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EWG News Roundup (Nov. 18): Trump, Farms, Food and Drinking Water

Friday, November 18, 2016

It’s been a busy week for EWG as we launched our new watchdog initiative, Planet Trump, where we’ll provide a steady stream of commentary and analysis highlighting the implications President-elect Trump and his administration will have on our air, water, land, food and, of course, human health.

However, while much of the press has focused on the happenings inside Trump Tower, the media continued to cover EWG’s other work.

Here’s some news you can use for this Friday.

Factory Farms:

Christian Science Monitor: Climate risk, loss, and damage in North Carolina

After Hurricane Floyd, the state spent more than $18.7 million to buy-out 42 farms located in flood plains. However, according to the Waterkeeper Alliance and Environmental Working Group, 62 hog CAFOs, 30 poultry CAFOs and 166 open air waste lagoons are still located on flood plains – with many more close to flood plains.

EcoWatch: The True Cost of Industrial Meat Production

This video campaign also expands on the recent landmark report and GIS initiative by Waterkeeper Alliance, North Carolina Riverkeeper organizations and Environmental Working Group that shows the location and waste outputs of more than 6,500 swine, cattle and poultry operations throughout North Carolina.

Drinking Water:

Cape Gazette: No chromium-6 in Lewes water

Chromium-6, the cancer-causing chemical that was the target of Erin Brockovich in the 1990s, has been back in the news recently after a report from the Environmental Working Group found two-thirds of all Americans are drinking water with higher-than-normal levels of the chemical.

Tahlequah Daily Press: TPWA meets federal chromium 6 guidelines for water quality

Despite such victories, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group reported in September that 218 million Americans still have chromium 6 in their tap water. The EWG used the federal government's own testing regimen to back its claim.

True Viral News: Erin Brockovich’s Chromium-6 Is Polluting Your Drinking Water: How To Keep It Safe

The analysis, conducted by the Environmental Working Group, an independent advocacy group, analyzed Environmental Protection Agency data from across the country and found that about 218 million people are living with drinking water that contains chromium-6 at higher levels than public health goals. Tests suggest low risk from chromium in Vermont’s public water

Chromium-6 was found in 11 Vermont public water systems during EPA tests that were compiled recently by an advocacy organization called the Environmental Working Group.

Worcester Telegram: Shrewsbury looks to reduce carcinogen levels in wells

Unexpected levels of hexavalent chromium, known as chromium-6, were detected in two of the town’s nine wells after a recent report from the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit watchdog group.

EWG’s New Landmark Conservation Database: Voluntary Conservation Isn’t Working, EWG Says

The environmental group that made its name by creating a database of farm subsidy recipients in 2002 is at it again, this time with a database of conservation payments. The Environmental Working Group says the nearly $30 billion spent on conservation in the past decade isn’t “leading to clean water, clean air, and a healthy environment.”

The Gazette: Conservation is best nurtured through collaboration

However, sometimes farming innovation can cause a disconnect with folks who remember a very different type of agriculture and farmers need to do a better job explaining not just how they farm today, but why. Unfortunately, recent reports from the Environmental Working Group and other like-minded individuals ignores agricultural advancements that brought measurable improvement to our water quality.

Cosmetics and Skin Deep:

PopSugar: Donald Trump Is No Longer on a Mission to Make America Smell Great Again

There are two likely reasons at play here and the first is particularly disconcerting: Trump products may be toxic. We found that the range has poor scores on Skin Deep, a cosmetics database from the Environmental Working Group that rates beauty brands on the health and safety of ingredients.

Teen Vogue: Donald Trump’s Fragrance Products Discontinued

Stores like Macy’s are no longer associated with his products. Apparently, customer reviews reflect positively on the scents, so their impending disappearance has little to do with sales. Instead, the outlet points to one of two reasons. First, they noted that the products have low scores on EWG database Skin Deep, which could mean that the ingredients are toxic. Alternately, they hypothesized that he could be trying to shift focus from his merch to his campaign.

Refinery29: Kourtney Kardashian Has Gone To Some Serious Lengths For Beauty

And then once you learn information, you can’t really make it go away. I have the EWG Skin Deep app on my phone that rates different products by the levels of what’s bad. Like, I just changed all of my pillows and Q-tips to organic. There's so much stuff that you don’t think about or realize. 

MindBodyGreen: Want To Detox Your Home? Throw Out These Things Right Now

Protect yourself by using the Environmental Working Group's Safe Cosmetics database to search the hazard score of your personal care products and replace them if need be. I've simplified my life by using products made of natural materials like organic olive oil, sesame oil, and pure shea butter. Pure essential oils are lovely too—and fragrant!

The Daily Star: On the Bright Side: Church group makes, sells non-toxic beauty products 

Together they investigated products having ingredients that could be produced using natural or organic ingredients. A particular website they found to be alarming was the Environmental Working Group (, with a database rating nearly 70,000 skin care products.

Food and Farm Policy:

Civil Eats: Will Our Food be Safe Under Trump?

Amidst the general pessimism and overwhelming concern about the fate of environmental protection and food safety regulation under the Trump administration, Environmental Working Group vice president of governmental affairs Scott Faber noted, “It’s important to remember that healthy food, safe food, and clearly labeled food are American values—not Republican or Democratic values.” And he pointed out, “The common sense progress made in recent years on these issues was usually the result of bipartisan legislation.”

Treehugger: Nutrition and animal welfare were winners on Election Day

While much attention has been given to the presidential campaign, other advocates scored important wins that will improve citizens’ nutrition and wellbeing, as well as improved animal welfare. The Environmental Working Group explains why the following victories are cause for celebration. Reprinted by True Viral News and Care2. Story based on Ken’s Blog. 

GMO Labeling:

MoneyLife: Why we must get involved in the genetically modified –GM crop debate

According to the Environmental Working Group, in the first six months of 2015 Big Foods disclosure on lobbying expenditures that includes NO GMO LABELING ran into millions of dollars – including Coca-Cola ($5,040,000), PepsiCo ($3,230,000), Kraft ($1,180,000), Kellogg’s ($1,310,000), General Mills ($1,100,000) and Land O’Lakes ($720,000). One wonders why, if GM is safe, are they so unwilling to label it? And if it is indeed unsafe, why should the public exchequer bear the rising cost of public health?


HAPPI: Organic Matter

Panelists included Scott Faber, vice president for government affairs with the Environmental Working Group, Angela Aiello, associate director of conference and product development at the Organic Trade Association, and Laura MacCleery, vice president for consumer policy and mobilization at Consumer Reports, among other representatives from government agencies and academia.

Chemicals and Pesticides In Our Food:

True Viral News: 9 Foods You Should Never Attempt to Eat

Several studies by scientists in Sweden indicate that PFCs have an adverse effect on your immune system. As described in a report on PFCs by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), PFOA was found to decrease all immune cell subpopulations studied, in the thymus and spleen, and caused immunosupression. 

Before It’s News: Be Cautious With These Fruits and Vegetables; They’re Known to Contain the Most Pesticides

The familiar phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” may no longer hold true. It seems that, along with many other fruits and vegetables, apples are coated with health-damaging pesticides. Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit advocacy agency, releases a list called the Dirty Dozen, of the most contaminated fruits and vegetables.


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