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EWG News Roundup (4/5): EPA Chief Dodges Questions, Big Pork Will Make Its Own Food Safety Inspections, Why Trump Hates Wind and More

In the News
Friday, April 5, 2019

Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler made the rounds of Capitol Hill this week, displaying twice his questionable commitment to protecting Americans’ public health.

One day he urged a House committee to support President Trump’s calls to gut his own agency’s budget by almost one-third, saying the president’s plan “returns the agency to its core mission.” The next day, before a Senate committee, Wheeler skirted questions about the risks associated with asbestos and toxic fluorinated chemicals, or PFAS. He refused to call for a ban on asbestos and wouldn’t give straight answers about the nationwide PFAS contamination crisis.

Over at the Department of Agriculture, the news was no more encouraging. First, USDA announced that it was seeking to cut 750,000 struggling  Americans’ food assistance. Then The Washington Post reported that it will soon hand over food safety inspection duties of industrial hog-operations to the pork industry itself.

“Turning food safety inspections over to hog farmers is one of the dumbest and most dangerous decisions the Trump administration has made – and that’s a long list,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Millions of Americans already fall sick each year from contaminated food even with government safety inspectors on the job. I shudder to think how many more will get sick or die if hog farm workers, not trained government veterinarians, are the last line of defense against a salmonella outbreak.”  

Some good news: Two Michigan legislators introduced legislation in the House and Senate this week that would ensure health care for veterans exposed to PFAS chemicals. This comes on the heels of a recent report by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility that in the past decade, over 30 PFAS chemicals were produced at significant volumes in the U.S.

On the energy front, a House committee considered legislation that would require the Trump administration to develop plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. EWG laid out two measures that could be taken to achieve this goal. We also reacted to President Trump’s head-scratching comments about wind energy, by breaking down why the President and the fossil fuel industry opposes this renewable source.

Finally, as weather begins to warm up, we took a look back at the growing scourge of winter algae outbreaks that have been popping up more and more in recent years.

Here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.

Cleaning Products

The New York Times: How to Minimize Exposures to Hormone Disrupters

Dr. Arora also pointed to the importance of keeping household cleaning products which can contain “really nasty chemicals” away from children, and choosing products that contain fewer chemicals (the Environmental Working Group guide to healthy cleaning products can help).

Lifestyle After 50:  Earth Day 2019 –10 ways to show your love for the planet

Research cleaning products by going to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) site at ewg.org.

Thrive Global: Why Aren’t Millennials ‘Killing’ Cleaning Products, Too?

In 2012, the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC, published a Cleaners Hall of Shame to reveal many of these hidden hazards, including some you won’t recognize or can’t pronounce. Reading it is enough to make your skin crawl. 

Consumer Guides

HGTV: Find Healthy Products With These 8 Apps

Food Scores: An app from clean-living non-profit Environmental Working Group. Dirty Dozen. This Environmental Working Group app offers a cheat sheet, listing which 12 conventionally grown fruits and veggies contain the most pesticides (steer clear!), and which 15 contain the least (save a few bucks and skip the organic produce without sacrificing your health).

Kourtney Kardashian and Cosmetics

Vogue: Kourtney Kardashian Explains Poosh, and Her Personal Approach to Clean Beauty

“I would think that by this point, we wouldn’t have to do the work ourselves on the Skin Deep App,” she notes, referencing Environmental Working Group’s popular tool that rates the toxicity of personal care products. “We shouldn’t have to figure out what’s safe to buy and what’s not.” Reprinted by Vogue India and Yahoo! Lifestyle.

Vogue: Kourtney Kardashian’s Guide to Natural-ish Masking and Makeup | Beauty Secrets [VIDEO]

“In living your best life, not every single thing [has to] score perfectly well,” she adds, referencing EWG’s Skin Deep clean beauty scoring system, “but we do our best.” Reprinted by Yahoo! Lifestyle.

People: Kourtney Kardashian Launches Lifestyle Website For The ‘Modern Woman’

“It’s important to use my voice to share everything I’ve learned,” she continued. “I would think that by this point, we wouldn’t have to do the work ourselves on the Skin Deep App,” she noted, referencing the Environmental Working Group’s popular tool that rates the toxicity of personal care products.

Reprinted by The Tattle Times

Beauty Independent: Can Kourtney Kardashian’s New Lifestyle Website Poosh Push Sales Of Indie Beauty Brands?

The former Manuka Doctor spokeswoman has lobbied with the Environmental Working Group for federal cosmetics regulation reform. Kardashian highlights EWG’s Skin Deep beauty ingredient database app on Poosh.

Women’s Wear Daily: Through Poosh, Kourtney Kardashian aims to reach ‘the modern woman’

Last year, Kardashian began working with the Environmental Working Group and went to Washington, D.C., to help the organization brief staffers of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on the Personal Care Products Safety Act. Reprinted by Los Angeles Times

Elite Daily: The Best Beauty Tips From Kourtney Kardashian’s ‘Poosh,’ From DIY Treatments To Clean Ingredients

She's sung the praises of the Skin Deep App, created by Environmental Working Group to assess product toxicity, but believes the matter of determining product safety shouldn't be the responsibility of the consumer: “We shouldn’t have to figure out what’s safe to buy and what’s not," she told Vogue in an exclusive interview, and TBH, she's got a point.

