Open navigation

EWG Annual Report

EWG Annual Report

scroll down

We work
for you

Do you know what's in your water? What about your shampoo?
And is it something you should be concerned about?

How about the farms, fracking wells and factories in your local area? Do you know what safeguards they use to protect your water, soil, air and your kids from pollution?

Most likely, you don't know all the answers. And, frankly, we didn't either – until we started to do the research.

Twenty years ago EWG set out to answer these types of questions for you.

Then and now, most people assume that the federal government protects our health and environment from harm. But the fact is, in many cases it doesn't. When our researchers and computer experts start digging into the data, or our government affairs team starts finding loopholes in policy, what we learn often makes us feel unprotected.

One reason for this is that the mechanisms the government has in place to protect public health and the environment – such as the FDA, the USDA and the EPA – simply move too slowly to keep up with the pace of business. Federal regulators have deemed legal a wide range of toxic chemicals and pollutants in the workplace, in consumer products and the environment – at exposure levels that scientific evidence indicates are not safe.

Congress hasn't sent a major federal environmental protection law to the president's desk for signature in 18 years. Many of the public policy tools we have used since the 1970s to effect change and protect consumers have been dulled or broken by decades of corporate influence peddling.

Government health and safety standards set under dozens of environmental laws are routinely distorted and weakened by the heavy investment that industries make in legions of lobbyists who influence the federal system.

Congress hasn't sent a major federal environmental protection law to the president's desk for signature in 18 years. Many of the public policy tools we have used since the 1970s to effect change and protect consumers have been dulled or broken by decades of corporate influence peddling.

So EWG has been giving a major makeover to time-tested strategies for winning this fight: pressure from millions of informed (and ticked off) consumers. Moms. Dads. Anyone concerned about what damage pollution, junk food and toxic consumer products can do to our health. We're betting you're one of them.

EWG works for you and works with you.

Through our reports, online databases, mobile apps and communications campaigns, EWG is educating and empowering consumers to make safer and more informed decisions about the products they buy and the companies they support. In response to this consumer pressure, companies are removing potentially dangerous chemicals and improving their practices.

Our strategy is to move millions of people toward safer buying and behavior patterns so that entire markets move right along with them.

For 20 years, EWG research has documented the potential for health-threatening toxic exposures from cosmetics, sunscreens, water, food, household cleaners and more. That people actually are exposed to toxic chemicals and pollutants from these myriad sources is beyond dispute. EWG and other researchers have documented “pollution in people” of all ages, from toddlers to teens to seniors – in blood, fatty tissue, urine and breast milk.

We've even found hundreds of toxic industrial chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies. The exposure begins before they enter the world.

To a shocking degree, exposure to most of these toxins is entirely legal. Fortunately, most are also largely, and affordably, avoidable through sound design, common sense safeguards and standards and informed consumer choice.

With its investigations into BPA, parabens in cosmetics and pesticides on produce, EWG is turning up the heat – and turning people into activists on our issues.

Each time EWG releases a report or an advocacy campaign, it musters a powerful bullhorn to rally grassroots efforts and mobilize consumers. We get a lot of pushback from polluters, agribusiness, Big Food and the energy industry. The attacks don't phase us, because we have the facts on our side, and we have you--EWG has built a large, vibrant – and growing – following focused exclusively on environmental health. Our online traffic exceeded 20 million visits in 2013 and more than 100 million page views. We doubled our Facebook fans to 260,000 people, gained 30,000 Twitter followers and now 1.3 million email subscribers – an audience eager to read our reports and take action on issues that are important to them.

Here at EWG, we work for you.
We'll never stop.

We Research
for you

EWG's scientists work hard digging into the data and staying on top of the current science to keep you educated. Our researchers work constantly on a host of projects – building and updating the popular Skin Deep, Sunscreen and Cleaners databases; providing you with useful tips for choosing a bug spray or a water filter; tracking crop insurance and farm subsidy payouts to show exactly how your tax dollars are spent; and analyzing the impact of farming on the environment – just to name a few. Every year we release a number of reports and guides to help you make decisions and stay informed – 2013 was no exception.

February EWG launches a new website at EWG hit refresh and revamped our online look. We increased our use of visuals, videos and shareable content and made the website both more user- and mobile-friendly. Over the year, EWG's properties averaged 63,711 visitors and 313,900 page views a day – up 52 percent and 18 percent respectively over 2012.

EWG's water filter guide helps bring you cleaner drinking water. Our report on toxic and carcinogenic chemicals released as byproducts of drinking water chlorination spurred demand for EWG's new online Water Filter Buying Guide, which helps consumers find the best filters for removing these and other contaminants.
April Superbugs in Meat report is a hit with consumers. EWG uncovered little-noticed government testing data showing that antibiotic-resistant bacteria had been found in most supermarket meat. The New York Times, National Public Radio, Dr. Oz and The Doctors covered the findings.

