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EWG News Roundup (11/1): PFAS Tainting Kentucky Water, Coal Giant Files for Bankruptcy and More

In the News
Friday, November 1, 2019

Now that EWG’s 2019 national drinking water database has been released, it’s time to spotlight specific contaminants and the communities where they lurk.

This week, EWG highlighted public water utility tests showing that roughly 800,000 Kentuckians are served water tainted with toxic perfluorinated chemicals, or PFAS. Tests conducted between 2012 and 2017 by utilities in LouisvilleLebanon Junction and Mt. Washington found PFAS at levels above what EWG scientists and other independent experts believe is safe for human health.

In other PFAS news, recent testing by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the Ecology Center found PFAS in both the grass-like blades and the backing of artificial turf. EWG laid out some tips parents can use to protect their children’s health.

Murray Energy, the coal giant with close ties to President Trump, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The head of the largest privately held coal company, Robert Murray, was a major contributor to Trump’s election campaign and gave the new administration a wish list of environmental rollbacks. Murray even pressed the Trump administration on a scheme to bail out his and other failing coal operations by requiring regional electricity grids to buy above-market-rate power from coal and nuclear plants, even when cheaper renewable sources, like wind and solar, are available. That ridiculous ruse was ultimately rejected by federal regulators.

Murray Energy is the 11th coal company to file for bankruptcy since President Trump took office. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump told coal miners at a West Virginia rally to “get ready because you’re going to be working your asses off” under a Trump presidency.

“Bob Murray and his company are the latest examples of how market forces have sealed the fate of coal, and there’s nothing the president can do about it,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Donald Trump campaigned in coal country on the promise he’d bring back coal as the dominant source of the nation’s energy. Those promises have been shown to be cynical lies, and the victims of the fraud are hardworking miners and coal-state voters who believed them.”

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

PFAS in Kentucky Tap Water

Newsweek: ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Water Sources of 800, 000 Kentucky Residents

Toxic "forever chemicals" were detected in the drinking water of 800,000 Kentucky residents between 2012 and 2017, according to an Environmental Working Group analysis of utility tests.

Murray Energy Files for Bankruptcy 

 The New York Times: Murray Energy Is 8th Coal Company is a Year to Seek Bankruptcy

“Bob Murray and his company are the latest examples of how market forces have sealed the fate of coal and there’s nothing the president can do about it,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. 

Newsweek:  Eleven coal companies have filed for bankruptcy since Trump took office.

“Bob Murray and his company are the latest examples of how market forces have sealed the fate of coal and there’s nothing the president can do about it,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group said in a news release. 

Big Think: The largest private coal company in America just went broke

Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group told The New York Times: "Bob Murray and his company are the latest examples of how market forces have sealed the fate of coal and there's nothing the president can do about it."

 Tap Water Database Update

PBS NewsHour: Even if your drinking water gets a ‘passing grade,’ it may not be safe

A report released this week by the Environmental Working Group found that “the vast majority of the nation’s drinking water supplies get a passing grade from federal and state regulatory agencies.” But, the authors suggest, that does not say much.

Good Housekeeping: 11 Best Water Filters of 2019, According to Kitchen and Environmental Experts

Access to safe drinking water is an issue across the globe and can even affect communities in the U.S. If you’re not sure about your water quality, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) just updated its Tap Water Database this month. Reprinted by Ladies Want MoreLady Click

Before It’s News: How Safe Is Your Water? Should You Filter Your Tap Water?

If you’ve ever wondered how safe your tap water really is, you can now find out. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its updated Tap Water Database on Wednesday, which allows people to discover which contaminants are in their local tap water and how it may affect their health.

Bluestem Prairie (Greater Minn. and S.D.): Legal v. health standards: contaminants common in S.D. drinking water, but most within legal limits

In its annual report on America’s drinking water supply, released on Oct. 26, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group noted that many federal water-quality standards have not been updated in 20 or even 50 years, and that there are no legal limits whatsoever for 160 contaminants that can make their way into the American drinking-water system.

Canyon News (Beverly Hills, Calif.): Contaminated Tap Water Linked to Cancer

According to recent updates, EWG data detected that the city of Beverly Hills drinking water consumed 270 harmful contaminants including: Arsenic Bromodichloromethane, Bromoform, Chloroform, Dibromochloromethane, Dichloroacetic acid, Radon, Trichloroacetic acid which are at high levels that can lead to cancer.

Detroit Free Press: Royal Oak becomes 5th Oakland County community with high lead levels in water

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group's new nationwide tap water database shows Michigan and U.S. water systems have a number of contaminants, either unregulated or within regulatory levels, that scientific study shows pose a health risk

Morristown Green (N.J.): Commentary: Better public drinking water standards are needed

But a scathing new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) contends that government water standards are outdated and do not adequately address the health threats posed by a myriad of contaminants.

Mount Olive Chronicle (Whippany, N.J.): LETTER: Water quality standards dangerously outdated

But a scathing new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) contends that government water standards are outdated and do not adequately address the health threats posed by a myriad of contaminants.

