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EWG News Roundup (2/14): Trump EPA Fails To Protect Kids From Pesticides, Few Signs of Progress on PFAS and More

In the News
Friday, February 14, 2020

This week, EWG published a peer-reviewed study in the journal Environmental Health that details the history of the landmark Food Quality Protection Act and shows that the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to add the mandated children’s health safety factor to the allowable limits for almost 90 percent of the most common pesticides.

“Given the potential health hazards of pesticides in our food, it is disturbing that the EPA has largely ignored the law’s requirement to ensure adequate protection for children,” said the study’s author, Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., vice president for science investigations at EWG. “The added safety factor is essential to protect children from pesticides that can cause harm to the nervous system, hormonal disruption and cancer.”

This week also marked the one-year anniversary of the EPA’s PFAS Action Plan. EWG dissected how the Trump EPA has failed to live up to the promise it put forth last year and broke down the EPA’s history of failing to rein in the crisis of the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS.

President Trump unveiled his 2021 budget, which seeks deep cuts in funding for the EPA, Department of Energy and other agencies.

 “This budget perfectly reflects President Trump’s views on protecting public health and preventing pollution: He’s against both,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Now that he’s been in office three years, no one should expect anything less from a president who has not and will not lift a finger to address the climate crisis or safeguard our drinking water, air and the public from polluters. That would be off-brand."

And finally, EWG took a look at the emergence of hydrogen energy. Hydrogen joins wind and solar as the next disruptive force that will further drive dirty and unsafe technologies from the U.S. energy economy.

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

Children’s Health Safety Factor in EPA Pesticide Risk Assessments

TIME: New Study Shows That When It Comes to Pesticides and Kids, the EPA Has Looked the Other Way

“With the FQPA legislation, Congress clearly gave the EPA the power to protect children’s health from pesticides,” says Olga Naidenko, vice president of science investigations at the Environmental Working Group, and lead author of the paper. “The EPA should be able to fully use this authority without waiting for additional instructions, if the EPA leadership decides to do so.” Reprinted by The World News

Scientific American: The Trump Administration vs. Children

A recent Environmental Working Group study tested drinking water across the country and found that the place with highest levels of PFAS—over 10 times the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Control’s safe level—was an elementary school in North Carolina.

E+E News: Study: EPA failing to set limits that protect children (subscription)

In a study published Monday in the journal Environmental Health, Environmental Working Group researchers said EPA has applied the strict requirement in only a handful of the risk assessments it writes for farm chemicals, falling short of requirements under the Food Quality Protection Act.

Grist: Waste not, pay not?

A federal law aims to protect infants and children by restricting their exposure to pesticides, but a new study from the Environmental Working Group shows the Environmental Protection Agency isn’t really enforcing it. 

New Food Magazine: US study shows legal safety measures for pesticides are being overlooked

The USA’s Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 requires the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect children’s health by applying an extra margin of safety to legal limits for pesticides in food. However, a recently published investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the EPA has failed to add this safety margin to the allowable limits for almost 90 percent of the most common pesticides.

Trump Administration

(Reprinted from Associated Press) The Olympian (Wash.): Trump calls for slashing funding for toxic Superfund cleanup

“This budget perfectly reflects President Trump’s views on protecting public health and preventing pollution: He’s against both,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group advocacy group. Reprinted by Sun Herald (Gulfport, Miss.)Bradenton Herald (Fla.)ABC 7 (El Paso, Texas)Miami HeraldIdaho Statesman; 25 other media outlets

Trump Administration Farm Bailouts

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The Jolt: Surrogate groups step up for Kelly Loeffler

A database from the Environmental Working Group showed that Loeffler’s family farm collected nearly $1.3 million in federal subsidies, mostly for corn and soybeans, since 1995.

Daily Reporter (Greenfield, Ind.): County up to $13 million in farm bailout as program winds down

Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency’s Market Facilitation Program started in 2018, payments totaled $14.4 billion through October 2019 to farmers and ranchers impacted by retaliatory tariffs and other export barriers, according to the latest data available from a database compiled by Environmental Working Group.