EWG-commissioned study finds excessive crop insurance payouts. EWG published an analysis by Iowa State University economist Bruce Babcock showing that federal crop insurance payouts to drought-stricken farmers exceeded the need by $7 billion. Many Corn Belt farmers ended up with more income than if their crops had come in.
May 7th Annual EWG Sunscreen Guide launches. EWG rated the safety and efficacyof more than 1,400 sunscreens, lotions, lip products and makeups that advertise sun protection. We found that only 25 percent of the products we investigated offered strong and broad UV protection. and covered the report.

Conservation Reserve losses disclosed. An EWG analysis of the federal Conservation Reserve Program found that from 2006 to 2012, 14 million acres that had been protected at a cost to taxpayers of $6.6 billion likely went under the plow again as conservation agreements between landowners and the U.S. Department of Agriculture expired.
June EWG investigates Arkansas tar sands spill. In Poisons in the Pipelines, EWG analyzed the potential toxic pollutants in a tar sands oil spill that threatened thousands of Arkansas homes. Mother Jones and Huffington Post covered our National Press Club event with 20 environmental organizations.
July EWG creates first Guide to Bug Repellents. Published in July, the guide presented 18 months of research on the safest and most effective ways to prevent bug bites and the diseases they can transmit, with detailed, customized advice for 20 different scenarios. USA Today, UPI and Mother Nature Network wrote about the guide.

Going, Going, Gone: Millions of Acres of Wetlands and Fragile Soil Go Under the Plow. EWG’s analysis found that growers, enticed by record-high prices for crops and a cornucopia of federal subsidies, had moved rapidly over the past five years to plant corn, soy and other row crops across vast swaths of previously uncultivated land. The trend devastated critically important habitat for vast numbers of migratory birds and other species and left sensitive areas exposed to the ravages of an increasingly unstable climate.

Washout: Spring Storms Batter Poorly Protected Soil and Streams. This EWG report showed that storms that pushed Midwest streams and rivers out of their banks in spring 2013 also battered largely unprotected cropland soils across the heartland, sending tons of mud and farm chemicals into road ditches and streams.
August Updated Guide to Safer Cell Phone Use. Consumers can use simple safety measures to protect themselves from cell phone radiation. EWG updated its guide with five simple tips to decrease exposure.
September City Slickers report hits pay dirt – again. Featured in The New York Times and Bloomberg, the 2013 edition showed that city-dwellers in New York, Washington and San Francisco were enjoying direct payments under the federal farm subsidy system.
October Pumped Up reveals crop insurance entitlements. EWG’s analysis documented how far federal crop insurance had strayed from being a fiscally and environmentally responsible safety net. Pumped Up: How Supplemental Insurance Could Bulk Up Farm Subsidies, was covered by Politico, Reuters and influential farm belt papers such as The Cedar Rapids Gazette. This work helped EWG put crop insurance reform on center stage in the farm bill debate.

EWG finds 24 million Californians at risk from hexavalent chromium. An EWG analysis showed that California’s proposed limit on hexavalent chromium in drinking water would leave 24 million Californians exposed to potentially dangerous levels of this suspected carcinogen. EWG joined 20+ California groups in urging a stronger standard.

EWG releases the Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptor Guide. EWG and the Keep A Breast Foundation distributed this new guide as a speed-read on the most hazardous and widely used hormone-disrupting chemicals. On release day, the EWG site logged an all-time one-day peak in web traffic, along with more than 15,000 likes on Facebook and stories on the Huffington Post, Yahoo! News, Mother Jones and the Carol Alt Show.
November Skin Deep mobile app launches!
Skin Deep EWG launched its first Skin Deep app for mobile devices following a series of “engagement” parties with prospective users that provided key insights on how to improve the navigation. The app was downloaded more than 100,000 times in 2013.

Forbes billionaires reap millions in farm subsidies. EWG’s analysis matched the September 2013 Forbes 400 with EWG’s Farm Subsidy Database and found that at least 50 billionaires, or farm businesses in which they had a financial interest, benefited from $11.3 million in traditional farm subsidies between 1995 and 2012. The list included Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy and DISH Network co-founder Charles Ergen.

We Advocate
for You

From Capitol Hill to state capitals to the corner offices of corporate headquarters, EWG staff advocate for you every day. We testify in Congress, work with members of Congress, file Freedom of Information Act requests, deliver petitions and hold companies accountable. We fight the tough fights and challenge the status quo, because you have the right to know what you're eating, feeding your family and what chemicals are in the products you use daily.

February California agrees to reduce flame retardant use. Citing EWG tests showing high levels of flame retardants in the bodies of toddlers, California Gov. Jerry Brown proposed ending the widespread use of toxic flame retardants in foam furniture.
March Whole Foods will label GE food. The Whole Foods chain announced that by 2018 it will label any foods sold in its U.S. stores that contain genetically engineered ingredients.
April Clean energy advances. EWG and the Civil Society Institute co-hosted the second clean energy grassroots organizing conference at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Mass.
May Ken Cook EWG unmasks the Chemical Safety Improvement Act as industry bill. EWG demonstrated that the industry-backed Chemical Safety Improvement Act represented a dramatic retreat from the earlier health-protective bill titled the Safe Chemicals Act. EWG's Ken Cook testified against the industry bill before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and EWG's Heather White testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Our analysis was featured in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Hill and The Associated Press.