The North Shore Leader (Locust Valley, N.Y.): Toxic Water in Glen Cove

A report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, collaborating with outside scientists, has found toxic and harmful contaminants in local drinking water in Glen Cove.

South Dakota News Watch: Contaminants are common in S.D. drinking water, but most within legal limits

In its annual report on America’s drinking water supply, released on Oct. 26, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group noted that many federal water-quality standards have not been updated in 20 or even 50 years, and that there are no legal limits whatsoever for 160 contaminants that can make their way into the American drinking-water system. Reprinted by The Daily Republic (Mitchell,  S.D.)Aberdeen News (S.D.)Watertown Public Opinion (S.D.)Farm Forum (Aberdeen, S.D.)

High Plains Public Radio: Tap Water In High Plains States Found To Contain Numerous contaminants

The Environmental Working Group has updated its Tap Water Database to spotlight dangerous levels of contamination.

KYW (Philadelphia): New database reveals if your municipal water supply has contaminants

The Environmental Working Group has been testing tap water since 2005. EWG toxicologist Alexis Temkin said the 2019 database allows consumers to plug in their ZIP code and see what contaminants are in their public water supplies.

WGRZ (Buffalo, N.Y.): Verify: A nonprofit organization says drinking water is contaminated, is this true?

Every year, a nonprofit organization called the Environmental Working Group issues its report of contaminants found in drinking water.

Trump Administration

Huffington Post: Trump’s Public Lands Chief Wrote For A Cult Extremist’s Magazine

It’s unclear if Pendley ever met LaRouche in person, either while working in the Reagan administration or at MSLF. But he did cross paths with two LaRouche associates at a “Wise Use Leadership Conference” in Sparks, Nevada, in July 1994, according to documents collected by an organization affiliated with the Environmental Working Group and archived by Greenpeace. Reprinted by 10z US PoliticsUSA News Hub

The Western Journal (Phoenix, Ariz.): Trump Cut Funding to EPA Center, Report Confirms It’s Full of ‘Junk Science’ Anyway

The Environmental Working Group slammed the decision as part of “Trump’s war on children’s health,” before warning about the potential neurological damage kids now face.

Trump Administration's Farmer Bailout

Food Politics: Who gets trade aid? Big Ag, of course.

The Environmental Working Group’s analysis finds that more than half of the $8.4 billion aid meant to compensate farmers for the loss of export sales went to the top 10% of farmers.  Check this for yourself in the EWG Farm Subsidy Database. Reprinted by Health Fitness Trends

The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, W.Va.): Editorial: Farm-subsidy inequity stems from Washington

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) issued a report that found the top one-tenth of recipients has received 54 percent of all payments.

Cleaning Products

The Good Men Project: Stopping That Drain Clog Naturally

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Guide to Healthy Cleaning gives drain clog removers from the likes of Amway, Clorox, CVS, Drano, Liquid Plumr and Safeway an “F” grade, given their toxicity to humans and animals and harshness to the environment.


Huffington Post: Squalane Benefits: Everything To Know About Where It Comes From And How To Use It

“Because the skin already makes its own version of squalane, it easily penetrates and replenishes the natural moisture barrier,” said Caroline Hadfield, president of Pipette, a new Environmental Working Group-certified baby and skin care brand that uses squalane in many of its products.

Mind Body Green: This EWG-Verified Clean Beauty Brand Is Coming to CVS & It’s Under $20

CVS just announced that they'd be stocking C'est Moi—a clean beauty brand that's even verified by the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database—in 450 stores across the country.

Michelle Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose 

Global Cosmetic Industry: Sozio Creates “Clean” Fragrance Designation

The brand discloses 100% of its ingredients and avoids "chemicals of concern" as defined by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Reprinted by Perfumer & Flavorist

US Weekly: Michelle Pfeiffer launches fragrance collection inspired from the clean beauty trend

The collection is reportedly the first fragrance line to be certified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) - it was developed in partnership…

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Inspire Health and Spirit: Endocrine Disruptors You Should Avoid

Check out EWG.orghttps://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ and use the EWG app to scan products for product safety. Reprinted by Blogarama

Mini Magazine: Watch Out for These 6 Unsafe Items in Your Baby Gear and Cleaning Products

Become fluent in ingredient labels by scanning for synthetic fragrances, preservatives, petroleum based ingredients, and look up names you don’t recognize on EWG’s Skin Deep database.

Rank & Style: 10 Best Moisturizers for Redness

Also, an added bonus is that this has a great low nontoxic rating on the EWG.org website.

Duke Energy

Indianapolis Business Journal: Duke Energy facing rate-hike pushback

Parties that have joined CAC’s motion to have Duke provide more information are the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the Indiana Community Action Association, the Indiana Laborers District Council, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Working Group.

Farm Subsidies

Counter Punch: When Justice Delayed Means Extinction: the Case of the Delta Smelt

The subject of how much American taxpayers are ripped off by the yeoman agribusiness corporations, domestic and transnational, in league with the USDA, is admirably covered by the Environmental Working Group on its excellent Farm Subsidy Data Base, which has been tabulating farm subsidies since 1995…

Food Policy Action

FoodTank: 19 Organizations and Initiatives Winning in the Food Movement

Food Policy Action was founded in 2012 through a collaboration of national food policy leaders, including Chef Tom Colicchio, Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group, and Gary Hirshberg, the Chairman of Stonyfield Farm, to hold legislators accountable on legislation effects food and farming. Reprinted by EcoWatchEnvironmentGuruKelo (Sioux Falls, S.D.) 

