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EWG News Roundup (5/31): EWG Seeks Details on Trump Cuts to Children’s Health Research, Calif. Lead Bill to Protect Workers Advances, Monsanto Caught Paying Front Group to Defend Weedkiller and More

In the News
Friday, May 31, 2019

On Wednesday, EWG filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking government documents that will shed light on the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to cut funding for a network of research centers that focus on the risks to children of toxic chemicals and industrial pollution.

The EPA’s decision would end a 20-year collaboration between the agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to support the important research of scientists who work for the Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers.

“Research conducted by the Children’s Centers has been absolutely essential for scientists and communities to develop innovative solutions for protecting children’s health from environmental contaminants,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D, senior science advisor for children’s environmental health at EWG. “This latest assault on children’s health is the opposite of what millions of Americans want, which is a safe environment for their kids.”

In California, lawmakers passed a measure to safeguard workers and their families from the toxic effects of lead exposure, following revelations that state officials failed to investigate hundreds of cases of lead-poisoned workers. Assembly Bill 35, which now goes to the State Senate, would ensure that the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health is notified when workers are poisoned by high levels of lead and then initiates a workplace safety investigation.

“Until now, the Department of Public Health has not seen fit to come down hard on businesses that repeatedly stood by while their workers suffered from lead exposure, potentially tracking lead dust home to their families, including children and pregnant women, who are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead,” said Bill Allayaud, director of government affairs for EWG in California.

We also published emails that show that Monsanto paid the American Council on Science and Health, a shady chemical industry front group, to help push back against the mounting scientific evidence that the company’s signature Roundup weedkiller causes cancer. The emails show how Monsanto worked with ACSH to counter the fallout from the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s classification of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide, as “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

On the heels of the 2019 Guide to Sunscreens release, EWG also published helpful tips for parents. Choosing a sunscreen for kids can be confusing, so this guide shows parents what to look for on the product label so they can make the the best choice for their kids.

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

2019 Guide to Sunscreens

Marie Claire: The Everything SPF Guide: What You Need to Know About Sunscreen

Some ingredients aren’t good for marine life. “When they wash off the skin and into water, oxybenzone and octinoxate can cause irreversible harm to the ocean’s natural resources, particularly coral,” says chemist David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Yahoo!, att.net, and msn lifestyle.

Market Watch: This summer, beware of sunscreens that contain these ingredients

In a report released Wednesday, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group analyzed the chemicals and effectiveness of more than 1,300 sunscreens and found that over 60% of them would not pass safety rules proposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

New York Post: Why switching from chemical to mineral sunscreens might be your best bet

Last week, the Environmental Working Group released its annual guide to safe sunscreens.

Real Simple: 7 Mineral Sunscreens That Won’t Turn Your Skin White

Lightweight and silky, this clean formula is free of a laundry list of potentially questionable chemicals (so much so that the Environmental Working Group, an organization that keeps tabs on ingredient safety, gave it top honors).

The Star Tribune (Minneapolis MN): Today Should Be Best Day of Holiday Weekend

The Environmental Working Group released its 2019 Guide to Sunscreens today—the 13th annual report of its kind—and it finds that two-thirds of sunscreen products on the market “offer inferior protection or contain worrisome ingredients.

Marin Mommies (Marin County CA): Find the Most Effective Sunscreens with EWG's 2019 Sunscreen Guide

Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group's 13th annual Sunscreen Guide is available to help sort the good sunscreens from those that won't help much or are actually harmful to our health.

WTOP (DC): Why a higher SPF doesn’t mean better sun protection

Nneka Leiba, director of healthy living science at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), said the SPF value only gives an indication of how the product performs against UVB rays — the ultraviolet rays that produce sunburn.

EPA Perchlorate Standard

Treehugger: EPA finally proposes a perchlorate standard, and it's way too high

Olga Naidenko, senior science adviser for children’s environmental health at the Environmental Working Group, was not very happy either…

U.S. News & World Report: EPA Moves to Set Limit for Rocket Fuel Chemical in Water at Rate Scientists Say Is Unsafe

Environmental Working Group, a public health advocacy organization, echoed Olson's comments, noting that children and fetuses can be particularly vulnerable to the chemical.

