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EWG News Roundup (5/3): Dirty Duke Energy, Assessing the Combined Risk of Water Contaminants and More

In the News
Friday, May 3, 2019

This week, EWG released a comprehensive look at Duke Energy, America’s largest electric utility, on our new Next Level Energy website. What we uncovered was Duke’s commitment to propping up dirty energy sources while undertaking a multistate legislative push to slow the expansion of renewables.

“At a time when solar, wind and energy storage costs are plummeting, Duke is seeking to slow the transition to renewable sources,” said Grant Smith, EWG’s senior energy policy advisor and co-author of the report. “It wants to retain control of power generation and protect its own power plant investments against competition and cheaper alternatives.”

More groundbreaking research was released earlier in the week. In a paper published in the journal Environmental Health, EWG scientists assessed the combined cancer risk of multiple water contaminants in California and found that the varied contamination could cause more than 15,000 cases of cancer.

Newly released federal data shows that beginning this month, American power generated by renewable energy sources will eclipse power from fossil fuels for the first time in history.

The Trump Environmental Protection Agency sided with Bayer/Monsanto’s claims that the main ingredient in the Roundup pesticide, glyphosate, doesn’t pose a cancer risk. This puts the EPA at odds with the World Health Organization; The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of WHO, found that the chemical is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

And finally, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the House this week that would require the EPA to set a health-protective legal limit in drinking water for the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. Despite the growing PFAS crisis, there is no federally enforceable drinking water standard for the contaminant.

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

Duke Energy Report

Cincinnati Enquirer: Environmentalists: Duke Energy is renewables' 'Public Enemy No. 1'

Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit The Environmental Working Group said in a new report Wednesday that only 2% of Duke's energy comes from solar and hydro sources.

Reprinted by WBOI (Northeast Indiana Public Radio)Lakeshore Public Radio (Northwest Indiana)wfyi (Indianapolis radio)

Democratic Underground: Duke Energy - The Susan Collins Of Utilities - Bleats Green While Generating 2% From Renewables

While the utility’s CEO, Lynn Good, writes in Duke's 2018 Sustainability Report, “Duke Energy has been leading the charge to a cleaner energy future while helping our communities thrive,” a newly published report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) tells a much different story.

Electrek: EGEB: ‘Public Energy Enemy No. 1,’ California hydro concerns, UK’s largest solar carport, and more

A new report from the Environmental Working Group takes a deep dive into America’s largest electric utility, Duke Energy, and concludes that “considering its size, environmental record, puny investments in solar and wind power, and schemes to penalize customers who want to join the renewable energy revolution, Duke is public energy enemy No. 1.”

Index-Journal (Greenwood SC): Duke, environmental group clash over new report

The Environmental Working Group’s probe, titled “Public Energy Enemy No. 1: Why Duke, America’s Largest Electric Utility, Is Also the Worst for the Environment.”

Indiana Public Media: Environmentalists Call Duke Energy 'Public Energy Enemy No. 1'

Duke Energy is holding the country back from making a faster transition to renewable energy. That’s according to a report released Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group.

Sector Publishing Intelligence World News: New Report Shows Duke Energy’s Clean Energy Claims Don’t Match Its Fossil Fuel Investments, Fights Against Rooftop Solar

While the utility’s CEO, Lynn Good, writes in Duke's 2018 Sustainability Report, “Duke Energy has been leading the charge to a cleaner energy future while helping our communities thrive,” a newly published report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) tells a much different story. Reprinted by De-Smog BlogBlogaramaNation of Change

Cumulative Risk Assessment Paper

CNN: Study estimates 15,000 cancer cases could stem from chemicals in California tap water

Researchers from the environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group estimated that the contaminants found in public water systems in California could contribute to about 15,500 cancer cases there over the course of a lifetime. These contaminants include chemicals such as arsenic, hexavalent chromium and radioactive elements such as uranium and radium. The study was published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health. Reprinted at least 70 times.

Business Insider: California’s contaminated drinking water could lead to nearly 15,500 cancer cases over the course of a lifetime. Here’s how worried you should be.

In recent years, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) has taken on the challenge of determining the quality of public drinking water in the US. In 2017, the group’s tap water database identified more than 250 contaminants in water supplies across the country. Reprinted by Business Insider IndiaConnecticut PostStamford Advocate and San Antonio Express-News.