InStyle: Kourtney Kardashian's Long-Awaited Secret Project, Poosh, Is Finally Here

Last year Kardashian teamed with the Environmental Working Group on a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with staffers from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to discuss the Personal Care Products Safety Act, which would update 80-year-old FDA regulations in the beauty industry.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Santa Monica Daily News: Dying for color

A good place to start is the “Hair Color & Bleaching” section of the free online Skin Deep database, launched in 2004 by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) to provide information on the ingredients of common household cleaning and health and beauty products—and to highlight potential hazards and health concerns.

EcoParent: Clean Up Your Skincare Act!

Not sure what to ingredients avoid? Simply check out EWG’s Skin Deep database of skincare additives, where you can either look at health ratings by products or search by ingredient!

The Environmental Magazine: Does Hair Dye Case Cancer?

A good place to start is the “Hair Color & Bleaching” section of the free online Skin Deep database, launched in 2004 by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) to provide information on the ingredients of common household cleaning and health and beauty products


Veg News: 5 Fabulous Vegan Beauty Brands You Can Find at Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart

Have dull, dry, or otherwise thirsty hair that you wished smelled like guava and berries? Check out Attitude’s deeply hydrating Super Leaves Moisture Rich Conditioner. It’s Environmental Working Group-verified, hypoallergenic- and dermatologically-tested, and formulated with jojoba proteins to nourish, repair, moisturize, and protect hair.

Farm Subsidy Database

Common Dreams: Flood of Comments Shows Public ‘Utterly Repulsed’ By Trump Plan to Take Food Stamps From 750,000 People

"The comments make it clear that most Americans not only oppose but are utterly repulsed by this plan to punish the poorest among us by denying them help to feed themselves," Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), said in a statement Tuesday. Reprinted by Nation of Change

Food Safety

Food Dive: Report: Pork safety inspection oversight shifting to processors

"Turning food safety inspections over to hog farmers is one of the dumbest and most dangerous decisions the Trump administration has made — and that's a long list,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said in a release.


Byrdie: This Natural Perfume Earned Me Endless Compliments From My Co-Workers

According to Environmental Working Group, "Companies that manufacture personal care products are required by law to list the ingredients they use, but fragrances and trade-secret formulas are exempt."

Glyphosate Verdict

The New Orleans Advocate: Monsanto's Luling plant in spotlight amid Roundup lawsuits claiming herbicide causes
Critics of Monsanto, including an advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group, said the company has known about the dangers of these chemicals, hiding them from the public and manipulating science to make their product seem less dangerous. “Bayer-Monsanto has known for decades,” Ken Cook, the organization’s president, said after the Hardeman ruling. “I applaud the jury for holding the company accountable.”

Monsanto’s Glyphosate

Western Producer: U.S. bill would ban pre-harvest glyphosate use on oats

The language in the Keep Food Safe from Glyphosate Act is similar to arguments made by the Environmental Working Group, which is well known for its annual Dirty Dozen report — a list of food with high levels of pesticide residues.

Food Business News: Consumers getting picky with plant protein

An Environmental Working Group report that found glyphosate in oat-based breakfast cereal and a lawsuit against Monsanto have drawn attention to glyphosate.

Reprinted by Baking Business

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Miami Herald: The benefits of eating fruits and veggies far outweigh small exposure to pesticides

I wonder why during National Nutrition Month, when we dietitians are encouraging everyone to increase nutritious foods such as vegetables and fruits, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a report intended to scare people away from these foods.

Insider: Kourtney Kardashian’s new website Poosh says drinking organic wine could help you avoid hangovers, but that’s bogus

Consumers may also choose organic wines for other health reasons. Grapes are on the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of produce items that contain higher levels of pesticides than others. 

PRI’s Living on Earth: Beyond the Headlines

This week in beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra joins Host Steve Curwood to discuss how kale is now on the “Dirty Dozen” list of produce with high levels of pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group.


Washington Post: Sugary cereals are back. We tried 7 — from Peeps to Chicken & Waffles

A report on sugar in children’s cereals by the Environmental Working Group noted that a 2012 study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, then a part of Yale University, found that the average sugar content in children’s cereals had decreased from 36 percent to 33 percent from 2009 to 2012. Reprinted by SFGateHouston Chronicle and 21 other media outlets.

EWG's Guide to Sunscreens

Before It’s News: Why Choosing The Right Sunscreen Is Good For Oceans

Many of these did not meet the Environmental Working Group list) also many many contain coral killing ingredients.

Mnn: A user’s guide to smart sunscreen use

Healthy living watchdog Environmental Working Group has paid diligent attention to sunscreens as part of its comprehensive Skin Deep database. 

PFAS in Drinking Water

Mother Nature News: Why we can't run from PFAS chemicals

There are now 118 PFAS chemicals produced in volumes in excess of 25,000 pounds per year, according to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Market Screener: DowDuPont: NJ Orders Five Companies To Clean Up Tainted Drinking Water

Testing required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2013 to 2016 showed that about 16 million Americans were being served water in which PFOA had been detected, according to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group.


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