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EWG News Roundup (5/4): Farm Bill Fails Americans, Hawaii May Ban 2 Sunscreen Chemicals and More

In the News
Friday, May 4, 2018

As the farm bill debate ramps up, the next major hurdle is a full vote before the House, which we’re anticipating this month. But in its current form, the deeply partisan House bill fails farmers and families. This week EWG counted six reasons why the current House farm bill is a flop.

On Tuesday, the Hawaii state legislature passed a bill that would ban sunscreen products that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. These chemicals are found in many popular sunscreens sold in the U.S., and are linked to hormone disruption in people and the bleaching of coral reefs and coral death.

More scandals rocked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt this week, including resignations of four key aides. We also learned that prior to his confirmation as agency head, Pruitt wanted to establish a new EPA office – complete with another private phone booth – in his home state of Oklahoma.

“It appears that even before he was confirmed, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had dreams of dismantling programs to protect air, water and kids from pollution from the comforts of an office in his hometown,” said EWG President Ken Cook of Pruitt’s request for an Oklahoma office. “What better place to have a secure phone booth to receive instructions from the energy lobby, and avoid the pesky expertise of agency scientists and lawyers?”

We also took a look at a recent study that found that clean air regulations not only benefit human health, but also aid in building a healthy, diverse economy. Speaking of clean air, we applauded communities and businesses nationwide that are reaping the benefit of renewable energy sources, even as the Trump administration thumbs the scale for coal and other dirty fossil fuels.

Hawaii May Ban Oxybenzone

USA Today: Most sunscreens may soon be banned in Hawaii, because coral reefs are dying

The only way to know if a sunscreen doesn't contain oxybenzone and octinoxate is to check the label. The non-profit Environmental Working Group, which ranks sunscreen brands based on effectiveness and chemical composition, reports zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens are usually most environmentally friendly. There are also some organic options. 

The Huffington Post: What You Should Know About Sunscreen Chemicals Oxybenzone And Octinoxate

But chemical sunscreens could have other harmful effects. “We’ve been raising the concerns about the use of oxybenzone in sunscreens for probably at least 10 years,” David Andrews, senior scientist with the advocacy organization Environmental Working Group, told HuffPost, noting that EWG recommends consumers avoid it whenever possible. 

New York Magazine: The Cut: Hawaii Wants to Ban Some Sunscreens for a Good Reason

The primary culprits are octinoxate and oxybenzone, which are in almost 65 percent of non-mineral sunscreens, according to the Environmental Working Group. The two ingredients are said to “cause genetic damage to coral and other marine organisms,” and when nearly 14,000 tons of sunscreen makes its way into the ocean and coral reefs, it adds up.

Refinery29: Hawaii Makes History & Officially Bans The Sale Of Chemical Sunscreen

Need more sunscreen options? Hop on over to The Environmental Working Group for a longer list of other coral-safe options. Reprinted by MSN and Yahoo! News.

Teen Vogue: Hawaii State Legislature Passes Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients Bill

Although the Environmental Working Group says most sunscreens on the market are chemical formulas, there's no shortage of alternatives to oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Cosmetics Reform Briefing with Kourtney Kardashian

Daily Mail: Kylie Jenner, 20, and Kourtney Kardashian, 39, are twinning in racy new selfie

Kourtney Kardashian Goes To Washington: Earlier this week, Kourtney was in her nation's capital speaking at an Environmental Working Group briefing on cosmetics reform. Reprinted in Express Digest.

POPSUGAR Australia: Kourtney Kardashian Just Got Very Political About Cosmetics Regulation
Kourtney Kardashian is having a very busy day. On April 24 — the launch date for her makeup collaboration with sister Kylie — the 39 year old headed to Washington DC to attend a cosmetics briefing with Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook, who is championing for updated cosmetics legislation. 

HAPPI: 'Kardashian Effect' Helps Spread EWG's Position on Cosmetic Safety

If you want to get some press coverage, ask a Kardashian join you. According to the Environmental Working Group, coverage of Kourtney Kardashian's trip last week to Capitol Hill to brief reporters and congressional staffers about EWG’s #BeautyMadeBetter campaign has reached more than 590 million people.

Mind Body Green: Kourtney Kardashian might be the voice we need to change the safety of products in America.

On Tuesday, the oldest (and arguably most wellness-interested) Kardashian sister joined the EWG's Ken Cook to brief reporters about the EWG's #BeautyMadeBetter campaign, which prioritizes reforming cosmetics laws in favor of cleaner, less toxic products. With the mega-celebrity backing the cause, the story quickly reached more than 590 million people, through outlets like Good Morning America, the New York Times, and more. Here's hoping this is the beginning of real change. (EWG)

GMO Labeling

The Washington Post: Mandatory GMO labels are coming to your food

“We think, at the most fundamental level, consumers expect the mandatory GM labeling standard to apply to all GM foods,” said Colin O’Neil, the legislative director for the Environmental Working Group.

EPA and Scott Pruitt

Think Progress: Pruitt wanted an EPA office in Tulsa so he could work from home

 “It appears that even before he was confirmed, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had dreams of dismantling programs to protect air, water and kids from pollution from the comforts of an office in his hometown,” Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said Wednesday in a statement. “What better place to have a secure phone booth to receive instructions from the energy lobby, and avoid the pesky expertise of agency scientists and lawyers?” Reprinted by Environment Guru.

Body Burden on Pets

Terre Haute Tribune-Star: Paw Prints: Study reveals 48 chemical pollutants found in pets 

A nonprofit research organization in Washington, D.C., the Environmental Working Group, took samples from healthy cats and dogs at a clinic in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Cats and dogs were found to be contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested. 

Cleaning Products

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: Raising stink about fragrances
Environmental Working Group guides: The EWG provides easy-to-use online databases where you can search for what it deems healthy cleaners and healthy personal-care products. You can then check those products' ingredients, if provided, to see whether “fragrance” or “perfume” is listed.

Money Life: Air Wick Essential Oils: What goes into these fragrances? We may never know.

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit that examines ingredients in consumer goods, has referred to the ingredient fragrance as “a black box for hundreds of chemicals in thousands of everyday products.” This is because fragrance is one of two ingredients on a product label that itself can be comprised of hundreds of natural and synthetic ingredients.


POPSUGAR: Refresh Your Entire Beauty Routine With This 30-Day Detox Challenge

"There is really a lot at stake, especially when you consider that women use 12 products a day on average," says Tina Sigurdson, who supports consumer education on safe cosmetics for the Environmental Working Group. She recommends women stop and think about what we put on our skin, eyes, and mouth in order to avoid harmful ingredients that can disrupt normal hormone or other bodily functions. Your appearance and overall health will be better for it. But it's hard to know where to start.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Reader’s Digest: 8 Products in Your Home Linked to Clogged Arteries, Obesity, and Even Breast Growth in Men

If you come across any products still labelled "antibacterial," avoid them. Consult the Environmental Working Group's consumer database, Skin Deep, to find learn if products you are using contain triclosan or triclocarbon, its chemical cousin. 

Alive: Top 4 Sources of Everyday Toxics

Check the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (ewg.org) to find the best personal care products—those with the least potentially harmful toxic ingredients.

Farm Bill

CATO Institute: Costly Crops: Opportunities to Reform the Farm Bill
Featuring Scott Faber, Vice President of Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group; Daren Bakst, Senior Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy, The Heritage Foundation; and Chris Edwards, Editor, DownsizingGovernment.org, Cato Institute; moderated by Matt Weibel, Director of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.

Farm Subsidies

The Chico Enterprise-Record: Letter – Vote LaMalfa out, end his conflict of interest

As a member of the House Agricultural Committee, LaMalfa oversees farm subsidies. During his tenure, LaMalfa was the largest congressional recipient of money from agricultural subsidies, according to a report released by the Environmental Working Group. This needs to end.

Household Dust

Chemical News: Your house dust is full of chemicals – here’s how to eliminate the threat without resorting to more chemicals

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), items inside your house ‘shed’ chemicals over time. These include shoes, food and chemicals released from cooking, plastics, stain-resistant furniture, electronics, and flooring materials. Also in the list are fragrances, cosmetics, cleaning products and any other household items that have chemicals.