Monsanto’s Glyphosate

Beyond Pesticides: U.S. Consumers Eating Pesticide Residues in Fruits and Vegetables, according to Government Report

As Beyond Pesticides reported, “The average level of glyphosate found in cereal samples (360 parts per billion) was more than twice the level set by scientists at Environmental Working Group for lifetime cancer risk for children. 

Civil Eats: Big Food is Betting on Regenerative Agriculture to Thwart Climate Change

All but four of the products had glyphosate levels higher than what’s considered safe for children by the Environmental Working Group, the nonprofit that did the testing.

Perchlorate in Food Packaging

Chemical Watch: US FDA sued over rejected perchlorate FCM petition (subscription)

Plaintiff organisations. The NGOs suing the agency are Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP); Center for Environmental Health (CEH); Center for Food Safety (CFS); Environmental Defense Fund (EDF); and Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Food Dive: Health and environmental groups sue FDA again to ban perchlorate

The Center for Environmental Health, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Food Safety, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Environmental Defense Fund and the Environmental Working Group are the plaintiffs.

Food Safety News: Activists take their campaign to ban Perchlorate to federal court

There is ample evidence that perchlorate causes developmental delays and impairs learning,” said Melanie Benesh, Legislative Attorney for the Environmental Working Group.

PFAS Class Action Suit

Business News Australia: Shine Lawyers launches super class action over PFAS contamination

"These corporations have knowingly contaminated the blood of virtually everyone in the country," said Ken Cook, president of American activist organisation the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Before It’s NewsLexBlog

PFAS Regulation

The Globe Post (New York, N.Y.): Impatient with EPA, US Congress Takes Regulation of Toxic PFAS into its Own Hands

Scott Faber, the vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, told The Globe Post there are three “buckets” in which the NDAA PFAS regulatory provisions fall. The first bucket, he said, is recording and monitoring PFAS.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Competitive Enterprise Institute: A Federally Funded Witches’ Brew of Dangerous Advice

A center housed at Emory University in Atlanta, for example, distributes a flier via its website that highlights the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” list of conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.

New Hope Network: Gene editing, celery powder and organic enforcement: A roundup from the NOSB’s fall meeting

Non-organic celery is ranked 11th on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of vegetables that, when grown conventionally, absorb the highest levels of pesticides.

South Side Weekly: How to Make Wine on the South Side

One more tip, courtesy of Delta Packing’s website, before you roll up your pants to crush your berries in their tub: all non-organic grapes are considered by the Environmental Working Group to be part of the “dirty dozen” of produce—a name given to them for their high concentration of pesticides—take the time to soak them in water with salt and vinegar for ten to fifteen minutes.

KEVN Black Hills Fox (Rapid City, S.D.): Organic food purchases on the rise in Rapid City

Another way to check is by looking at "the clean fifteen" and "the dirty dozen," two lists from the Environmental Working Group. Scientists test each fruit and vegetable every year to see how many pesticides they contain. Reprinted by KOTA TV (Rapid City, S.D.)

Stephanie Shepherd

Forbes: Cara Santana Is Brining Diversity To Mainstream Fashion With Her Apt 9 x Kohl’s Collection

Stephanie Shepherd is a Japanese American entrepreneur and environmental and human rights a activist, who within 5 years went from personal assistant to COO of one of the World’s largest branding empires and is now focusing on her work with The Environmental Working Group, while also advocating for gender equality in Uganda with Khana Panties.

EWG Guide to Sunscreen

Healthline: Sunscreen vs. Sunblock: Which One Should I Use?

The Environmental Working Group has also cautioned against use of sun protectants with oxybenzone, as it may cause an allergic reaction. Reprinted by Dear JuliusU.S. Daily News

PFAS in Drinking Water

Eagle Herald (Marinette, Wis.): Despite PFAS numbers, stories – Feds drag their feet

By the numbers and the facts, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) report that 19 million people, across 43 states, which includes 610 sites in, or near, American communities, confront the consequential effects of PFAS exposure as a result of industrial activity.

Science Friday: PFAS Chemicals, And You

The Environmental Working Group has created a map of known contamination sites, including drinking water, in the United states.

The Silicon Valley Voice: Valley Water Monitors Wells For Carcinogenic Chemicals

Last month the non-profit organization, Environmental Working Group (EWG), released a report indicating that PFAS, a group of highly toxic fluorinated chemicals, were detected at varying levels in 74 community water systems throughout California, potentially affecting 7.5 million residents who rely on those systems.

The Charlotte Observer (N.C.): ‘We were blindsided’: NC vet and his wife deal with cancer – and the VA

“The latency period can be decades,” says David Andrews, senior scientist with The Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Myrtle Beach Online (N.C.)The Sate (Columbia, S.C.)Stars and Stripes


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