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EWG’s News Roundup (1/19): Toyota Won’t Work with Pruitt, Rodan + Fields Caught Misleading Shoppers and More

In the News
Friday, January 19, 2018

This week, Toyota North America responded to a letter EWG sent back in December, saying the company has no plans to partner with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, despite Pruitt’s claims last month. During his Dec. 7 testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Pruitt claimed that his agency and the car manufacturer were “to begin a lean process at the agency to evaluate management practices.”

“Even the appearance of helping Mr. Pruitt dismantle public health and environmental protections at EPA would be a public relations nightmare for Toyota, and it seems the company agrees,” said EWG President Ken Cook.

EWG also penned letters to the federal Food and Drug Administration and California calling out cosmetics heavyweight Rodan + Fields for misleading customers about ingredient-related health information. Instead of giving customers information on ingredients that have been deemed harmful by California’s Proposition 65 law, the company directs online shoppers to an industry trade group website that downplays potential risks.

CVS announced this week it will eliminate airbrushed images of models used to sell cosmetics from their stores. EWG applauded this decision to provide shoppers with a more realistic and transparent marketplace.

EWG investigated two emerging trends that folks should steer clear of. First, the "raw water movement" that has seen bottled, untreated, unfiltered water reach the marketplace with eye-popping price tags. And the viral "Tide Pod Challenge," in which kids and very immature adults bite down on the small, colorful – and potentially poisonous – packets of liquid laundry detergent until they burst in their mouths. The bottom line is both have the potential to be harmful. This should go without saying: Drink filtered water and only put laundry detergent pods in washing machines.

For coverage on these developments and more, here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.

EPA and Toyota

HuffPost: Toyota Calls Off EPA Partnership Under Pressure From Environmentalists

On Dec. 13, the Environmental Working Group sent a letter to Toyota North America CEO James Lentz, recommending he abandon talks with the EPA or risk damaging the company’s reputation.  “We urge you to immediately and unambiguously announce Toyota’s rejection of any management partnership with EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt,” EWG President Ken Cook wrote in the letter. “To do otherwise risks irreparable harm to Toyota’s brand and reputation in the American marketplace.” Reprinted by Yahoo! News.

The Hill: Toyota says it won't partner with EPA despite Pruitt claim

Christopher Reynolds, Executive Vice President of Corporate Resources at Toyota, wrote in a Jan. 9 letter to the Environmental Working Group that "at this point there are no definitive plans to move forward with a project" with the EPA.

The Hill: Overnight Energy: Head of oil lobbying group to resign | EPA’s Superfund point man won’t testify | Toyota shoots down EPA partnership

Reynolds was responding to a letter the Environmental Working Group sent him in December questioning Toyota's decision to work with EPA under their Toyota Production System Support program.

Radiation in Tap Water

Democratic Underground: U.S. Radioactive Tap Water. Trump Nominee Faked Data to Hide Cancer Risk

Drinking water for more than 170 million Americans contains radioactive elements at levels that may increase the risk of cancer, according to an EWG analysis of 2010 to 2015 test results from public water systems nationwide. 

Express: Radioactive Warning – Half of Americans could be drinking Cancer-Causing water

Environmental Working Group (EWG) experts have discovered water containing radioactive elements, which increase a person’s risk of cancer, as well as abnormalities in foetal growth and a detrimental effect on brain development, in all 50 states.

ABC 12: KTXS (Brady, Texas): State & federal agencies find health violations in Brady's drinking water

The non-profit Environmental Working Group published a report this week finding the city's drinking water on average has nearly twice the Environmental Protection Agency's legal limit of a cancer-causing pollutant called Radium.

ABC 13: WSET (Lynchburg/Roanoke, VA): Local water authorities say your water is safe after report about contaminants

The Environmental working group, a non-profit that says it works to protect human health and the environment, claims several areas around here have contaminated water, including Roanoke, Danville and Lynchburg, some cancer causing.

FOX: KIDY (San Angelo, Texas): Radium found in Concho Valley water

A new study by the Environmental Working Group says you may have unsafe drinking water.

Raw Drinking Water

Inc.com: Raw Water: A Dangerous Fad, Not the Solution

First, test your well and/or learn what has been found in your tap water. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a national "tap water database" that reveals which contaminants are found in every zip code's tap water supply.

EPA’s Superfund Czar

ThinkProgress: Scott Pruitt wants to move full steam ahead on his pro-industry agenda in 2018

In a Wednesday news release, Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said Kelly’s decision not to tell Congress about his and Pruitt’s strategy for cleaning up the nation’s most toxic communities is irresponsible and evasive. “Most, if not all, members of the [House] committee represent districts where there are abandoned toxic waste dumps. They should press Kelly about what he’s done so far and his strategy to clean up these dangerous sites that millions of Americans live near,” Cook said.