Michelle Pfeiffer Lobby Day

The Hill: Green groups angered over EPA’s newest regulations for rocket fuel chemical

“The science on perchlorate is very clear: It harms infants and the developing fetus,” said Olga Naidenko, senior science adviser for children’s environmental health at the Environmental Working Group.

The Washington Post: Michelle Pfeiffer lobbies Congress for cosmetics-safety laws

Pfeiffer, who moonlights as a board member for the Environmental Working Group, was urging the passage of legislation sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) to boost oversight of the cosmetics industry.

Michelle Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose Launch

Organic Authority: Henry Rose, The First EWG VERIFIED™ Fragrance

In April, this all changed when the brand Henry Rose made its debut and launched as the first fine fragrance line to obtain the coveted EWG VERIFIED™ mark, established by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Children’s Health Funding Rollbacks

Common Dreams: Group Demands to Know: Who at Trump's EPA Decided to Slash Funds Used to Protect Children From Toxic Poisoning?

Exactly what led President Donald Trump's EPA to stop funding research centers tasked with probing environmental health threats to children? One advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), wants answers.

Congress – PFAS Bills

Dayton Daily News (OH): Bill seeks to speed up EPA approach to Wright-Patt, Dayton contaminant

Walker, vice president of the Environmental Working Group, said PFAS presents “the biggest drinking water contamination crisis in the country right now and certainly for quite some time.”

WTAP (Parkersburg WV): UPDATE: U.S. Senators discuss PFAS standards legislation

A member of the Environmental Working Group Thursday commented on a measure introduced Wednesday by two U.S. senators, including West Virginia Republican Shelley Moore Capito.

Trump Administration – Farm Bailouts

Los Angeles Times: Rich farmers, not mom-and-pop farms, will collect most of Trump’s tariff bailout

Consider one such recipient. He’s Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, whose family farm, run mostly by his son Robin and grandson Patrick, collected $1.6 million in government subsidies in 1995-2017, according to a database compiled by the Environmental Working Group.

Food Additives

The Guardian: Banned bread: why does the US allow additives that Europe says are unsafe?

That same year, the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a list of more than 500 products containing ACA. Today, that number is about 200.

Bottled Water

Martha Stewart: Four Simple Ways to Use Less Plastic This Summer

"Ten popular U.S. bottled water brands contain mixtures of 38 different pollutants, including bacteria and fertilizers, according to tests recently conducted by the Environmental Working Group," she says. 


Reader’s Digest: 10 Green Cleaning Products Professional Housecleaners Trust Most

As reported by the Environmental Working Group, disinfectants that contain ammonium compounds have been linked to asthma and fertility issues; soaps with triclosan can cause allergies to flare up and may affect thyroid function, while cleaners made from ammonia or chlorine bleach are harmful to the environment and air you breathe.

Kitchn: Dryer Sheets Are Bad and You Should Stop Using Them ASAP

We spoke to the Environmental Working Group’s senior research and database analyst Samara Geller and laundry care expert Suzanne Holmes, manager in the product evaluation laboratory at Cotton Incorporated, to understand what dryer sheets are and what they do.

Cosmetics Regulation

Bloomberg Government: Cosmetics Industry Seeks FDA Recall Power Over Tainted Makeup

“Finding asbestos over and over in products containing talc is a game changer because this is a 45-year-old experiment that failed,” said Scott Faber of Environmental Working Group’s (EWG). “We trusted industry to keep asbestos out of these products and they failed.”

Cosmetics – Skin Deep

Buzzfeed: 33 Splurge-Worthy Skincare Products That'll Make Your Skin Look Like $$$$

I found this gem on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website. Do you know how hard it is to find a skin product that is safe from dangerous chemicals, gentle on sensitive skin, and that despite all this, still works effectively?

Fashionista: Changing Careers Helped These Beauty Entrepreneurs Break Through The Industry Noise

"You have to understand where they're sourced from, what does it do, what is the score on the environmental working group's website, what are consumers going to research when they’re looking up a product and ingredient information." Reprinted by Yahoo!

