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Environmental Working Group | 2010 Annual Report | www.EWG.org

EWG Action Fund

EWG and EWG Action Fund, the sister organization of EWG, work to engage our supporters. We're proud that our supporters not only stand in our corner, they take action.

Strength in numbers
Last April, EWG Action Fund collected more than 116,000 signatures on a petition calling on Congress to reform the U.S.'s broken toxic chemicals law. We hand-delivered our petition to Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill.

We collected almost 200,000 petition signatures on national issues, including pesticides, cosmetics legislation, reforming the nation’s broken toxics policy and thanking key legislators and officials for taking action. When it comes to emailing federal elected officials directly, our activists weren’t shy. Nearly 28,000 messages were sent to elected officials regarding toxics reform, BPA in consumer products and children’s nutrition.

We work on state and local issues as well as the federal level.  From California to Maryland, cell phones to BPA, our activists made themselves heard. More than 5,700 people in four states and the District of Columbia contacted their state leaders about spending tax dollars on bottled water. In Maryland, almost 1,0000 people contacted their state senate and governor about BPA.

Californians were some of our most vocal activists.  From cleaners to BPA to San Francisco’s cell phone ordinance, they took action after action.

Cell phones
In 2010, San Francisco became the first city in the nation to enact right-to-know legislation for cell phones.  Under the new ordinance, cell phone retailers will be required to post information about cell phone radiation at the point of sale. EWG worked with the city on the ordinance and was a major proponent of its passage.  Many EWG supporters emailed their representatives, wrote letters and attended hearings to assure the ordinance’s passage.   As the cell phone industry fights this landmark legislation, EWG will continue to work with San Francisco on its groundbreaking steps to educate consumers about how the can reduce their exposure to cell phone radiation.

The toxic, hormone-disrupting compound bisphenol A  does not belong in baby bottles, sippy cups, infant formula containers or baby food jars.  This commonsense idea is what prompted state Senator Fran Pavley to introduce SB 797 in California, and it is what prompted EWG to become an official sponsor of the legislation.  You might think this bill would easily pass, given  the nationwide movement to bar BPA in children’s products.     The unfortunate truth is that the chemical and pharmaceutical industries have great power in the California political system, and they threw their weight into stopping SB 797.

We asked our community of parents to stand with us. After months of testifying at hearings, countless emails, phone calls, lobby visits and a rally on the capitol steps with a towering inflatable baby bottle, SB 797 finally made it through the state Senate and the Assembly. After the bill failed on a final Senate vote, newly elected state Assembly member Betsy Butler took on the cause and introduced a new bill in California. Our hopes were high that in 2011 EWG – and California’s children – would see victory.

Green Chemistry
EWG worked closely with the California Department of Toxics Substances Control to help develop strong, health-protective “Green Chemistry” regulations. But when these regulations were gutted at the last minute, with no input from stakeholders and virtually no notice, EWG California was one of the major organizations to lead asuccessful effort to rescind the altered regulations.  EWG planned to work with the Brown administration to establish green chemistry regulations that would help, not harm,  the fight to get toxic products off the market in California.

Drinking water
EWG California had two major successes in our effort to get clean, health drinking water for all Californians. Thanks in part to years of EWG work in the issue, California published more protective public health goals for both perchlorate and hexavalent chromium.    

In the fall of 2010, EWG met with officials of the California agency responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry to find out what they knew about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”  Their answer: Don’t worry, it’s not really happening here.

EWG decided to rely on the facts. And the facts made us worry.
Over the coming months, EWG researchers dug up dozens of industry documents showing that hydraulic fracturing has been going on for decades in California and is widespread    EWG brought the issue to the attention of state Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski and worked with his staff to develop AB 591. This landmark legislation would, for the first time, require California regulators to track – and disclose to the public – where fracking is occurring, the name, volume and concentration of the chemicals that are being injected, as well as the volume and source of the water being used.


"Environmental Working Group -- Building Online Community: Holiday gift guides, bottled water scorecard, cosmetics database, sunscreen database, pesticides shopping list, a chance to help pick the design for their tote bag – these guys are doing everything right by making that emotional and valuable connection with their audience. In the last four years, EWG has grown their email list from 6,000 people to over 1 million. As more and more people became concerned over issues of public health and the environment, EWG responded by giving their audience what they were asking for."

Sarah Freedman, Groundwire, March 21, 2011.


Mission Statement

What is EWG Action Fund?
The mission of the Environmental Working Group Action Fund (EWGAF) is to energize lawmakers and citizens to create a healthier future for our children. EWGAF is a 501(c)(4) organization, founded in 2002 by the Environmental Working Group.

To be a 501(c)(4) organization, a nonprofit must be operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare and can engage in lobbying or political activity.


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EWG Accomplishments

EWG Update

One Million Strong


Power of Information

Just four years ago, our email list comprised 7,000 people. We ended 2010 with an audience of 1 million.

Chromium-6 in Tap Water


Power of Information

Cancer-causing chemical found in 89 percent of cities sampled throughout the United States.

EWG's Shopper's Guide


Pesticides in Produce

The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.

Bay out of Balance


Phosphorus Pollution

Year after year, vast amounts of pollutants pour into Chesapeake Bay, fouling the largest estuary in the U.S.

Drilling Around the Law


Fracking and Water Contamination

Companies that drill for natural gas and oil are skirting federal law and injecting toxics into thousands of wells.

Sunscreen Safety Guide


Sunscreen and Skin Cancer

The sun's ultraviolet rays cause skin cancer. Protect yourself and your family with our sun safety tips.

EWG on YouTube


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EWG on Twitter


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