Her Campus: Claire's Asbestos Scandal: Why We Need to Splurge on Healthier Cosmetics

And an AMAZING non-profit organization known as the Environmental Working Group (EWG), is out there, and wants to inform us about how to be healthier people in a healthier global environment!

Chemical Body Burden

Daily Mail: From tampons to lipsticks and even tap water: The everyday items that cause mood swings, infertility and cancer - so how many do you use?

They can also check websites such as the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) for their ‘dirty dozen’ and ‘clean fifteen’; lists of the most and least contaminated produce.

BPA in Food

Well+Good: The sneaky thing you handle every day that could be bad for your health

If BPA sounds familiar, that’s likely because it’s found in many commonly-used products. Plastic bottles are its most infamous source, but the Environmental Working group (EWG) disturbingly found BPA lurking in the packing of 16,000 grocery store items, with canned goods being the worst culprit. 

EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning

New York Magazine: The Best Baby-Friendly Cleaning Products, According to Experts

 “This cleaner has a light, fresh smell and is effective at cleaning most things around the house. It has very few ingredients and the ones that are rated the lowest [editor’s note: The lower ranking signifies less toxicity] by the Environmental Working Group. A common toxic chemical in all-purpose cleaners is 2-Butoxyethanol, a solvent that soaks through skin and damages red blood cells, which this doesn’t have.” —Lotus

EcoWatch: ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ Highlights Danger of Colorful Laundry Packets

The Environmental Working Group recommends strong caution with these products, especially if you have kids or someone with dementia at home. If you choose to use them, pay attention to these safety tips. Reprint of EWG News and Analysis article.


ABC2: Household products could be hiding toxic chemicals – "Natural" or "organic" doesn't always mean "safe"

"It has very weak authority to even institute a recall," explained Sonya Lunder from the Environmental Working Group. "Some of these fixes will only come through Congress." The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit that creates product guides to help consumers. They comb through studies and regulations on chemicals used in personal and household items. Reprinted by three outlets.

Skin Deep®

Longevity: Darker Skin Toned Women: Toxic Beauty Regime Revealed

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group found that beauty products marketed at women with darker skin tones have higher levels of toxicity compared to products aimed at women with lighter ones. Thus begins the toxic beauty regiment. Reprinted by MSN.

The Wichita Eagle: Move your mouth to move words into your long-term memory

For a complete list of consumer products (215) that contain triclosan, go to the Environmental Working Group’s website (EWG.org) and look for Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Reprinted by NewsmaxArcaMax and Telegraph Herald.


Business Wire: C'est Moi™ Cosmetics Transforms the Beauty Landscape with Skin Care and Cosmetics Products Specifically for Tweens and Teens

C'est Moi Cosmetics has partnered with the Environmental Working Group to further its commitment to safe ingredient standards and to serve as advocates for cosmetic reform in the United States.

Organic Foods

Madison.com: Organic Valley leads charge for USDA to OK animal welfare standards 

Co-signers to the letter to U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue in an ad in Tuesday’s Washington Post include Amazon.com's Whole Foods Market, Hormel Corp.'s Applegate, Organic Valley, Lactalis Group's Stonyfield, Danone's Horizon Organic, the Organic Trade Association, National Co-Op Grocers, Vital Farms, Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, Maple Hill Creamery, National Farmers Union, Dr. Bronner’s, The Humane Society of the United States, Rodale Institute, Environmental Working Group, Oregon Tilth, Farm Aid, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for Science in the Public Interest, National Family Farm Coalition, Consumer Federation of America, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Organic Coalition, Organic Farming Research Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council and Accredited Certifiers Association, among others. Reprinted by 40 media outlets.

Progressive Grocer: Organic Brands Protest Elimination of Animal Welfare Rule

In addition to Organic Valley, the letter’s signers included retailers Whole Foods Market and National Co+Op Grocers, as well as such well-known brands as Stonyfield Farms, Horizon Organic, Applegate, Vital Farms, Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs, and Maple Hill Creamery. Among the supporting organizations to sign the letter were the Humane Society of the United States, the Organic Trade Association, Environmental Working Group, Oregon Tilth, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for Science in the Public Interest, National Organic Coalition and the Accredited Certifiers Association.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Reader’s Digest: 25 Genius Ways to Get a Healthy Lifestyle on a Budget

Look to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) for their "Dirty Dozen" (pesticide-covered foods you should always buy organic) and "Clean 15" foods (foods that are OK to buy conventional) to help you know when to splurge or save.

Consumer Reports: Veggies that are more healthy cooked than raw

Can't get enough of fresh fruits and veggies? Before you take your next bite, be sure to check out the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list for 2017, which ranks produce most likely to be contaminated with pesticides. EWG analyzed pesticide residue testing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration to come up with the following rankings for these popular fresh produce items.


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