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Environmental connections to public health >>

The Latest from EnviroBlog

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Last month, the EPA official responsible for reviewing the safety of chemicals used in thousands of every-day products was asked how many chemicals in use are so dangerous they should get a harder look by the agency to protect public health and the environment.

The answer?


Monday, May 5, 2014

A revised draft of legislation to update the failed federal law that regulates toxic chemicals, which was released by Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois following stiff criticism of his initial proposal, makes only cosmetic changes to his first draft. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bananas are Americans' favorite fruit. The average American eats 10 pounds of the sweet yellow fruit yearly, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA 2012a). In 2012, the U.S. imported 9,589 million pounds of bananas, more than 95 percent of them grown in five tropical Latin American nations (USDA 2013).

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Chemicals in Commerce Act discussion draft circulated in the House of Representatives earlier this year claims to advance the public interest.  We don’t think so.


Monday, April 28, 2014

The corn shoppers find on supermarket aisles and at farm stands is called “sweet corn” because it contains more sugar than its ancestor, field corn.  People eat sweet corn fresh on or off the cob, frozen or canned.  

Friday, April 25, 2014

When it comes to food and health, the agriculture system, and consumer choices, the conversation often starts around the dinner table. Laurie David, activist and producer, has written The Family Cooks, with Kirstin Uhrenholdt, her longtime collaborator, to get us talking about dishes that are simple, fast, “low in the bad stuff and high in the good stuff” – and that bring kids into the cooking process.  They demystify cooking terms and break down basic prep techniques to help us make stress-free meals that foster health, togetherness and happy palates.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Those pyramids of apples in the produce section of supermarkets year-round may look fresh, but sometimes they’re not. Apples are harvested once a year, in the autumn.  Growers apply a mixture of chemicals and a waxy coating to apples to protect the fruit during cold storage, which can last as long as a year.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The study of foam from 20 old and new crib mattresses found that mattresses release up to 30 different types of volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs, among them, phenol, a strong skin and respiratory irritant.  The study detected other chemicals, including linalool and limonene, known fragrance allergens that can cause skin allergies. Repeated exposure over time increases the chances of an allergic reaction.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., today introduced the Household Cleaning Products Right to Know Act of 2014 bill, which would require cleaning products makers to disclose hidden ingredients in most cleaning products. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Should chemicals we encounter every day be safe?

You’d think the answer would be an obvious and resounding “yes.” But if you ask chemical companies – or some lawmakers – they say that “safe” is relative. In their view, chemical companies should be able to use dangerous chemicals if restricting their use to protect people would be too costly. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

In the ensuing furor other producers of commercial baked goods said they too were abandoning ADA.

Key Issues: 
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.” 

Key Issues: 
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.

Key Issues: 
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:

Key Issues: 
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.

Key Issues: