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EWG News Roundup (8/31): Trump’s Farm Bail Out, Back-to-School Tips and More

In the News
Friday, August 31, 2018

This week, the Trump administration finally released details about how it will distribute its trade war-induced farm bailout. Beginning in September, nearly $5 billion in taxpayer money will be paid out to farmers, with the bulk of it going to U.S. soybean farm operations. The Administration plans on distributing up to $12 billion when all is said and done.

“Today’s announcement by U.S. Department of Agriculture is a disaster for the small, family farmers hurt the most by Trump’s trade war,” said EWG’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Scott Faber. "By failing to put more reasonable limits on farm bailout payments, Trump’s USDA will provide the lion’s share of the payment to the largest and most successful farmers. Congress should immediately act to place tighter limits on the payments provided through Trump’s scheme and should deny bailout payments to millionaires and city slickers who do not live or work on the farm. Under today’s proposal, thousands of city slickers will receive payments.” 

Many of the details of the bailout are still murky – EWG has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the USDA to gleam more details as to where and to whom these tax dollars are flowing.

The farm bill fight is heating up with its final form fast approaching. EWG has demanded the nation’s lawmakers to take water quality seriously this go around and work towards promoting farm practices that protect it.

Over on our Children’s Health site, we answered a question that has been posed to us ever since we released our groundbreaking analysis of the Roundup chemical in oat-based products: “Should I throw out my Cheerios?” We also provided parents with some helpful tips for when it comes to packing their child a healthy school lunch.

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

Trump’s Agribusiness Bailout

The Fence Post: Hagstrom Report: Summary of Trump trade aid: It’s not enough

Environmental Working Group Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber — "Today's announcement by USDA is a disaster for the small, family farmers hurt the most by Trump's trade war."

High Plains Journal: Congress, farm groups, others, react to Trump farmer bailout plan

The Environmental Working Group’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber, said in a statement, “Today’s announcement by USDA is a disaster for the small, family farmers hurt the most by Trump’s trade war. By failing to put more reasonable limits on farm bailout payments, Trump’s USDA will provide the lion’s share of the payment to the largest and most successful farmers.

Successful Farming: Trump’s Farmer Bailout: Half Now, the Rest Later – Maybe

“Under today’s proposal, thousands of city slickers will receive payments,” said the Environmental Working Group. It said USDA needed tighter rules to prevent big farmers, absentee landlords, and investors living in town from collecting payments. Reprinted by FoodMate.

PFAS Senate Bills

MLive: Bill would give $45M for nationwide PFAS testing

“Neither bill will fully address the PFAS contamination crisis, but in combination, these bills will allow drinking water consumers to know more about what they are getting from the tap and accelerate cleanups near military bases,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.

StateImpact Pennsylvania: Advocates say PFAS bills would tighten federal control over chemicals

Environmental Working Group, which advocates for tighter PFAS curbs, welcomed the bills and said they could help to fill a vacuum in federal leadership on the issue. “These bills are important in defining the scope of the contamination problem,” said David Andrews, Senior Scientist at EWG, in a statement. “PFAS contamination is a national problem that is sorely lacking in federal leadership. What Americans really need is stringent drinking water regulation.”

Washington Examiner: The problem of PFAS

An analysis published in May by the Environmental Working Group found that up to 110 million U.S. residents may be exposed to drinking water contaminated with PFAS, including communities in Michigan, New York, West Virginia, and North Carolina.


Sierra Club: EPA’s Asbestos Policy is Toxic

“This is uncharted territory,” said Environmental Working Group (EWG) legislative attorney Melanie Benesh. “The Obama administration really only had six months to implement the changes to this law, but things were going in a very different direction than they are under this administration. It is certainly a much cozier relationship to the chemical industry than we have seen,” she added. 


EcoWatch: Back-to-School Tips for a Healthy Lunch

Parents have a lot to worry about when sending their kids back to school. Lunch shouldn't be one. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) can help you avoid pesticides, food additives and contaminants in drinking water to make your student's lunch healthier and safer. Reprint of EWG Children’s Health article.

Bug Repellent Guide

GOOP: Toxic Avenger Column: A Guide to Understanding Bug Repellents

Recently, the Environmental Working Group updated its Guide to Bug Repellents to help people choose the right product for each situation. Based on testing data, the EWG’s top choices for repellents include those that contain the active ingredients picaridin, DEET (at a concentration of less than 30 percent), and IR3535 (at a concentration of 20 percent) for protection from a variety of biting insects and ticks.

Earth Island Journal: Bug Off!

“Spending plenty of time outside, whether in your backyard, on the beach or on a family camping trip, is important,” David Andrews, senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. “By taking a few simple steps, you can spend more time enjoying the outdoors and less time worrying about bug bites.”

California Bill to Protect Children from Lead Exposure

Pasadena Now: Local Assemblymember's Legislation to Help Protect Children from Lead Poisoning Heads to Governor's Desk

“Given the well-documented damage that lead inflicts on young children, water served at child care centers should be tested for lead,” said Susan Little, California Government Affairs Senior Advocate for Environmental Working Group. “Very young children easily absorb the lead they ingest, so it makes sense that we do all we can to ensure the water and baby formula kids drink is as safe as possible. We applaud Assemblymember Holden’s effort to protect these kids.”

California Bill to Protect Salon Workers

Righting Injustice: California Bill Aims To Protect Salon Workers From Toxic Exposures

According to Environmental Working Group, Assembly Member Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, introduced the California bill, and it looks positioned to pass. The bill would require professional cosmetics products used in California salons to disclose their ingredients on the label

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Heavy: Best Tea Tree Oil Soap: 10 Bars to Beat Acne & More 2018

If you’re especially concerned about the quality of your skin care products, we’re happy to tell you that most of these tea tree soaps are organic, and hand crafted in small batches, to ensure purity and potency of ingredients. The Environmental Working Group also rates tea tree oil as a low hazard ingredient.

Treehugger: How to identify truly green products

At first glance, shorter is better when buying skincare and food, but specific ingredients matter too. Anything with palm oil (and all its sneaky names), I avoid religiously. Then I consult lists such as Gill Deacon's handy Wallet Card (printable here) for toxins to avoid and the EWG Skin Deep database if I don't recognize a name.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The 2018 Eco Excellence Awards Nominates Baja Baby as a Finalist For Best Kids Healthcare Category

Said the spokesperson of Baja Baby, while talking about the brand’s product line. “All of our ingredients are ethically sourced, clean and green, with many of being ECOCERT certified.” She added. According to the spokesperson, Baja Baby is also EWG VERIFIED™, ranking as the safest skin and haircare products for kids today.

Glyphosate in Oats Report

Reader’s Digest: This Popular Breakfast Food Contains a Chemical Found in Weed Killer

A study from the Environmental Working Group found that some oat-based foods contain glyphosate, a chemical used in weed killers such as Roundup. The findings aren’t something to take lightly—but there are conflicting reports about the chemical.

The Bradenton Times (Bradenton, Fla.):  Editorial – Battling Monsanto: Tipping the Scales of Justice

Recently the Environmental Working Group has released independent laboratory test results that found that Roundup’s weed-killing poison, glyphosate, has been found in 43 of 45 cereals tested, including those we feed our children. There’s seemingly no end in sight for the lengths corporate giants will take to generate revenue.

Mercola: Breakfast With a Dose of Roundup?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) commissioned independent laboratory tests to determine how much glyphosate is lurking in the U.S. food supply. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing foods for glyphosate, and tests reportedly revealed “a fair amount” of residues, their findings have not yet been made public.

The Ring of Fire Network: EPA Asleep At The Wheel As Monsanto’s Cancer-Causing Roundup Found In Foods

Another report came out recently, this time by the Environmental Working Group that showed that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup is present in nearly all oat-based breakfast foods. Meaning if you’ve had a granola bar, if you’ve had a cereal really of almost any kind, especially General Mills seems to be exceptionally bad with it, then you’ve eaten Monsanto’s Roundup poison.

Veterans Today: ‘Appalling politics’ & ‘phony science’ is why Monsanto is still afloat – lawyer suing chemical giant

A recent study by the non-profit Environmental Working Group found that 31 kinds of breakfast cereals popular in the US contain dangerously high levels of glyphosate. The health scare prompted a day care company in Chicago to go as far as to ban Cheerios oatmeal. Reprinted by RT America.

Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Heath

The Post Independent (Glenwood Springs, Colo.): Doctor’s Tip – How what we eat affects the planet

There's no question that eating plants, which are at the bottom of the food chain, has much less of an environmental impact than eating animal products. The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) notes that "production, processing and distribution of meat requires huge outlays of pesticide, fertilizer, fuel, feed and water while releasing greenhouse gases, manure and a range of toxic chemicals into our air and water."

PFOA in Cookware

Earth911: 4 Tips for Planning a Toxin-Free Summer Barbecue

According to the scientists at the Environmental Working Group (EWG): Toxic fumes released from nonstick pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms (called “Teflon Flu” or, as scientists describe it, “Polymer fume fever”).

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Spa Finder: Just in Time for Fall–Apple Recipes, Hints and Tips

However, because apples rank near the top of Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables in the U.S, it is very important to eat organic apples. They also taste better without all those added chemicals with names we can’t pronounce.

EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

StyleCaster: 4 Quick Tips for Taking Your Skin-Care Routine from Summer to Fall

Remember to apply an SPF between your moisturizer and makeup. There are plenty of environmentally safe options approved by the EWG. and on days that you forget, an SPF-infused setting spray or powder provides extra security. Reprinted by Girlstan.

Soundings: Hawaii Becomes First To Ban Coral-Damaging Sunscreens

The Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) had already called on the FDA to do additional research into sunscreen ingredients, in part because of numerous studies that have red-flagged oxybenzone. The group wants to see the federal government act not only for the sake of the world’s coral reefs, but also for the sake of human health.

Dr. Axe: Melasma: Chloasma Causes (+ How to Get Rid of ‘Pregnancy Mask’)

When choosing the best sunscreens for your skin, choose from the recommendations made by the Environmental Working Group, which indicates the sunscreens that contain the least amount of damaging chemicals and the most protection against ultraviolet rays. And remember that no sunscreen product is going to last more than two hours max, so thickly apply the sunscreen coating and reapply every time you are out of the water.

PFAS in Tap Water

Business Insider: Dangerous 'forever chemicals' have been found in US drinking water at alarmingly high rates — here's what to know about PFAS

If you're worried about your own drinking water, you can check the EPA's annual drinking-water report online or look at an independent tap-water database from the Environmental Working Group. You can also use an NSF/ANSI-approved filter at home.  Reprinted by Capitol Zero.

MLive: State knew of PFAS in Flint River before switch, but city may not have been told

“This (level in the Flint River) is above the level we would be concerned about,” said Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that describes its purpose as protecting human health and the environment. 


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