EWG News and Analysis
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EWG News Roundup (10/11): California Bans Brain Damaging Pesticide, Algae Blooms Across U.S. Swell in 2019 and More
This week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom reached an agreement with pesticide interests to ban the use of a toxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos, that has been shown to cause brain damage at even low levels of exposure. This comes a little more than two years after the Trump Environmental Protection Agency refused to ban the same pesticide at the national level.
“This is yet another example of California’s leadership on protection of the environment and public health in the face of the Trump administration’s near daily assault against both,” said Cook, a Bay Area resident. “Gov. Newsom called the bluff of chemical agriculture and they finally yielded. This agreement will mean that California’s children, farmworkers and their families will no longer be forced to breathe a pesticide that can cause irreparable damage to the nervous system.”
Gov. Newsom also signed into law a powerful measure that will help California protect workers from toxic lead poisoning. With his signature, the governor has directed health officials to automatically refer cases of high blood lead levels in workers for review and possible action.
“We thank Gov. Newsom for giving the issue of lead poisoning at the workplace the action it deserves,” said Bill Allayaud, EWG’s California director of government affairs. “Investigations have shown that some businesses have been exposing workers to dangerous levels of lead year after year. But the new law requires that state agencies take immediate action and no longer sweep the lead issue under the rug.”
As warm weather comes to an end across the nation, algae bloom season across the nation is also drawing to a close. EWG found 508 news reports about blooms this year – up 18 percent from the same period last year.
On Thursday, the Trump EPA released a new proposal for regulating lead in drinking water that would leave millions of children exposed to dangerously high levels of the contaminant.
“Instead of proposing a plan to protect children from the often lifelong damage caused by lead exposure, the Trump EPA is leaving communities to deal with the lead crisis on their own,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., EWG’s vice president for science investigations. “In the most powerful country in the world, it should not be too much to ask that our children can grow up in a lead-free environment.”
Dirty fossil fuel interests were at it again this week. First, in Ohio, a shady front group is fighting back against a grassroots movement that is targeting a $1 billion nuclear and coal bailout. EWG also took a look at a number of electric utilities in the Southeast U.S. that are dragging their feet when it comes to adopting renewable sources.
Here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.
EPA Lead and Copper Rule
The Environmental Working Group's vice president for science investigations, Olga Naidenko, criticized the decision to keep the action level at 15 ppb.
A statement Thursday by the Environmental Working Group took particular issue with the administration's choice to maintain the current action level of 15 ppb. "Instead of proposing a plan to protect children from the often lifelong damage caused by lead exposure, the Trump EPA is leaving communities to deal with the lead crisis on their own,” said Olga Naidenko, the Environmental Working Group's vice president for science investigations. "In the most powerful country in the world, it should not be too much to ask that our children can grow up in a lead-free environment."
Market Facilitation Program
The value of the U.S. pork in Asian markets had fallen sharply and 26 Montana hog farms were ranked in the top 30 recipients of U.S. Market Facilitation Program, which pays farmers for trade war losses. In 2018, 64 Montana hog farms split $1.77 million in trade aid, according to federal data gathered by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit government watchdog that’s made a point of tracking farm subsidies. Reprinted by The Missoulian and Ravalli Republic.
Trump Administration Farm Bailouts
Like regular farm subsidies, these bailouts are designed to shower largesse on the biggest farms. According to the Environmental Working Group, an outfit that has long opposed farm subsidies, one-tenth of the bailout recipients last year have received over half of the bailout payments, and 82 farmers have each received more than $500,000. Their report also notes that the top 1% of recipients of trade relief received $183,331 on average. Reprinted by the News Chief and other Gatehouse Media outlets.
According to the Environmental Working Group, as reported in The Washington Post, the “top 1 percent of recipients of trade relief received, on average, $183,331. The bottom 80 percent received, on average, less than $5,000.” Reprinted by The Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Ill.).
Algal blooms are a growing problem in Lake Erie and can lead to toxins in the water under the right circumstances. The Environmental Working Group and the Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) investigated the sources of the nutrients feeding the algal blooms.
Algal Blooms and Maumee River
A March, 2019, report by the Environmental Working Group estimates that the number of confined animals in the Maumee watershed increased by 126 percent from 2005 to 2018, the amount of manure by 41 percent, and the amount of phosphorus by 62 percent.
And though BPA has been around for more than 120 years, it wasn't until the past two decades that serious concerns were brought up about its possible effects on the human body, the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit that promotes human and environmental health, reported.
California Jewelry Safety Act
The bill was co-sponsored by Becerra, the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Environmental Health. In a press release, the Environmental Working Group noted that it ” imposes the nation’s strictest limits on the amount of lead and cadmium allowed in jewelry sold in California.”
Senator Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) introduced SB 647 in February. It was co-sponsored by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, the Environmental Working Group and the Center for Environmental Health. It strengthens California’s lead and cadmium jewelry laws by establishing science-backed standards.
In its Guide to Healthy Cleaning, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group recommends choosing cleaning products free of fragrance, ammonia, and bleach. It also suggests looking for products certified by Green Seal or Ecologo.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), women are exposed to 168 chemicals every day through cosmetics and personal care products, and those chemicals might be different each day, if you use multiple soaps or makeup items, for example. Men are exposed to 85 chemicals per day.