Farm bill fight transformed. EWG launched its new “Worth Protecting” campaign to turn the farm bill into a food bill.
July Helping to curb corn ethanol production. EWG helped craft bipartisan legislation, now before the House, to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard, reduce the use of corn ethanol and accelerate development of promising second-generation biofuels. EWG’s Scott Faber testified in support of RFS reform before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
August EWG demands that FCC update its cell phone radiation standards. EWG staff met with top FCC officials in July and followed up with a petition with 26,000+ signatures and an EWG-drafted letter from 12 environmental health organizations.
September California’s first-ever fracking regulations become law. EWG’s work in Sacramento made fracking one of the most visible environmental issues in California. After three years of intense movement-building efforts led by EWG, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a comprehensive bill governing fracking and well-stimulation. It requires regulation of fracking and acidization of oil and gas wells for the first time in California history and disclosure of all chemicals used in the drilling process.

Walmart bars toxics in consumer products. Mega-retailer Walmart announced that it would require suppliers to limit or eliminate some potentially toxic chemicals from products on its shelves. Consumer awareness of toxic exposure risks drove this market change.
October Exposing the Cosmetics Cover-Up launches. EWG published an 11-week series advocating cosmetics safety reform. EWG’s online petition to L’Oreal and Revlon garnered 100,000 signatures.
December Renewable Fuel Standard reform gains momentum. EWG led the drive to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard to reduce corn ethanol use and speed development of second-generation biofuels. EWG’s Scott Faber testified for RFS reform before the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

We Empower
You Sign our petitions.
Educate Yourself
Help spread our message to your friends and family.
move the market by demanding and purchasing safer products.
Power our work

Working with you is how we create real change. Thank you for working with us and being part of our community.

EWG is people-powered.


EWG by the numbers

Growth in unique visitors to EWG website

EWG by the numbers

Most Shared

EWG by the numbers

Print Media

EWG by the numbers


EWG by the numbers

Advocacy in Congress

EWG by the numbers

Advocacy for Change

EWG by the numbers

How We Work
Thanks to the generous support and commitment of our supporters – we move markets, change the debate and show ourselves to truly be game-changers.



2013 Revenue

EWG by the numbers

2013 Expenses

EWG by the numbers

2013 Vs. 2012

EWG by the numbers


The People BEHIND

EWG 2014 Board

Ami Aronson
David Baker
Jennifer Caldwell
Ken Cook
Rob Fetherstonhaugh
Melissa Hughes
Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Harvey Karp
Nina Montee Karp
Carol McDonnell, Chair
Robyn O’Brien*
Drummond Pike
William G. Ross, Jr.
Laura Turner Seydel
Francesca Vietor
Heather White*
* EWG Action Board Member

EWG 2014 Staff

Bill Allayaud, director of government affairs, Calif.
Aman Anderson, web designer
Dave Andrews, senior scientist
Jocelyn Babuscio, vice president of development and online engagement
Katherine Baird, executive assistant to Ken Cook
Melanie Benish, Stabile law fellow
Nils Bruzelius, executive editor and vice president for publications
Chris Campbell, vice president for information technology
Emily Cassidy, biofuels research analyst
Dean Clark, web developer
Thomas Cluderay, general counsel
Julia Cohen, senior director of external engagement
Johanna Congleton, senior scientist
Ken Cook, president
Craig Cox, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources
Cailey Doran, email marketing associate
Brett Dorow, human resources
Steven Drace, director of private sector engagement
Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs
Libby Foley, policy analyst
Christina Frenzel, digital media manager
Samara Geller, database analyst
Colleen Hutchings, senior director of online fundraising and engagement
Emily Ion Kosuge, director of strategic partnerships
Mary Ellen Kustin, senior policy analyst
Mike Lavender, policy analyst
Brett Lorenzen, coordinator, Mississippi River Project
Helen Lucey, special assistant to the executive director
Sonya Lunder, senior research analyst
Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research
Scott Mallan, vice president, finance and chief operating officer
Aya Matsumoto, development assistant
Ashley McCormack, manager, partnerships and outreach
Rachel Niemerski, policy associate
Nicole Oliver, foundation coordinator
Katie Peacor, web designer
Sean Perrone-Gray, senior analyst
Paul Pestano, analyst
Jason Rano, director of government affairs
Soren Rundquist, landscape and remote sensing analyst
Sara Sciammacco, vice president of communications
Tina Sigurdson, staff attorney
Elaine Shannon, editor-in-chief and publisher
Renee Sharp, director of research
Kathryn Ulerich, bookkeeper
Heather White, executive director
Ty Yalniz, web designer

Thank You
Thank you