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EWG News Roundup (4/3): PFAS Taints Military Bases, Trump Rolls Back Car Emissions Standards and More

In the News
Friday, April 3, 2020

On Thursday, EWG released an updated map that shows toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS are now confirmed or suspected at 678 military installations.

Leaders in the House announced this week that the next COVID-19 stimulus bill will make drinking water pollution cleanup a priority. Lawmakers have proposed spending more than $75 billion on water infrastructure projects.

Actor and environmental advocate Mark Ruffalo applauded the proposal and urged lawmakers to establish a drinking water standard for the notorious PFAS chemicals PFOA and PFOS.

"No one should be drinking polluted water during a pandemic, especially water polluted from PFAS. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are drinking water contaminated with toxic ‘forever chemicals,’” said Ruffalo. “That’s why it’s so important to make funding for drinking water infrastructure part of our response to this crisis."

“Investing in drinking water infrastructure will not only create jobs and stimulate the economy,” Ruffalo continued, “but investing in water infrastructure will also help reduce the risks posed by PFAS pollution, especially the impacts PFAS have on our immune systems. Once again, Speaker Pelosi is making PFAS pollution a priority for Congress."

This week, the Trump administration released a final rule rolling back Obama-era auto fuel efficiency standards. The Trump rule will let cars and light trucks emit 1 billion more tons, or more, of carbon pollution over the lifetime of the vehicle fleet.

“This is one of the most reckless and unconscionable decisions made by any president, and doing it in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis is doubly insidious,” said EWG President Ken Cook.

Everyday life has been dramatically altered due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, but EWG is here to offer some healthy insights. This week we published tips on how to shop safely for groceries and why you should be mindful about the hair dye you buy during this crisis.

EWG also broke down how President Trump’s environmental deregulation agenda has led to an increase in air pollution that puts Americans even more at risk for severe illness due to coronavirus.

And finally, EWG filed a legal brief with a federal appeals court this week that argues Monsanto relied heavily on an untrustworthy and dubious government risk assessment to dispute a jury’s findings that the agrochemical company’s Roundup weedkiller caused cancer in a California man.

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

Briefing: New PFAS Military Map and Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Mich.)

MLive (Mich.): PFAS confirmed or suspected at 678 military installations, including 16 in Michigan

Toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS are now confirmed or suspected in ground and surface water at 678 military installations, including 16 in Michigan, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Stars and StripesNews Break

Michigan Radio: Defense Department documents show hundreds of military installations with PFAS contamination

The Environmental Working Group announced its findings along with Democrat Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee.

The Fayetteville Observer (N.C.): Chemicals found in Fort Bragg water systems, report says

The report by the Environmental Working Group found that seven chemicals were found in Fort Bragg water systems from 2013 to 2019.

Military.com: Dozens More Military Bases Have Suspected 'Forever Chemical' Contamination

According to a report released Thursday by the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG), 678 installations are either contaminated or had suspect discharges of PFAS compounds used in firefighting foams.

The Spokesman Review (Spokane, Wash.): Kalispel Tribe sues foam makers, federal government over West Plains water contamination

Tens of millions of people in the United States, primarily those near military installations, rely on tap water containing unsafe levels of the compounds, according to the Environmental Working Group.

E&E News: Lawmakers present PFAS wish list for defense bill

During a Zoom video call with the Environmental Working Group earlier today, Kildee said one priority was more cleanup funding.

Inside EPA: House Lawmakers Launch Early Push For PFAS Measures In Defense Bill

The letter follows talks that a number of lawmakers held with committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) before the House’ recess on this issue, Kildee said during an April 2 press call held by Environmental Working Group (EWG).

National Journal: Dems eye PFAS contamination in next stimulus bill

“Some of us are pushing for fairly robust environmental provisions for whatever the infrastructure investment strategy might look like,” Rep. Dan Kildee, one of the most active lawmakers on PFAS policy, said on a conference call Thursday set up by the Environmental Working Group, an organization that advocates for stronger PFAS policies.

