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Environmental connections to public health >>

The Latest from EnviroBlog

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

When 300,000 West Virginians went without water for three weeks earlier this year, most Americans were shocked to learn that health officials and the government didn’t know much about the licorice-smelling chemical that had leaked from a storage facility into the Elk River near Charleston. Hundreds of residents contacted the state’s Poison Control Center to report nausea, vomiting and rashes. Weeks after officials lifted the water ban, complaints of the licorice odor continue and the long-term health effects of the coal-processing substance – 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (Crude MCHM) – are still unknown.


Friday, March 14, 2014

In June of 2003, Linda Reinstein found out that her husband Alan had a type of lung cancer called mesothelioma, caused by breathing asbestos. “I can treat it,” the surgeon told her, “but I can’t cure it.” 

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Recently, some online musings have been bouncing around Twitter and Facebook claiming that there isn’t much, if any, difference between organic and conventional foods.

One article by Melinda Wenner Moyer titled “Organic Shmorganic,” published Jan. 28 on, made several interesting points – including a couple that Environmental Working Group agrees with and a number we don’t.

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Monday, January 27, 2014

When EWG’s staff voted on the most important environmental health stories of 2013 that didn’t directly involve agriculture, it turned out that antibiotic overuse was at the top of the list. Of course, that issue does involve agriculture. Oh, well.   In fact, three of the year’s biggest stories cited by EWG’ers focused on antibiotic overuse and the resulting rise of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” that threaten to make many vital bacteria-fighting medicines useless. here are EWG’s Top Ten:

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

A team of scientists using portable methane detectors reported last week that it has detected 5,893 leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, from gas utility lines in Washington D.C.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

As a mom of an eight-year-old and a six-year old, I can’t escape Disney. But thankfully, my little princesses haven’t yet been exposed to the company’s pro-fracking campaign, “Rockin’ in Ohio.” 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

On January 9, more than 7,500 gallons of a chemical used to process coal – crude MCHM – spilled into West Virginia’s Elk River at a facility owned by Freedom Industries. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

State regulators have confirmed more than 100 cases of well water contamination caused by oil and gas drilling over the past five years, an Associated Press investigation found.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The decision by General Mills reflects the growing pressure on food companies to provide more, not less, information about what’s in their products.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

EWG’s New Year’s resolution for cosmetic manufacturers:  shed bad actor ingredients that disrupt the hormone system, cause allergies and may accelerate skin cancer.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The federal Food and Drug administration has announced proposed rules that could drive unnecessary and potentially dangerous products from the market -- antibacterial hand soaps like those marketed by Dial, Softsoap and CVS.

This is a big deal.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Supermarket shelves are loaded with products that display the label “natural.”  The food industry likes to use the word to persuade consumers that what they’re buying is somehow better for them, their families and the environment. But the fact is, many of the foods labeled “natural” contain ingredients that were genetically engineered.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How did I spend my summer?  I hung around department store makeup aisles, looking for the much talked about “miracle” makeup, BB and CC creams. You should have seen the looks I got as I dabbed the testers on my arm – mind you, I’m a 40-year-old man wearing cargo shorts and a ratty T-shirt.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A peanut butter and jelly sandwich hasn’t always been a loaded weapon on a lunchroom table.

Friday, November 22, 2013

If a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If it’s a claim made by a company trying to sell you a wrinkle cream, the federal Food and Drug Administration probably isn’t checking it out. The FDA routinely requires drugs to be tested before they are sold to consumers to ensure that they perform as promised and are safe.  EWG has long sounded the alarm that the FDA does not subject cosmetics to similar premarket reviews for efficacy and safety. After you’ve read a few ads for anti-aging creams, you might be asking yourself, are these supposed miracle creams cosmetics or drugs?  When do regulators insist on testing?  Is there sufficient FDA oversight for anti-aging products?  The answer may give you worry lines.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am a millennial – one of the roughly 50 million Americans born after 1980 and coming of age in the 21st Century.  Generational theorists have called me lazy, narcissistic and entitled.  But they’ve also called me tech-savvy, politically active and entrepreneurial. A survey by the Nonprofit Technology Network reports that millennials are especially keen on non-profit engagement and hungry to get involved.

Which brings us to EWG:  40 percent of EWG staff belongs to the millennial generation, a diverse group of lobbyists, researchers and analysts that have been giving you the straight facts for 20 years. Why should millennials get involved with EWG?  Let me tell you the reasons I, as politically active young woman, want to stay connected with EWG.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Diesel fuels contain highly toxic chemicals, one of which is benzene, a known carcinogen.  Even very small concentrations of benzene can contaminate water supplies. If benzene and other toxic chemicals seep into a community’s water, that’s a serious and possibly irreparable problem.  Congress recognized diesel’s extraordinary dangers back in 2005 when it passed the federal Energy Policy Act.  It exempted most oil and gas hydraulic drilling and fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act – but not fracking with diesel. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Belgium recently adopted new cell phone regulations that bar mobile phone models designed for, and marketed to children ages 7 and younger.  Under Belgium’s new rules, slated to take effect next March, cell phone retailers will be required to disclose phones’ maximum emission levels, known as specific absorption rates, or SAR, at the point of sale.  Belgium becomes the latest in a rapidly lengthening list of nations to attempt to shield children from too much cell phone radiation and to inform everyone about the risks of exposure to these emissions. At least a dozen other nations have taken steps to protect children from cell phone radiation.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Keeping politicians on message can sometimes be difficult. That also holds true of corporate chiefs and movie stars. Even the most seasoned, media-savvy folks veer off their talking points on occasion. But that’s not the case with the pesticide industry and its clientele.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Today (Nov. 13) in Seattle, HBO will screen a disturbing new documentary, The Toxic Hot Seat, that highlights the growing risk to firefighters – and the general public – of fire retardant chemicals that have long been added to furniture and other consumer products as a result of deceptive chemical industry lobbying.

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