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EWG News Roundup (5/1): Despite COVID Outbreaks, Trump Forces Meat Processing Plants To Stay Open, Rethinking Beauty Routines at Home and More

Friday, May 1, 2020

On Tuesday President Trump signed an executive order that declared meat-processing facilities essential businesses during the pandemic, despite the growing number of COVID-19 outbreaks causing factory workers falling ill and dying.

“Sending workers back to meat-processing plants without proper protection is tantamount to a death sentence,” said EWG senior vice president of government affairs Scott Faber. “Rather than escalating this danger with reckless fiats, President Trump should be ensuring food and farm workers have adequate PPE, plenty of space to work safely, and free testing – not to mention paid sick leave and medical care if they do get sick.”

EWG took a look at the steps Michigan implemented to reduce industrial discharges of the toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS. Lawmakers in Michigan set stringent water quality standards for two PFAS compounds, PFOA and PFOS. EWG applauds the state and calls on federal lawmakers to take the steps necessary to reduce these discharges at the national level.

With shelter-at-home orders still in place, EWG offered some helpful tips this week for folks who want to make small changes to their beauty routines while keeping their health and environment top of mind.

We looked at how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is responding to the COVID-19 crisis and finally, we explored how the pandemic is affecting the wind energy sector in Iowa and what federal lawmakers can do to step in.

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

Children’s Health

Courier Express (DuBois, Pa.): Locals make their own household products as a family during quarantine

DuBois native Gionna Pitrone said she was shocked when researching home products with the Environmental Working Group, learning about all of the toxins a baby is born with in their body.

Parents: These Are the Worst Sunscreens of 2018 for Babies and Kids, Says EWG

But according to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), some sunscreens can actually be unsafe for kids and babies.

Romper: The 16 Best Eco Friendly Baby Products

Mustela's products score well with the Environmental Working Group and this newborn starter set is backed by more than 300 reviews on Amazon, including from parents who commented these formulas worked for their baby's sensitive skin.

COVID-19 and Farmworker Justice

Reuters: Trump orders U.S. meat-processing plants to stay open despite coronavirus fears

Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group senior vice president for government affairs, criticized Trump’s move.

Reprinted by The New York TimesFinancial PostSuccessful FarmingThe Sacramento Bee; 24 additional media outlets

Bloomberg: Trump Orders Meat Plants to Stay Open in Move Unions Slam

Environmental Working Group called the order a potential death sentence. The United Food and Commercial Workers union said in a statement that if workers aren’t safe, the food supply won’t be either. Reprinted by Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (Ga.)Miami HeraldIdaho StatesmanThe News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)Illinois Farmer Today; 19 additional media outlets

FERN: Advocates slam Trump order to keep meatpacking plants open

Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement that the order was “tantamount to a death sentence."

CQ Roll Call: Democrats propose protections for farm workers

Khanna was joined on the call by Alexis Guild, health policy director for Farmworker Justice, and Scott Faber, government affairs vice president for the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Idaho StatesmanFort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas)Bradenton Herald (Fla.)Belleville News-Democrat (Ill.);The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.); 7 additional media outlets

Capital Press: NAWG leader: Farm Bill will have 'huge target'

It likely won't just be long-time critics of the farm bill such as the Heritage Foundation, the Environmental Working Group and the American Enterprise Institute, Goule added.

The Fence Post: Advocates: There’s still time to save farmworkers from COVID-19

Not enough has been done to protect meat plant and grocery workers, they said, but “maybe there is time to protect farmworkers,” said Scott Faber, the senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, which organized the media call.

Trump Administration Farmer Bailout

CBS News, 60 Minutes Overtime: Trade War Relief Money Mostly Going To Large Farms

“These payments are going to people who are living in the middle of New York City because they happen to have an ownership interest in the farm,” says Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, which found hundreds of urban dwellers, including an architect, a composer and a banker who receive payments under the program.

Bloomberg: Farm Groups Seek to Lift Cap on Coronavirus Bailout Payments

Scott Faber, a senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, said the effort showed “greed has no limits.”

Cleaning Products

New York Post: Going overboard with disinfectants could be deadly to kids

Aggressive cleaning calls for careful consideration, says Samara Geller, a senior research and database analyst from the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by The World NewsDML NewsFox NewsWCSI (Columbus, Ind.)Tech Times; 1 additional media outlet

The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.): How to create DIY air fresheners using household items

Testing by the Environmental Working Group found over 450 chemicals in air fresheners and multipurpose cleaning sprays, many of which compounds are linked to asthma, developmental and reproductive harm, or cancer.

For The Mommas: Clorox Stain & Odor Remover Spray for Pets $6.99

It’s rated A by the EWG (Environmental Working Group), which means it’s considered low-toxin and safe to use inside the home!

Green Matters: What Is Greenwashing? Greenwashing for Beginners

While this type of branding lends itself to natural, nontoxic, and eco-friendly connotations, Tide Free & Gentle actually scores an F on the Environmental Working Group.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Poosh: The Top Ingredients to AVOID IN BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Thanks to the help of the EWG (Environmental Working Group)—an organization Kourt got involved with after having Mason when she started to more closely examine the products she uses on herself and children—we’re sharing the top five ingredients to avoid in beauty products.