The Daily Beast: California Tap Water Could Give Over 15,000 People Cancer, Says Report

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group [EWG] say chemicals such as arsenic and hexavalent chromium, as well as radioactive elements such as uranium and radium, have been found in their analysis of the state's drinking water. For an article published today in the journal Environmental Health, EWG scientists say carcinogens and other toxic contaminants were detected in more than 2,700 California community water systems.

Daily Mail: California tap water exposes millions to cancer-causing chemicals: Experts predict 15,000 will develop the disease from arsenic, radioactive toxins and more

The new Environmental Working Group (EWG) study estimated the number of cancer cases that might be attributable to drinking water based on the combined categories of contaminants, adding up to far more cancers than previously thought. Reprinted by Express Digest.

The Guardian: Lifetime of drinking California water could raise cancer risk, study finds

Researchers with the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy nonprofit, studied the combined health impacts of contaminants found in 2,737 community water systems throughout California and calculated that prolonged consumption of the contaminated water could cause almost 15,500 new cases of cancer. Reprinted by Yahoo! India and Yahoo! News

USA Today: California tap water linked to thousands of cancer cases, study suggests

The researchers were a team of scientists from the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group. “Drinking water rarely contains only one contaminant, yet regulators currently assess the health hazards of tap water pollutants one by one. This ignores the combined effects of multiple pollutants, which is how people ingest them in the real world,” the group said in a statement.  Reprinted by Cincinnati Enquirer (Ohio), Delaware OnlineDes Moines Register (Iowa), Florida TodayIndianapolis Star (Ind.), Alamogordo Daily News (N.M.), Asbury Park Press (N.J.), Courier-Post (N.J.), Fort Myers News-Press (Fla.), Herald-Mail (Md.), Ithaca Journal (N.Y.), TCPalm (Fla.) and 58 other USA Today affiliate papers. 

ABC7: KABC (Los Angeles, Calif.): Drinking California tap water over lifetime could increase cancer risk, study says

Researchers from the environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group blame contaminants found in public water systems in the state, including arsenic and radioactive elements like uranium. Reprinted by Yahoo! News.

ABC7: KABC (Los Angeles, Calif.): Eyewitness This: Study says tap water could increase cancer risk, high cost of renting in California, Disneyland's new rules

A new study suggests there may be a link between drinking tap water in California and an increased risk of cancer.  The Environmental Working Group looked at contaminants in public water systems. The group based its cancer-risk assessment on water-quality data published by the state of California. The biggest concern: arsenic from groundwater in many of the smaller systems.

ABC7: KGO (Oakland, Calif.): Drinking California tap water for long period of time could increase cancer risk, study says [VIDEO]

“One person in a population of a million will develop cancer in their lifetime,” said Environmental Working Group scientist, Tasha Stoiber. After a yearlong research looking into California water data from 2010 to 2015, Dr. Stoiber, along with her colleagues, found that every day Californians are exposed to contaminants that can cause cancer, one drop at a time.

ABC10: KXTV (Sacramento, Calif.): What’s in your drinking water? More than you think, researchers say

That's because an article published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health said toxins in our drinking water could lead to more than 15,000 additional cases of cancer statewide. But what’s behind that number?

CBS9: KCAL (Los Angeles, Calif.): New Study Links Tap Water Consumption To Cancer Diagnoses

A study released Tuesday claimed there is a link between consuming tap water over your lifetime and different kinds of cancer. The study, published by the Environmental Working Group, studied test results in 2,700 community water systems in California.

FOX2: KTVU (Oakland, Calif.): Study: A lifetime supply of California tap water could increase cancer risk [VIDEO]

The study, released by the Environmental Working Group, found that a mix of pollutants in California drinking water could cause an estimated 15,500 additional cases of cancer over the course of a lifetime. Researchers looked at health based limits, based on a one in one million risk of developing cancer over the course of 70 years.

FOX11: FOX LA (Los Angeles, Calif.): Study: Drinking California tap water over lifetime could increase cancer risk

The study, released by the Environmental Working Group, claims the increased risk is due to contaminants found in public water systems in California. The greatest risks found in the water were from arsenic, byproducts of disinfectant chemicals, radioactive elements like uranium, and hexavalent chromium, or chromium-6, the notorious “Erin Brockovich” chemical. Reprinted by FOX2 OaklandFOX5 AtlantaFOX10 PhoenixFOX26 HoustonFOX32 ChicagoFOX35 Orlando, other FOX affiliates and Yahoo! News.