Nonstick Chemicals in Water

Grand Haven Tribune: Good water is good news

A report released last month by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) indicated that Michigan leads the nation in the number of known PFAS contamination sites, with 28 such sites in at least 15 communities. According to the EWG report, some private wells in Michigan have tested as high as 800 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Dallas Culture Map: Tour Dallas' one-stop shopping center with on-the-go influencer duo

A fast-casual restaurant serving farm-fresh, ridiculously healthy brunch, lunch, and dinner. Flower Child is dedicated to serving healthy food for a happy world: all ingredients are locally sourced, proteins are raised naturally without additives, and produce is guided by the wisdom of the Environmental Working Group.

Eat This, Not That!: FDA Emails Reveal ‘Probably Carcinogenic’ Herbicide in Common Grocery Items

To reduce your exposure to pesticides, the Environmental Working Group recommends opting for organic produce whenever possible for their Dirty Dozen foods, which include apples, berries, and spinach. Shoppers who report they “often or always” buy organic produce have significantly fewer organophosphate insecticides (one of which is glyphosate) in their urine samples, according to a 2015 study published in the journal Environment Health Perspectives.

Mercola: EU Agrees on Total Ban on Bee-Harming Pesticides

If you must choose between which products to purchase organic, I recommend prioritizing organic animal foods and then using the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) "Dirty Dozen" list for produce, which are among the most heavily contaminated with pesticides and therefore the most important plant foods to buy organic.

My9NJ.com: Environmental group lists 'dirty' and 'clean' fruits, veggies

If you're trying to eat clean, but are on a budget, and can't pay extra to go organic on everything, CentreSpring MD's Dr. Taz Bhatia says to check out the Environmental Working Group's "2018 Dirty Dozen" list. The non-profit environmental group analyzed the most recent pesticide tests from 2015 and 2016 performed by the US Department of Agriculture to come up with its "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean Fifteen" lists.

EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

TODAY: 14 beauty editor-approved sunscreens to protect sensitive skin

Plus, some sunscreens don't work as well as they should, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group. And, many sunscreens on the market simply don't offer enough protection from the sun.

Prevention: The Best Sunscreens for Kids

Stick to SPF 50 rather than the SPF 60 version. The Environmental Working Group gives the 50 its highest rating, whereas the 60 may not be as effective as the label states, EWG says.

The Fashion Spot: 12 Sunscreens for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin That You’ll Actually Want to Wear Every Day
The formula is also dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested, noncomedogenic and EWG verified. It's a multipurpose product that's suitable for all skin types and protects skin against UVA, UVB and infrared rays and environmental stressors.

Health Sciences Institute: Is your sunscreen doing you more harm than good?

The Environmental Working Group has been analyzing sunscreen products for years now, and it’s developed a rating system so that you can see if your brand contains any dangerous ingredients.

Practical Dermatology: A Closer Look at Sunscreens: Insights, Innovations, and Inaccuracies

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), whose annual sunscreen assessment is due this spring, has been a prominent opponent of certain sunscreen ingredients, especially oxybenzone. According to EWG, “Laboratory studies indicate that some chemical UV filters may mimic hormones.” Detractors argue that chemical sunscreens may even be linked to cancer.

National Tap Water Database

Blogorama: What’s Really in Your Tap Water? 

This has been a major problem for a while, which is why The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a new “Tap Water Database“ that allows people to enter their ZIP code or their local utility’s name, in order to find out what’s in their tap water.

LewRockwell.com: Enter Your Zip Code Here To Find Out What’s Really In Your Tap Water

This has been a major problem for a while, which is why The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a new “Tap Water Database“ that allows people to enter their ZIP code or their local utility’s name, in order to find out what’s in their tap water.

Water Filters

New Kerala: NSF Certifies ZeroWater to Reduce Lead and Other Heavy Metals to Safe Levels

A February 2018 analysis conducted by the Environmental Working Group revealed that tap water in more than 1,000 communities is tainted with lead above the Environmental Protection Agency's action level. Those affected include 1.8 million Americans in 45 states.


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