Dr. Greene: Bath Time Fears

Be careful to use safe, gentle, hypo-allergenic, tear-free products to clean your baby’s skin and hair. The Environmental Working Group has a wonderful database, Skin Deep, that allows you to search for products for personal care and cosmetics.

Bay Area Beauty Blogger: How To Detox Your Beauty Routine

American women use an average of 12 products a day containing nearly 200 chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Earth Day

The Garden City News (N.Y.): Go Green with Kelly and Colleen

Check out the Environmental Working Group’s online Earth Day campaigns at act.ewg.org for suggestions on practicing environmental responsibility at home.

Kourtney Kardashian

The Talko: 10 Awesome Locations Kourtney Kardashian Used For Instagram Backgrounds

Aside from her work on beauty projects, cover magazines and photoshoots, Kourtney does a lot of charity work and also is greatly involved with helping the Environmental Working Group in their cause to pass a law on abolishing harmful chemicals.

Michelle Pfieffer’s Henry Rose

Byrdie: Fragrance Wardrobe: Michelle Pfeiffer on the Perfume Equivalent to a Comfy Pair of Sweats

In an industry that's largely unregulated when it comes to the thousands of murky ingredients housed under the umbrella term "fragrance"—many of which are proven to be toxic and harmful to the human body—Pfeiffer worked closely with Environmental Working Group, Cradle to Cradle, and International Flavors and Fragrances to create a luxurious line founded in transparency.

Nitrate in Tap Water

Omaha World Herald: Nebraska towns pay millions to fight nitrates as water bills go up

Nebraska is doing a good job fighting the nitrate problem, but its groundwater still has some of the highest nitrate levels in the country, said Jamie Konopacky, the Midwest director at the Environmental Working Group.

American City & County: 3 ways to make clean water affordable in America’s smallest communities

For example, nationwide testing compiled by the Environmental Working Group identified at least 1,155 communities without systems for removing the unacceptable levels of nitrate — a contaminant linked to cancer — found in their drinking water.

PFAS Military Map

The Progressive: Wisconsin’s Fight Against the F-35sData compiled by the advocacy organization Environmental Working Group—and collected by the Department of Defense—shows 678 sites across the country where military bases were suspected of introducing PFAS contaminants into the water, and 328 where the chemicals were found in drinking water next to a base.

WNEM (Saginaw, Mich.): Kildee pushes Air Force to clean up PFAS chemicals at former base in Oscoda

According to Kildee, he held a press call on Monday, April 27 to announce the new letter with representatives from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Need our Water (NOW).

The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.): Washington DOC sues federal government over chemicals that tainted food from Airway Heights prison

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. Reprinted by Stars and Stripes

The Wenatchee World (Wash.): State sues federal government over chemicals that tainted food from Airway Heights prison

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.

PFAS Tap Water Contamination

The Doctors: Choose the Best Water Filter to Remove Chemicals from Your Drinking Water

A new study by the Environmental Working Group found that potentially harmful "forever chemicals" known as perfluorinated chemicals or PFAs (PFOA & PFO) may be found in our drinking water at a much higher rate than previously estimated.

Holistic Primary Care: For Millions Without Clean Water, COVID Prevention Guidelines are Out of Hand

A new survey from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) shows the wide prevalence of chemicals related to plastic production in the US drinking water supply. The EWG confirmed the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)––a broad group of potentially toxic fluorinated compounds––in the tap water or groundwater of nearly 1,500 US communities.

WCPO Cincinnati: A better evil? Evaluating the risk of GenX pollution in Cincinnati

But Brunswick County still ranked number one in the nation in PFAS pollution, according to a tap water study released in January by Environmental Working Group.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Reader’s Digest Best Health: 20 Produce Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Each year, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce so customers can figure out where to spend extra for organic and which fruits and veggies are safe to buy conventionally grown. Reprinted by MSN

Reader’s Digest Best Health: 25 Genius Ways to Get a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget

Look to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for their “Dirty Dozen” (pesticide-covered foods you should always buy organic) and “Clean 15” foods (foods that are OK to buy conventional) to help you know when to splurge or save.

Seafood Guide

HuffPost: The Best Canned Tuna For Your Health, According To Experts

Because high mercury levels can have a negative impact on developing fetuses, the Environmental Working Group suggests pregnant women consume 25% less high-mercury fish than the FDA and EPA recommendation. Reprinted by MSNHead Topics

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

The Singapore Women’s Weekly: Why You Still Need To Wear Sunscreen Indoors: A Comprehensive Guide

According to the Environmental Working Group, these three UV filters are also known to have lower toxicity concerns, and so they’re less likely to have lasting effects on your skin.

Tap Water Database

Loquitur (Cabrini University): Is your drinking water safe?

11 of the 31 contaminants found exceeded health guidelines set forth by the Environmental Working Group. Six of those contaminants are widely unregulated.

 

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