Asbestos in Children’s Makeup

Healthcare Weekly: FDA to Further Review Asbestos Testing on Cosmetics, Including Johnson & Johnson’s Talc

Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Environmental Working Group Scott Faber had other ideas, claiming the current system has ‘failed consumers.'

Top Class Actions: Asbestos Cancer Risk Associated With Children’s Toy Makeup Kit

Tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group have reportedly shown the cancer-causing chemical asbestos in a toy makeup kit meant for children may pose a serious asbestos cancer risk.

Chlorpyrifos

Santa Cruz Sentinel (Calif.): California bans common pesticide linked to brain damage in children

“If only President Trump’s EPA had listened to its own scientists and not blocked a federal ban of chlorpyrifos, millions of other kids would enjoy the same protections,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, on Thursday. Reprinted by Monterey Herald (Calif.)

Cleaning Products

Reader’s Digest Best Health: 15 Common Kitchen Items That Are Secretly Toxic

Multipurpose cleaners promise to make life easier by being able to clean a variety surfaces but many contain the harmful chemical 2-Butoxyethanol, a glycol ether that, according to the Environmental Working Group may cause a variety of ailments from skin irritation and sore throats (when inhaled) to more serious conditions such as liver and kidney damage. Reprinted by MSN

EWG VERIFIED™

People: Upgrade Your Vanity with These Celebrity Beauty Launches

Like its predecessors, this aroma – described as a “fresh, woody scent” – was created in partnership with the Environmental Working Group with 100% ingredient transparency.

Ask Men: Best Natural Cleaning Products

Sure, while it offers laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid and all-purpose cleaner in half gallon cardboard containers, it also gives you the option to tack on EWG Verified shampoo, shower gel and hand soap in bulk as well.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

The Good Men Project: Is Hair Dye Carcinogenic?

A good place to start is the “Hair Color & Bleaching” section of the free online Skin Deep database, launched in 2004 by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) to provide information on the ingredients of common household cleaning and health and beauty products—and to highlight potential hazards and health concerns.

The List: The untold truth of clean beauty

As a result, the U.S. is lagging behind other countries, the Environmental Working Group reported. A 2019 news release from EWG stated that more than 40 nations, including Germany and the United Kingdom, "have enacted regulations specifically targeting the safety and ingredients of cosmetics and personal care products."

Nylon Singapore: 4 Ingredients In Skincare & Cosmetics You Should Avoid And Why

This list only scrapes the surface on the nasty ingredients hiding in our skincare, so we’ve included a list of resources that we find to be helpful in furthering our understanding on this issue.

  1. Toxic Beauty Doc
  2. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
  3. Think Dirty App
  4. Skin Deep® by Environmental Working Group

The Healthy: 12 Potentially Toxic Ingredients That Can Be Found in Beauty Products

The problem is that exposure to high levels of this chemical could lead to respiratory problems, as well as kidney and liver damage, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). 

Hello Giggles: The 7 sneaky skincare ingredients that dermatologists want you to be wary of using

The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, which gives ingredients a toxicology score depending on how hazardous they find it to be, gave formaldehyde a score of 8-10 out of 10. Reprinted by MSNYahoo!

Visions of Vogue: Maelove: The Beauty Brand That Needs To Be In Your Skincare Routine

I’m not EWG or the Think Dirty iPhone app but if I had to guess, I’d say the products are about a 3 or less which is better than brands like Colleen Rothschild and TULA and on par with Drunk Elephant in terms of ranking.

Glyphosate

Counter Currents: Menace on the Menu in Post – EU Britain

In August, tests commissioned by EWG found glyphosate residues on popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars. Reprinted by Global ResearchBefore It’s NewsTap News WireDissident VoiceCounter Punch

Natural News: Hidden toxins: Certain breakfast cereals could cause cancer, researchers warn

A study released by the non-profit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) last year, revealed that 21 different oat-based snacks and cereals tested contained dangerously high levels of glyphosate. Reprinted by BruDirect

Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change + Health

Huffington Post: Is Tofu Really Worse Than Meat For The Environment?

“Reports from groups such as the Environmental Working Group have illustrated that the greenhouse gas emissions created by 1kg of tofu are far less than that of meats.” Reprinted by Yahoo!