KEYT3 (Ojai, Calif.): New study links drinking California tap water over lifetime to increased cancer risk

Researchers from Environmental Working Group, an environmental organization, found that toxins in the state’s drinking water could contribute to more than 15,000 cancer cases over the course of a lifetime.

KTLA5 (Los Angeles, Calif.): Study Raises Concern Over California Tap Water

A new study finds that drinking tap water in California over the course of a lifetime could increase the risk of cancer. Lynette Romero reports for the KTLA 5 Morning News at 7 on April 30, 2019.

KFI AM (Los Angeles, Calif.): Drinking California Tap Water Could Lead to Higher Cancer Risk, Study Says

A new study on California's tap water may have residents of the Golden State reaching for a brand new Brita filter. According to researchers from the environmental advocacy group, Environmental Working Group, a variety of toxic pollutants found in California's drinking water could in combination cause more than "15,000 excess cases of cancer." Reprinted by FoxSports1290KNX 1070KSTE 650KTOK 1000KTSM 690KQNT 590WBEX 1490WTAM 1000WTVN 610 and 15 other iHeartRadio stations.

KSRO (Sonoma, Calif.): Cancer Causing Particles Found in California Tap Water

California’s drinking water could cause cancer. That’s according to research by the Environmental Working Group. It found particles of arsenic, uranium and radium in tap water from 2011 to 2015.

EPA Glyphosate Ruling

The Guardian: Trump EPA insists Monsanto's Roundup is safe, despite cancer cases

The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and major retailers of organic food have petitioned the EPA to set a lower level for the amount of glyphosate allowed in oats and to prohibit spraying the chemical just before harvest.

American Legal News: EPA Rules Roundup Is Safe Despite Serious Health Concerns

Environmental groups rushed to condemn the decision, with the non-profit Environmental Working Group saying “Today’s decision…like virtually every one…the Trump Administration makes, completely ignores science in favor of polluters like Bayer.”

Courthouse News Service: EPA Says Widely Used Herbicide Does Not Cause Cancer

Environmental Working Group said studies show that glyphosate has the potential to hurt children.

EcoWatch: EPA Says Glyphosate Does Not Cause Cancer. Other Public Health Groups Disagree

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) agreed, pointing to the 2015 conclusion of the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, which ruled it was "probably carcinogenic to humans."

Reprinted by LC Concerned Citizens (Licking County OH)

EPA Drinking Water Standards for PFAS Chemicals

Bucks County Courier Times (PA): Rep. Brendan Boyle introduces bill to force EPA to create PFAS chemical standard

The Environmental Working Group, an environmental nonprofit that has tracked PFAS contamination throughout the country and estimates as many as 110 million Americans have some level of the chemicals in their drinking water, also applauded the bill.

Reprinted by The Intelligencer (Doylestown PA)

Chemical & Engineering News: US EPA recommends cleanup level for PFOS and PFOA in groundwater

David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, says because recommendations aren’t legally binding, there’s no guarantee that those liable for pollution, notably industry or the military, will abide by them.

Common Dreams: Pentagon Pushed for Weakened Regulations on Toxic Chemicals, Endangering Drinking Water of Millions of Americans

The new guidelines call for longer-term clean-up efforts when drinking water has been contaminated with at least 70 parts per trillion of PFAS—a threshold that scientists and federal regulators have acknowledged is "far too high to protect public health," according to Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Nation of Change: EPA weakens guidelines for clean-up of toxic groundwater pollution by military contaminating millions of Americans’ drinking water

But both scientists and federal regulators agree that this threshold is “far too high to protect public health,” Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported.

Ksn (Wichita KS): Lawmakers: EPA's PFAS guidelines not strict enough

"We're very concerned that the EPA isn't moving as quickly as they can," Melanie Benesh of the Environmental Working Group said. "The level that the EPA has proposed isn't adequate to protect public health. … It means people are going to continue to be exposed.

Reprinted by KRON4 (Bay Area CA)13 News (Charleston WV)KRQE (Albuquerque NM)WISHTV8 (D.C)Siouxland Proud (Sioux City IA); ABC affiliates


Bangor Daily News: Janet Mills’ first veto aims to stop a Republican’s effort to limit ethanol in gasoline

In 2009, the Environmental Working Group found that higher-ethanol blends could increase health risks from emissions and damage emission control systems.