Platform partners include Biossance’s first brand ambassador, Jonathan Van Ness, as well as Nneka Leiba, vice president of the Environmental Working Group; Debbie Levin, chief executive officer of the Environmental Media Association; and Tara Foley, founder and chief executive officer of clean beauty supply store, Follain, among others.
Cosmetics – Skin Deep
“My hair was seriously dry after years of coloring, plus I get frizz from all the damage. This is the only product that helps my hair look smooth and shiny, without weighing it down,” wrote one reviewer. Another commented, “Love this. Great for extremely dry hair and it has the highest EWG rating for a hydrating masque.”
Which could be worrisome when you consider that, according to the Environmental Working Group, many popular perfumes and colognes can contain a dozen or more synthetic materials, many of them derived from petroleum.
The U.S. Environmental Working Group has found that more than 75 percent of all’ aroma’ repair products are being tried to contain phthalates. Such have been shown to disrupt the flow of hormones, and have been related to liver and bosom malignant development, and diabetes.
Heliyon – Cumulative Risk Assessment
USA Today reported on a study where the Environmental Working Group (EWG) cited 22 carcinogens commonly found in tap water — including arsenic, byproducts of water disinfectants and radionuclides such as uranium and radium — that could cumulatively result in over 100,000 cancer cases over the span of a lifetime.
“We’re seeing cancer risk estimated at about 100,000 cases for the U.S.– due to drinking water contaminants at levels that currently meet requirements,” lead author, Sydney Evans, a science analyst at the Environmental Working Group, told EHN. Reprinted by Get Healthy.
Meat Eater’s Guide
The Environmental Working Group, an American activist group advocating for decreasing impact in the agricultural and farming industries, said the production and distribution of meat uses large amounts of pesticides, fossil fuels, water and other materials and contributes large amounts of greenhouse gases and other toxic chemicals to the environment. It takes 1,799 gallons of water to make one pound of beef.
Multiplying by emissions per kilogram figures from the Environmental Working Group, a D.C.-based advocacy group generally opposed to crop biotechnology and conventional agriculture, that’s the equivalent of 1.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person. Reprinted by Before It’s News.
As for the U.S. pork industry, which uses thousands of tons of antibiotics: According to the Environmental Working Group, 71% of pork chops carried antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The same was true for 79% of ground turkey.
Most troubling to Carson backers is the evidence that the agro- chemical industry continues to make claims about the persistence of chemicals that are found wanting, said Ken Cook, co- founder of the Environmental Working Group.
PFAS in Food
You can also check older data from a few years when EPA required testing or look at this map created by researchers from the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University based on that data. (For more, see this story, but don’t assume bottled water is safer.)
Earlier this month, a report by the Environmental Working Group found that tap water going to 7.5 million Californians tested positive for the contaminant.
If you’re on a tight food budget, you can choose to skip the organic cauliflower. According to the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list, cauliflower ranks low on the list for pesticide contamination.
Between 2003 and 2010, the FDA received numerous applications from sunscreen makers who wanted to make products with active ingredients commonly used in the EU, according to the Environmental Working Group.
Except for All Good's kids' spray sunscreens, the brand receives a top rating from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) based on their ingredient list. While it's important to note that the EWG doesn't test sunscreens for consistency or easy application, they do account for every ingredient listed, rating them based on scientific research findings (from within and outside of the organization) relating to toxicity and other potential health and environmental hazards.
All ingredients found in this clean sunscreen are EWG Green Level 1-2* and suitable for sensitive skin. *The EWG rating is an ingredient hazard score that goes from 1 to 10, which measures the number of known and suspected hazardous in a product. The lower the score, the lower the hazard level.
Tap Water Database
Water suppliers periodically test the water and usually publish an annual report, often found on municipality or utility websites. You can check your area’s water conditions over the past five years with the Environmental Working Group’s program called what’s in your water.
A 2017 analysis26 by the Environmental Working Group of water samples from nearly 50,000 water utilities in 50 states found 267 different kinds of toxins, including 93 linked to cancer and 63 suspected of causing developmental harm to children. Reprinted by Before It’s News.
Tap Water Database – PFAS
Recently released Pentagon documents obtained through a public records request by the Environmental Working Group, an environmental advocacy group, showed three more bases in California with elevated contamination levels. Reprinted by San Diego Union-Tribune.
In May, the Environmental Working Group reported at least 22 locations across North Carolina that were exposed to “high levels of contaminated drinking water,” according to Charlotte Stories. Reprinted by Yahoo! News. Yahoo! Entertainment, Yahoo! Lifestyle.
There are at least 118 PFAS chemicals produced in volumes in excess of 25,000 pounds per year, according to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). That’s an increase of more than 55 percent since 2002, according to an analysis of EPA data by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, or PEER. And new variations of these chemicals have been produced with EPA approval as recently as 2015.
Although the Department of Defense is now working on a fluorine-free foam, pollutants from the older foams still linger. In 2015, the EPA issued a health advisory for PFOS and PFOA warning residents not to drink water with contamination levels over 70 parts per trillion. Contamination levels on military bases can reach up to 680,000 parts per trillion, according to a 2018 EWG and Northeastern University study.
These chemicals, connected with cancer and reproductive effects at levels as low as one part per trillion, are already known to contaminate the drinking water at toxic levels for some 110-million Americans (with the number growing), according to data collected by the Environmental Working Group. The Trump administration has refused to establish safety levels or even require public disclosure or testing of public water supplies.