EWG Celebrates 20 Years of Game-Changing Work
Washington, D.C. – This week, the Environmental Working Group celebrated 20 years of groundbreaking environmental health research and advocacy at its 4th annual Earth Dinner at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Founded in 1993, EWG has changed the perceptions of lawmakers, consumers, and even industry about toxic chemicals, food, farming, and energy production.
Best-selling author and journalism professor Michael Pollan keynoted the event and later joined EWG’s president and co-founder, Ken Cook on stage for an impromptu discussion on food and farm policy and took a few questions from some in attendance.
“EWG has been using the power of information to protect the environment and public health by educating consumers, lawmakers, and companies for two decades,” said Cook. “No one understands that concept better than Michael Pollan, whose own work has literally changed the way millions of Americans feed themselves and their families. There are very few individuals on earth today who that can be said of, too. We are honored to celebrate this landmark with such an inspiring and influential leader.”
Notable guests who volunteered their time as event co-chairs included Gabrielle and Thomas Layton, Marie and Bill McGlashan, and Leigh and Bill Matthes.
A Washington, D.C.-based national environmental nonprofit organization, EWG maintains offices in Iowa and California. It publishes guides and scientific research that help consumers reduce their exposures to toxic chemicals in food, water, air and personal care products. As well, it acts as a watchdog to see that taxpayers’ money is spent on wise land and energy use, not wasteful agriculture subsidies.
Among EWG’s most popular online tools and resources:
· EWG's Farm Subsidy Database, which tracks more than $240 billion in federal farm subsidy dollars.
· EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which ranks fruits and vegetables based on total pesticide loads.
· EWG’s Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics, with safety ratings for 80,000 personal care products and ingredients.
EWG researchers have published important reports that address soil erosion, water pollution, gas drilling and fracking, and taxpayer-funded crop insurance. As a result of an EWG report on pesticides in baby food, many companies adopted new testing regimes and the market shifted significantly. That study and others that followed helped led to the passage of the landmark federal Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, which required the federal Environmental Protection Agency to take steps to minimize risks to children from food-borne pesticides
“People have the right to know the facts about what they are eating, drinking and lathering on their skin, and where their tax dollars are going,” said Cook. “Consumers are always hungry for solid, fact-based information that help them make better decisions --- and EWG has always been there for them.”
With a community of more than 1.3 million supporters and with web properties that attract more than 15 million visits a year, EWG is uniquely positioned as the online stop for “news-you-can-use.” It has built a consumer army ready to take action to affect government and corporate decision-making.
“With millions of people behind us, we are poised to have a resounding impact in 2013 on the national conversation about the environment, human health, and quality of our food and water,” said Heather White, executive director of EWG. “We look forward to arming consumers with even more useful information, finding new congressional champions in both political parties, and engaging business and new thought-leaders concerned with public health and the environment.”
“The federal government’s failure to address the concerns of consumers has resulted in contaminated drinking water, polluted air, and an unhealthy food and farm system,” said White. “What’s happening in Washington is wrong, and that’s why watchdog groups like EWG need to keep fighting for better laws that will protect us and ultimately shift the marketplace towards a healthier, greener environment for everyone.”