Harmful Algal Blooms

WYPR (Eastern MD): Reality Check on Trump Administration Claim: “We Have Clean Air and Water"

Over-application of manure and farm fertilizer is feeding more toxic algal blooms in waterways nationally – with three reports of toxic blooms in 2010, and 256 in 2018, according to research by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Iowa Wells Report

AgriNews: Iowa water quality getting worse, underfunded

A joint report released by the Environmental Working Group and the Iowa Environmental Council analyzed state records from 2002 to 2017.

Blog For Iowa: Sunday Funday: A Stroll Down Memory Lane Edition

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report Wednesday that what water sources in Iowa are contaminated with agricultural chemicals?

Circle of Blue: What’s Up With Water – Nitrates in Private Wells    

Environmental Working Group and Iowa Environmental Council, the research and advocacy groups that looked at the state data, recommend more well testing in order to better understand the scope of the state’s nitrate problem.

Harvest Public Media: Climate Change Is Hurting Forests’ Ability To Filter Agricultural Nitrate Pollution

The Environmental Working Group, a nonpartisan advocacy organization, actively monitors nitrate levels in drinking water.

Reprinted by kunc NPR(northern Colorado, Radio)wvik NPR(Rock Island IL)kmuw NPR(Wichita KS)Iowa Public RadioSt. Louis Public Radio

Independent Media Institute (Newsletter): Trump Seeks to Bypass Courts and Fast-Track Keystone XL | Take Action Tuesday @EarthFoodLife

Study finds thousands of Iowans are drinking contaminated well water (Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)


“thousands of iowans are drinking contaminated water--that's according to a new study by the environmental working group and the iowa environmental council. contaminated well water”

Iowa Public Radio: Researchers Find Disease-Causing Parasite, Bacteria In Northeast Iowa Waters

This strain is different than the “indicator bacteria” that public water systems typically test for, and which was detected in thousands of private wells in a recent survey by the Environmental Working Group.

KICD (Spencer IA): IEC and EWG says Many of Iowa’s Private Wells are Contaminated.

The Iowa Environmental Council and the Environmental working group has released a report saying thousands of private wells are contaminated with unsafe levels of two agricultural contaminants.

KROS (Clinton IA): Iowa Environmental Council report finds issues with private wells (link to interactive map included to view local information)

See the full report from the Environmental Working Group and the Iowa Environmental Council here. (includes interactive map to study various locations and results)

Michelle Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose Launch

Les Facons: Henry Rose Debut France Line by Michelle Peiffer

The collection is reportedly the first fragrance line to be certified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) — it was developed in partnership with Ken Cook, the organization’s president and cofounder — as well as being Cradle to Cradle certified, and featuring bottles made using recycled materials.

Sustainable Brands: Good Scents: An Inside Look at Cradle to Cradle’s New Certified Fragrances

This collaboration between Cradle to Cradle, the Environmental Working Group and IFF (**International Flavors and Fragrances**) is unprecedented.

Baby Products

Today’s Parent: 10 organic baby products we love

The oil is NICU-safe and every ingredient is top-ranked by Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Bug Repellents

Business Insider: The best bug sprays and repellents you can buy

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) does not recommend using any bug spray on children under six months of age, but suggest treating clothes with permethrin.

Cleaning Products

Domino: Goodbye, Windex: There’s a New $2 Chic (Nontoxic!) Cleaner in Town

I’ve tried them all: The Goop-approved one that has pretty packaging but leaves a hazy film on my mirror, the Environmental Working Group–approved one that smells like straight-up vinegar and doesn’t clean very well.

Slate: The Best Natural Cleaning Products, According to Experts

The Environmental Working Group, a consumer source for green product testing results and rankings, gave this baby-bottle wash and gentle dishwashing liquid an A for its natural and nontoxic ingredients.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Atlanta Journal Constitution: What’s in your makeup? Atlanta-based brand keeps it clean

American women use an average of 12 personal care products each day that contain 168 different chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.

Better Nutrition: All Natural Makeup

The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) rates controversial makeup ingredients based on scientific studies, and also lists products that contain them.

Texarkana Gazette: Face these facts about makeup ingredients

According to an Environmental Working Group report, the U.S. trails 40 other countries in its review of the safety of cosmetic ingredients.

The Walrus: Your Cosmetics May Be Killing You

“Though there have been some victories at the state level (such as the California Safe Cosmetics Act that led to the prosecution of Brazilian Blowout), in the estimation of Ken Cook from the Environmental Working Group, which specializes in research and advocacy around toxic chemicals, prospects of significant further statutory gains in the United States are “very grim, unfortunately.”