WNEM (Saginaw, Mich.): Officials send letter outlining priorities to tackle PFAS

But much more needs to be done to clean up legacy PFAS pollution at military installations and nearby communities,” said Scott Faber, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at the Environmental Working Group.

COVID-19 Infrastructure Legislation

Associated Press: Infrastructure often embraced by both parties, to no avail

Underscoring the range of support for infrastructure, groups praising the effort Wednesday included the nonpartisan Environmental Working Group, five steel industry trade organizations and the National Association of Counties. Reprinted by The New York Times;  Spectrum Local News (Rochester, N.Y.)U.S. News & World ReportHouston ChronicleStar Tribune (Minneapolis)SF Gate (San Francisco); 500+ additional outlets 

EPA Rollback of Auto Emissions Standards

The Survive and Thrive Boomer Guide: During the coronavirus pandemic, Trump rolls back environmental laws

“This is one of the most reckless and unconscionable decisions made by any president, and doing it in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis is doubly insidious,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Blogarama

Wonkette: Trump Administration Takes Time Out Of Busy Pandemic To Make Cars Dirty Again

Even with the negligible improvement, the new rules will result in emissions of over a billion more tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the US vehicle fleet, compared to the Obama rules, according to the Environmental Working Group.

World Independent: Chemical Industry Executive Nominated to Lead Consumer Watchdog Agency

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit public health advocacy organization, said the recent movement to protect the public from water contaminants came only after intense pressure from Congress, and criticized the E.P.A. for failing to consider regulations earlier.

Trump Administration

Rolling Stone: Climate Enemies: The Men Who Sold the World

“Wheeler is the embodiment of the anti-regulatory ‘deep state’ in Washington,” Ken Cook, president of the nonprofit advocacy organization Environmental Working Group, told us in 2018. “He’s playing the long game. And that’s exactly what makes him so dangerous.” Reprinted by Democratic Underground.

Trump Administration Farm Bailouts

Politico: Congress' relief money another 'unprecedented' aid package for farmers

A review of trade aid by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit group that has long criticized many farm subsidies, found that overall, the top 1 percent of recipients collected 13 percent of all payments. Reprinted by Yahoo!

Organic Consumers Association: Covid-19 Stimulus: Bailout for Corporate Agribusiness or a Lifeline for Our Food System?

An analysis from Environmental Working Group found that the top one percent of trade aid recipients received US$183,331 on average, with one farm receiving $2.8 million, while the bottom 80 percent received less than US$5,000 on average.

Cleaning Products

Reader’s Digest: 13 Most Toxic Spring Cleaning Products—and What to Buy Instead

However, oven cleaners are loaded with toxic chemicals so much so that the EWG warns against using many conventional brands.

Bob Vila: The Best Adhesive Removers for Sticky Messes

According to the Environmental Working Group, complete lists of ingredients for these products can be hard to find, so caution is still needed when considering these products.

Healthy by Marlowe: Non-Toxic Home Essentials

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit that focuses on research and advocacy pertaining to toxins and human health, recently evaluated over 2,000 cleaning products for their health effects.

EWG VERIFIED™

Business Insider: Popular razor startup Billie now makes lip balm, dry shampoo, and face wipes — here are my mini-reviews for each product

You can now shop Billie's new beauty essentials and evaluate the safety of the beauty products you currently use with the Clean Cash Calculator, Billie's searchable database made using data from the Environmental Working Group.

E! News: Billie Is Here to Keep Your Self-Grooming in Check

In fact, everything they sell is rated a 1 to 2 on EWG’s Skin Deep Database (with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst), and it’s all priced under $15. Reprinted by BrinkwireThe World NewsCommunity News BlogUC News

Better Nutrition: 2020 Best of Natural Beauty Awards: Bath & Body

This energizing, Environmental Working Group-verified soap features organic botanical extracts. The clean scent comes from Meyer lemon and mandarin essential oils.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Reader’s Digest Best Health: 3 Crucial Ways to Update Your Beauty Routine Now

There are resources that educate us on product ingredients, such as Clean at Sephora and Environmental Working Group, but sometimes this wealth of information can lead to confusion.