Desiree Nielsen, RD: How to Become a Vegan in 7 Simple, Healthy Steps

(Links to EWG’s Meat Eaters’ Guide)

New PFAS Testing Report 

Albuquerque Journal (N.M.): PFAS chemicals found in “handful” of Clovis water wells

But they are difficult to break down, and the Environmental Working Group estimates that drinking water for up to 110 million Americans may be contaminated with the chemicals.

The Allegheny Front (Penn.): Ohio River Regulators Planning Riverwide PFAS Study

In Louisville, researchers detected three PFAS compounds at two different water treatment plants, according to the report. The Louisville Water Company and the Environmental Working Group have also detected PFAS compounds at low levels in Louisville drinking water.

The Columbus Dispatch: New PFAS toxic chemical injury cases against DuPont being tried in Columbus federal court

At least .0164 parts per billion of nine different forever chemicals were recently found in Columbus’ drinking water, including PFOA at .0024 parts per billion, according to water testing provided by a nonpartisan nonprofit, the Environmental Working Group.

Costa Blanca & Costa Calida Leader (Spain): Spain upgrade safe drinking tap water

The findings by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) report the group’s previous estimate in 2018, based on unpublished US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, that 110 million Americans may be contaminated with PFAS, could be far too low.

East Village Magazine: PFAS actions, concerns aired in Kildee-sponsored phone town hall

Kildee was joined by Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) where Faber is senior vice president for government affairs.

Loyola Phoenix (Chicago): Facilities Expects Student Help in Reporting Expired Water Filters

In 2018, the EPA estimated 110 million Americans were exposed to harmful chemicals in their water, but the environmental watchdog group the Environmental Working Group (EWG) said the number is higher.

Star News Online (Wilmington, N.C.): Opinions: Doesn’t Brunswick County deserve safe water?

Fast forward to the StarNews Jan. 22. The Environmental Working Group’s nationwide PFAS study showed how contamination is being found in more locations across the country, and in higher concentrations.

Tulsa World (Okla.): Animal Doctor: Can the breeding of dogs be banned until shelters are empty?

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group calls these “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in nature and they accumulate in our bodies.

KBJR6 NBC (Duluth, Minn.): What’s in your water? The potentially harm chemical the state isn’t testing for

Duluth is not alone in its PFAS problem. The non partisan, non profit Environmental Working Group recently tested water from 44 communities.

Nitrate in Minnesota Tap Water

Post Bulletin (Minn.): Regulations ‘very frustrating’ for Winona County dairy farmers

But, according to a report from the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG), blue baby syndrome might be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to health concerns regarding nitrates in water. 

Wadena Pioneer Journal (Minn.): Other Opinion: Northern Water Alliance response to ‘weaponization’

…the 10 ppm of nitrate in drinking water that the state uses for the maximum allowable contaminant level has been shown to be far too high to protect human health (see EWG 2020 report on tapwater in Mn)…

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Fox Business: Foods you don’t need to buy organic

Buying organic can ensure you’re getting food that is free of pesticide residue found on most conventionally grown produce, but some foods that are conventionally farmed are perfectly clean, according to the Environmental Working Group's most recent guide to pesticides in produce. Reprinted by Long Room

Real Simple: If You’re an Avid Snacker, Homemade Kale Chips Will Change Your Life—Here’s How to Make Them

If it’s in budget, prioritize buying organic kale, which the Environmental Working Group (EWG) ranked third on its Dirty Dozen list for 2019. 

EWG Guide to Sunscreen

Conde Nast Traveler: The Best Sunscreen for All Skin Types

If you’re looking for an environmentally safe product that will also protect your kids from sun damage, look no further. This sunscreen was ranked with the highest score possible by the Environmental Working Group

The DC Edit: The Ultimate Sunscreen Guide II: Physical VS. Chemical Sunscreen

Want to find out more? Consider reading EWG’s report on the toxicity of active ingredients in sunscreen here.

The People’s Pharmacy: Can You Find Non-Irritating Sunscreen?

We’d suggest looking for a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group rates these as safe and effective. Reprinted by Washington County News (Chipley, Fla.)The Star (Port St. Joe, Fla.)The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)ReNew Houston

 

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