EWG News and Analysis
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EWG News Roundup (6/30): Tap Water Endangered for 117M, Trump’s Pay-to-Spray and Best Budget Sunscreens
The Trump Environmental Protection Agency has been in the news and on EWG’s radar all week.
On Tuesday, the EPA announced its long-planned repeal of the Clean Water Rule – a common-sense safeguard that could protect the drinking water sources of an estimated 117 million Americans.
“With the rollback of the Clean Water Rule, Scott Pruitt and President Trump are poised to let industry and agriculture treat much of the nation’s drinking water supply like an ashtray, instead of a vital natural resource every single American relies on,” EWG Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Scott Faber said of the agency’s decision.
Also this week, EWG teamed up with the American Academy of Pediatrics, calling on Pruitt’s EPA to reverse course, and follow through with a full-scale ban of the brain-damaging insecticide, chlorpyrifos.
The Associated Press broke an explosive report this week that in early March, Pruitt held a secret meeting in a Houston hotel room with the CEO of Dow Chemical, which makes chlorpyrifos. Less than three weeks later, Pruitt announced his agency no longer intended to follow through on its scheduled ban of chlorpyrifos. In response to this startling news, EWG released a timeline of the cozy relationship between President Trump, his associates and Dow.
Fortunately, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. EWG continued its tradition of giving consumers the best information to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families, releasing a list of the eight best sunscreens that can be purchased at major retailers just in time for the July 4th holiday.
For additional coverage on all of those stories and more – here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.
Endangered Drinking Water
“With the rollback of the Clean Water Rule, Scott Pruitt and President Trump are poised to let industry and agriculture treat much of the nation’s drinking water supply like an ashtray, instead of a vital natural resource every single American relies on,” said Faber. “Americans are paying the price of the administration's near-constant assault on public health and the environment, but it's a free ride for polluters, who face no consequences for contaminating our drinking water."
The NRDC cited a county-by-county analysis by the Environmental Working Group that found 117 million Americans, roughly one in three people, receive their drinking water from small streams and tributaries. Those waterways were the focus of the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which defined the scope of the Clean Water Act.
"All of the products listed get a green, or highest rating, by EWG—which means that they are free of hormone disruptors and irritating or allergenic ingredients. These eight sunscreens have a similarly good safety profile and UV filtering according to our analysis," explains EWG senior analyst Sonya Lunder. "We wanted to provide consumers with a handy list of green-rated and affordable sunscreens they could pick up at a store on their way to the beach or a pool party or BBQ."
As plenty of cautionary tales have taught us, no Summer beauty bag is complete without SPF. And while there are plenty of luxurious (and pricey!) options available online for the planners among us, that doesn't mean procrastinators or spontaneous day-trippers are out of luck. If you walk down any drugstore sunscreen aisle, you'll find dozens of options. Feeling daunted? We reached out to Sonya Lunder, author of the 2017 Environmental Working Group's Guide to Sunscreens, who filled us in on her top low-cost SPFs and what exactly makes them "safe."
If you're in a rush to get your kiddos poolside — or want to stock up for the rest of the Summer with sunscreen picks that won't break the bank — head to your nearest drugstore to pick up one of these six Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommendations.
Each year scientists with the consumer safety group, Environmental Working Group (EWG), analyze the biggest sunscreen brands on the market and determine the best and worst products. Their 2017 report is out, and it claims that a stunning 73 percent of the products tested didn’t work as well as advertised and/or contain “worrisome” ingredients.
While we know sunscreen helps protect against skin cancer, you may be protecting your skin way less than you think by unknowingly choosing the wrong formula. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released their 2017 annual sunscreen guide, rating roughly 1,500 products advertised as sun protection for safety and efficacy. They found a whopping 73 percent of the products didn't work very well, or contained concerning ingredients, including chemicals tied to hormone disruption and skin irritation.
However, according to a 2017 sunscreen report by the Environmental Working Group(EWG), avobenzone only scores a 2 on its “hazard score” scale (of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most harmful), compared with oxybenzone, which gets an 8. The EWG also states that avobenzone provides the “best UVA protection of chemical filters,” with very little skin penetration and no evidence of hormone disruption — a concern for certain sunscreens like oxybenzone, which apparently “acts like estrogen in the body,” according to the EWG.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy group, said in a letter to Pruitt Tuesday that they were “deeply alarmed” by his late-March decision rejecting the scientific recommendation of his own agency allowing chlorpyrifos to remain on the market for agricultural use. Chlorpyrifos, sold under the trade name Lorsban and used on a variety of crops since the 1960s, has been linked to learning disabilities in children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Environmental Working Group voiced their concerns about the pesticide in a letter to Pruitt.