DC Edit: The Best of Cult Korean Skincare You Can Buy in Singapore

The formula is also made up of 96% natural ingredients (EWG Green graded) to soothe and protect even the most sensitive skin.

Thrive Market: 11 Nontoxic Hair Care Brands for Your Clean Beauty Routine

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) notes that retinyl palmitate (considered a gentler version of retinol) is a known human reproductive toxicant, among other concerns.

Endocrine Disruptors

Project Motherhood: Why I No Longer Use Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oils (And What To Use Instead)

Furthermore, the EWG says that these endocrine disruptors basically play tricks on our bodies and do things like, “increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.”

Food Scores

World Health Net: Shopping Safely & Eating Well During This Outbreak

There are even some databases and apps that offer food scores to help you make healthier choices such as EWG’s Food Scores.

Ken Cook at 2020 PCPC Annual Meeting

Cosmetics Design: EWG President Ken Cook on collaboration with the personal care industry

The main topic of programing at last month’s PCPC Annual Meeting event was sustainability. As part of that discussion, the EWG was invited to speak about how NGOs and beauty industry insiders can best work together.

Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change + Health

Mom.com: 11 Things You Can Do Today To Help Save the Earth Tomorrow

According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to championing health and the environment, if everyone in the U.S. went vegetarian, it would be the equivalent of taking 46 million cars off the road or not driving 555 billion miles. Reprinted by MSN

PFAS Tap Water Contamination

WCPO 9 (Cincinnati): 'Dark Waters' attorney Rob Bilott works on sequel with class action lawsuit over 'forever chemicals'

For most people, the biggest risk of contamination is from water pollution, said David Andrews, senior scientist for Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The Packer: 2020 “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists released

The Environmental Working Group has again named strawberries, spinach and kale as the first three items on its polarizing “Dirty Dozen” list.

U.S. News and World Report: Coronavirus and Food Safety

In a statement released this week announcing its 2020 Shopper's Guide and updated Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists, the Environmental Working Group underscored these assurances: "As all Americans struggle to adapt to the reality of daily life during the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to know that there is no evidence people can be exposed through food. Reprinted by MSN and WTOP (D.C.).

The Beet: These Are the 12 Fruits and Veggies With the Highest Pesticide Load. Wash Well!

For the third straight year in a row, strawberries top the list of the so-called “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticides per crop. The guide, released annually by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), rates produce for its pesticide loads on our bodies.

Kink FM (Portland, Ore.): Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen

The Environmental Working Group released their annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides on produce and once again, strawberries top the list.

Moose Music First (Bozeman, Mont.): These are the 12 Fruits and Veggies with the Highest Pesticide Load. Wash Well!

For the third straight year in a row, strawberries top the list of the so-called “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables that have the most pesticides per crop. The guide, released annually by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), rates produce for its pesticide loads on our bodies.

Fox 10 (Mobile, Ala.): The 2020 Dirty Dozen List Is Here—These Are the Fruits and Vegetables You Might Want to Consider Buying Organic

Strawberries, spinach, and kale rank as the "dirtiest" produce on this year's Dirty Dozen list from the Environmental Working Group.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Chemical Watch: Sunscreen ingredient approvals get overhaul in US Covid-19 relief bill

In speaking to Chemical Watch about the legislation, Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, emphasised that under the new system, the burden of proof will remain on manufacturers to prove the safety of both new ingredients as well as the 12 currently marketed ingredients that have been facing FDA scrutiny.

Mind Body Green: The 7 Best Skin Care Ingredients To Look For For Aging Skin

According to activist organization the Environmental Working Group and the Food and Drug Administration, 12 of the 16 active ingredients in sunscreen used in the U.S. do not have sufficient data to support their safety claims, including oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and avobenzone.

 

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