project has revealed the presence of glyphosate in everything from breakfast cereals to granola bars due to its application as a pre-harvest desiccant, however, the FDA needs to spread its net wider, argued Rowlands.

Real Farmacy: Master List of Children’s Foods That Are Contaminated with Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

The weedkiller, produced by Bayer-Monsanto, was detected in all 21 oat-based cereal and snack products sampled in a new round of testing commissioned by the Environmental Working Group.

Monsanto Emails on Mom’s Across America

Truth Out: Monsanto Emails Show Employees Wanted to “Beat the Shit” Out of Concerned Moms

“Trial juries in three California lawsuits against Bayer-Monsanto have found in favor of the plaintiffs,” reports the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, “all of whom have been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

PFAS in Food Packaging

Huffington Post: Denmark Moves To Ban Harmful PFAS Chemicals In Food Packaging

Although the chemicals don’t break down in the environment, the human body is capable of breaking down about half of the amount ingested within four or five years, David Andrews, a Ph.D. toxicologist and senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, told HuffPost in June. Reprinted by NewsCafEnvironmental Health NewsOrganic Consumers Association

WEMU (Eastern Michigan University): The Green Room: PFAS Part II-PFAS in Products

So how can consumers find out what contains PFAS?  If you’re lucky enough to find a full ingredient list on the label, the Environmental Working Group says to look for Fluoro—F.L.U.O.R.O—as part of the chemical’s name.

Renewable Energy

Clean Technica: EIA Monthly Report Documents Decline Of Coal In US Electricity Generation

“It’s no mystery why coal is on the way out,” says Grant Smith, a senior energy policy advisor at the Environmental Working Group.

2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Better Nutrition: 5 Vital Facts About Organic Food

A report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which includes data from the FDA, estimates that more than 2,000 chemicals are allowed as additives in conventional food.

Blue Ridge Now (Hendersonville NC): Thursday’s letters: Tariffs are taxes

Environmental Working Group listed apples in its “dirty dozen,” coming in first with pesticide residue. The chemical thiabendazole, used to prevent browning of skin, is typically found on 80% of non-organic apples and is listed as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA.

Eating Well: Celery Juice: The Health Benefits, Side Effects and Science Behind the Trend

Celery is also on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list of most-contaminated produce when it comes to pesticide residue.

Eating Well: How to Lose Weight on a Budget

If organic is important to you, the Environmental Working Group has identified the foods that are most contaminated (that you should consider buying organic), as well as the produce that is cleanest and most free of pesticides (that you can buy conventional).

Eating Well: 15 Foods You Don’t Need to Buy Organic

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, releases a Shopper's Guide to Pesticides that identifies fruits and vegetables with the highest and lowest pesticide residues.

Idaho State Journal: Potato industry concerned that Europe failed to renew key sprout inhibitor

A Washington, D.C.-based nongovernmental organization called the Environmental Working Group has consistently included conventional potatoes on its Dirty Dozen list. Reprinted by Intermountain Farm & Ranch (Idaho Falls ID)

Medium: Organic, Natural, and Non-GMO Foods May Not Be as Healthy as Parents Think

If you want to know what’s most important to buy organic, a good place to start is the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which identifies the fruits and veggies that are most and least contaminated with pesticide residue.

EWG's Guide to Sunscreen

Business Insider: This mineral-based sunscreen doesn’t leave white residue behind – it protects my family’s fair skin and is reef-friendly

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rated Goddess Garden's lotion and stick sunscreens a 1 (the best rating) in their sunscreen guide, meaning they provide good UVA/UVB protection, and the ingredients pose little- to no-known health concerns.

Tap Water Database

The Edwardsville Intelligencer (IL): Letter. Conservationist responds to aquifer protection letter

The Environmental Working Group analyzed the 2015 data and concluded that seven chemicals were detected at levels above more stringent health-based guidelines.

PFAS in Drinking Water

Bucks County Courier Times (Levittown PA): Why isn’t the military cleaning up firefighting chemicals?

Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney for the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, said PFOS and PFOA in particular are already “incredibly well-studied” chemicals, for which there is little doubt about toxicity. Reprinted by The Intelligencer (Doylestown PA)

Eating Well: This Interactive Database Shows the Most Contaminated Tap Water In America

A recent update to the Environmental Working Group's interactive water database found 610 sites across 43 states have contaminated water-affecting an estimated 19 million individuals.

The Fayetteville Observer (NC): University study questions safety of GenX-like chemicals

Long-chain PFAS chemicals have eight carbon atoms, while those with six carbon atoms or fewer are short-chain alternatives, the Environmental Working Group statement said. “There is growing agreement among scientists that the entire class of PFAS chemicals may be hazardous,” it said.

Finger Lakes 1 (Seneca Falls NY): Tap water in Watkins Glen, Montour Falls, and Seneca County test positive for dangerous chemicals

In February, the EPA released its “PFAS Action Plan.” Several environmental groups, including the Environmental Working Group, were under- impressed and testified to that effect before Congress. EWG claims that a number of its recommendations made it into proposed legislation.


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