Daily Candid News: A Miracle Eye Serum? Look 10 Years Younger In 90 Seconds

Our skin care line is EWG VERIFIED as free of unacceptable ingredients including parabens, formaldehydes, artificial colors, lead acetate, BHAs, chloroforms, mercury compounds, phthalates, microbeads, synthetic fragrances and more.


Approved by the Environment Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, PICKYSKIN Perfect Clear Solution Cleansing Pad, Peel Pads, Facial Wipes Removes Makeup, Exfoliates, and Tones, 84 Ct has amassed reviews from users particularly for the unique combination of affordability and quality.

Reprinted by Times Record (Valley City ND)The Evening Leader (St. Marys OH)Wapakoneta Daily News (OH)

Food Scores

GreenMatters: Is There Plastic Hiding in Your Tea Bags? Plus, Zero-Waste Tea Options

Some tea companies use polypropylene to keep tea bags from falling apart. It’s a sealing plastic the Environmental Working Group has classified as “expected to be toxic or harmful” for organ system toxicity and “limited or incomplete evidence of cancer” due to data gaps.

Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health

Market Watch: Fly-larvae sausages and locust ice cream could become the next kale

Meat is the worst food product for producing greenhouse gases due to their production, packaging, transportation and consumption, data from the Environmental Working Group concluded. Reprinted by Morning StarEasy Branches World News

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The Berkeley Daily Planet (CA): How Organic is Organic Food?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), which studied this issue, released its grim findings on contaminated fruits and vegetables.

EcoParent: 6 Practices for a Safe and Healthy Detox

If organic food isn’t easily available or accessible, avoid foods that are heavily sprayed with chemicals. Check out EWG's 2019 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce for more information!

GreenPeace: Monsanto:Busted

A 2019 study by the US Environmental Working Group (EWG) found pesticide residues in 70% of the fruits and vegetables sold in the US — even after washing.

Mind Body Green: The Cheapest Cuts Of Meat To Buy Organic & How To Make Them Taste Great

And it's often pretty achievable with veggies—which don't tend to be too much more expensive than their conventional counterparts (plus, you can prioritize what veggies are most important to buy organic by consulting the EWG's Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen list).

EWG's Guide to Sunscreens

Byrdie: This Sunscreen Just Got a Perfect Score for the Fifth Year in a Row

CR did not take this into account when judging sunscreens, and it should be pointed out that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) considers the ingredients in certain chemical sunscreens to be potentially harmful…

Good Housekeeping: The 5 Best Toddler Swim Safety Tips, According to Swim Experts

Mineral sunscreens work the best on kids, but you'll want to check to make sure that they don't have any ingredients that are frowned upon by the FDA or the Environmental Working Group.

Reprinted by AT&TMedical Health News

Today (NBC): Is sunscreen safe? What to know about ingredients, impact on vitamin D

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit watchdog that’s been warning about sunscreen chemicals, called the FDA’s proposals “a big step toward cleaning up a largely unregulated industry.” Reprinted by MSN

Tap Water Database 

Environmental Health News: Pesticides are all over the St. Lawrence River — many at levels that hurt fish and invertebrates

In the U.S., atrazine, another widely used herbicide most often found in Midwest water, contaminates an estimated 7.6 million Americans' tap water, according to a 2017 report from the environmental nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

Mind Body Green: Is Your Tap Water Safe? Here’s How & Why To Test It

If you get your water from a municipal supply (aka, not a well), you can head over to the EWG's Tap Water Database to find the most recent data on what's in your tap water, compared to state and national averages

Stillwater News Press (OK): City urges caution following water quality claims intended to sell filters

The man on the other end of the phone directed McNickle to ewg.org, a site for nonprofit Environmental Working Group, to find levels of chemicals outside of health regulations.

Reprinted by Enid News & Eagle (Northwest OK)Muskogee Phoenix (Muskogee OK)

This Organic Girl: My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

You can see EXACTLY what’s in your city water by searching the EWG’s Tap Water Database. Pop in your zip code and it will return a list of contaminants found in your municipal tap.

PFAS in Drinking Water

The Cap Times (Madison WI): Tom Boswell: F-35s at Truax raise new pollution concerns

The Environmental Working Group recently reported that there were at least 192 PFAS water pollution sites in 39 states.

Progressive Farmer: 'Forever Chemicals' Ruin Dairies

"There's no official drinking water limit right now," said David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group. "If there was, PFAS would be considered hazardous substances and they would have to set clean-up remediation" under laws such as the Superfund law.” Reprinted by Ohio’s Country Journal


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