Environmental connections to public health >>
EWG News Roundup (1/6): Kids and Sugar, Avoiding Pesticides and Toxic Teflon
EWG’s research on the serious sugar problem in many kids’ cereals, published between 2011 and 2014, received renewed attention this week in the media. Other widely covered EWG projects included our Shopper’s Guide to PesticidesTM, and our consumer advice on how to avoid PFCs – highly toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of older nonstick cooking products.
There was also coverage of EWG’s work on green living and PCBs in seafood.
Here is some news you can use as we head into the weekend.
Sugar-Laden Children’s Cereal:
In the US, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in 2011 identified 17 breakfast cereals marketed to children in which added sugar constituted more than 50% of calories, and 177 with 40% or more. Despite the notoriety of that disclosure, the EWG follow-up study in 2014 noted that not one of these breakfast cereals on the top 10 worst list had reduced its sugar content. Reprinted by True Viral News.
“So, what about the United States,” you ask before closing your eyes and bracing for impact? Well, in June the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report saying that cereal is the “No. 5 source of added sugar in children’s diets,” which almost doesn’t sound too bad until you consider the numbers one through four are things like ice cream and cookies.
In 2014, the Environmental Working Group did a report on children's cereals, and found that hot cereals, such as oatmeal, cream of wheat and grits, offered the most sugar-free and low-sugar (containing less than 1 teaspoon of sugar per serving) options. The only exception: instant oatmeal—they average 75 percent more sugar than cooked-from-scratch oatmeal.
DuPont’s Toxic Teflon Chemical
After two to five minutes on a conventional stove top, Teflon and other nonstick surfaces can be hot enough to break down and emit toxic particles and gases. No bueno. And according to the Environmental Working Group, we don't know enough about pans that are labeled "green" or "not nonstick" to deem them safe.
A federal jury in Ohio ordered chemical giant DuPont to dole out $10.5 million yesterday to a man who says his testicular cancer was caused by the company's pollution.
Teflon is the DuPont brand trademark for a a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene, a member of the perfluorinated chemical “family” of PFCs. According to Environmental Working Group, PFCs have been found in nearly all Americans tested by federal public health officials. Chemicals from this family are associated with smaller birth weight and size in newborn babies, elevated cholesterol, abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver inflammation and weakened immune defense against disease
Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce
When the Environmental Working Group released its annual Dirty Dozen list, we didn’t want to look. The list reports which fruits and vegetables have the highest detectable pesticide residues, and it’s always a line-up of our most beloved produce.
The Columbus Dispatch: Resolved: Where to start when you want to start off right? Educate yourself which fruits and vegetables are treated heaviest with chemicals and know which hold relatively few pesticides. Here is a handy guide you can keep in your wallet: ewg.org/foodnews/guide.php.
The Environmental Working Group for the fourth year has warned that people who eat large amounts of kale, collard greens, and peppers should buy organic, as these vegetables were frequently found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system. On the other hand, avocado, mango, cabbage, onion, and cauliflower all made the EWG's Clean Fifteen list, as they were least likely to hold pesticide residue even when grown non-organically.
Organic foods contain more nutrients your body needs and no harmful pesticides or hormones. Martha couldn't always find or afford organic foods, so I recommended consulting the Environmental Working Group's most and least pesticide-ridden foods.
Organic production improves some types of produce more than others. “The Environmental Working Group publishes lists of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ and ‘Clean 15’ foods,” Linsenmeyer explains. Produce items on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list, which changes annually, have more pesticides than their organic counterparts.
Enter Healthy Living from the Environmental Working Group, a comprehensive, ratings-based app that explains exactly what ingredients - read: chemicals are in more than 120,000 food and personal care products. Reprinted by The Stamford Advocate, CT Post and four other media outlets.
PCBs in Seafood
On average, farmed salmon has 16 times the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in wild salmon, four times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the PCBs found in other seafood, the Environmental Working Group reports.