In a letter Tuesday to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with the Environmental Working Group, accused the EPA of ignoring its own findings that chlorpyrifos poses specific risks to children, infants and developing fetuses.
In an open letter to Pruitt on Tuesday, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Environmental Working Group urged Pruitt to change his decision, the Hill reported.
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
A recent analysis of county and satellite data by the EWG found that roughly 160,000 North Carolinians live within a half-mile of a pig or poultry farm; in Duplin, nearly 12,500 people, more than 20 percent of its residents, live within that range. If you extend the radius to three miles, as many as 960,000 North Carolinians fall into that category. That's nearly 10 percent of the state's population.
Gouraud’s Oriental Cream
This skin cream, which advertised itself as a “magic beautifier,” did exactly the opposite. A 1936 book inspired by the “Chamber of Horrors” and written by the FDA's chief education officer, Ruth de Forest Lamb, described the effects, according to Tina Sigurdson for the Environmental Working Group. The woman “developed dark rings around her eyes and neck, followed by bluish black gums and loose teeth.” She was suffering from mercury poisoning caused by the cream–which had been on the market for decades. It contained calomel, a mercury compound.
According to the Environmental Working Group, aluminum — which is used in certain super shiny eye shadows, eye pencils, and deodorants, has a moderately high neurotoxicity rating , even though it's technically approved by the FDA to use. If you're not comfortable with ingredients that have measurable rates of toxicity on your body then it's definitely one to avoid.
If you're going to get your hair colored you could look for an organic salon that uses all-natural, non-toxic products. Another option is to dye your hair at home. The Environmental Working Group has even listed the least-toxic dyes on the market today.
Hair dyes, in particular, contain many chemicals (over 5,000 different ones are currently in use, according to the National Cancer Institute), so it's worth checking out the ingredients in any dye or relaxing products you use at home, using a reputable resource like the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database or Cosmeticsinfo.org.
A study released this month by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Northeastern University in Boston showed PFCs are found in “drinking water for 15 million Americans in 27 states,” TIME reported.
"The state's proposed safe level is more than 100 times lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's legal allowance for the average-sized American," Naidenko said. "By itself, that listing would be a big blow to Monsanto, because it would require cancer warning labels on containers of Roundup and on foods that have high residues of glyphosate. Monsanto is appealing the decision in state court, but in the meantime the OEHHA has moved forward in setting a so-called No Significant Risk Level of the amount of glyphosate people could safely consume each day."
Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs for the nonprofit Environmental Working Group in California, said Roundup is used in homes, on roadsides and on farms just about everywhere. "Glyphosate is so commonly used, it's showing up in women's breast milk and all over the world in animals," he said. "So, it's high time people be warned about this chemical, and this is a good step towards letting people know, 'Proceed with caution when you're using Roundup.' "
While the standard is a step in the right direction, it can be improved, said Olga Naidenko, a senior science advisor for the Environmental Working Group.
The Washington, D.C.-based organization released a report applauding California for setting stricter standards on the herbicide. But Naidenko said there was more to be done.
Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in ProduceTM
What is in our food that should not be there? It is extremely important to know what ingredients are present in the food products that we are led to believe can be called food. Learning how and why the food we eat impacts our health and well-being is the second step towards living and enjoying a healthy life. Recently, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) issued its “Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors”.
Every year, the Environmental Working Group releases its list of the 12 fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue. According to the organization’s website, the USDA found a total of 178 different pesticides on thousands of produce samples, which remain even after the foods have been washed. While spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, it’s also the dirtiest, ranking number two (coming in just after strawberries) on this year’s list. According to the EWG, Spinach samples had double the pesticide residue by weight than any other type of produce.
The Environmental Defense Fund is a New York nonprofit founded 50 years ago. Not to be confused with the Environmental Working Group, which each year publishes a "Dirty Dozen" list of foods most likely to contain pesticide residue, the Environmental Defense Fund advocates for solutions to climate change, overfishing and pollution, among other causes.
And just last week, the Environmental Working Group released a statement urging governments to limit the use of triclosan even further.