Fashionista: Must Read: Luxury Brands Clash Over Underage Model Ban, Tailoring Is Making A Comeback In Menswear

"Cancer is on the rise, infertility is on the rise, allergies in children are on the rise, and people can't figure out why," says Nneka Leiba, the director of healthy living science at Environmental Working Group, which has been monitoring chemicals in cosmetics for over a decade.

Mother Jones: Scared About City Chemicals? Don’t Be. She Did Every Test in the Book.

I collect what I understand to be my riskiest products throughout my home, according to a database and app maintained by the Environmental Working Group, a health advocacy group.

Consumer Guides

Medium: 15 websites every parent should bookmark

The Environmental Working Group (EWG): The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment.

Farm Subsidies

Billings Gazette (MT): Tester doesn’t deserve farm subsidies

Editor’s note: The Environmental Working Group website data quoted in this letter is the total subsidy received by a farm recipient from 1995 to 2017.


Vice: Are Fancy Candles Bad for Your Health? An Investigation

For example, a 2010 paper authored by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) studied the contents of 17 everyday perfumes and found an average presence of four suspected hormone disruptors, such as Galaloxlide and Tonalide, and an average of 10 chemicals that had been insufficiently assessed for their long term safety.

Glyphosate Lawsuit

North Carolina Health News: $2 billion Roundup verdict may be just the beginning

The average level of glyphosate found in cereal samples was more than twice the level set by scientists at the Environmental Working Group for lifetime cancer risk for children, according to Toxic Free NC.

Meat Eater’s Guide

Market Watch: The Memorial Day barbecue from hell? Fly-larvae hot dogs and locust ice cream

Meat is the worst food product for producing greenhouse gases due to its production, packaging, transportation and consumption, data from the Environmental Working Group concluded.

Monsanto’s Glyphosate

Politico: Second chance for disaster aid today

“Hard to know where one ends and the other begins,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, about the relationship between the pesticide lobby and government.

Poultry Pollution

Foodtank: Sounding the Alarm on North Carolina’s Poultry Industry

A recent study from the Environmental Working Group and the Waterkeeper Alliance sheds light on the size and impacts of the poultry industry.

PFAS Chemicals in 610 Locations in 43 States: MAP

Bridge (MI): Michigan leads nation in PFAS. It will lead cleanups, too, U.S. reps say

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington D.C. nonprofit advocacy group, this month released a report showing that Michigan has 192 PFAS sites, roughly a third of the 610 locations identified nationwide in 43 states.

Detroit Free Press: Researchers seek PFAS solutions as they try to break down the 'forever chemical'

A recent study by the Washington-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group, citing updated federal government data, identified 610 sites in 43 U.S. states or territories known to be contaminated with PFAS, including drinking water systems serving 19 million people.

The Conversation: The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

For example, on May 6 researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University reported that 43 states have sites where water is contaminated with toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS.

2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

The Guardian: Burgers, berries, bread: 10 foods you should consider buying organic

An analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that strawberries were the fresh produce item most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue.

The Guardian: Pesticides explained: the toxic chemicals in up to 70% of produce

Residues are in up to 70% of produce sold in the US, according to the latest annual analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data by the health advocacy group Environmental Working Group. 

Daily Mail: Strawberries, spinach and kale are 'dirtiest' produce on the shelves according to an annual list of the fruits and vegetables most likely to be contaminated by pesticide residue

Strawberries, spinach and kale have topped this year's least of produce that are most likely to be contaminated by pesticide residue, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Reader’s Digest Best Health: 14 Organic Foods Nutritionists Don’t Waste Their Money On

But the nutrition varies greatly between foods and while it's worth it to buy organic for foods on the Environmental Working Group's 'Dirty Dozen' list, there are plenty of foods where conventional is just as good as organic, Kostro Miller says.

Reprinted by MSN

Tap Water – PFAS

Environmental Health News: How spills of toxic firefighting foam containing PFAS escaped into streams, drains near Pittsburgh airport

The problem with PFAS contamination is that the chemicals don't ever break down on their own, according to Dave Andrews, who studies the chemicals for the Environmental Working Group.

Environmental Health News: Report details PFAS contamination near Pittsburgh airport that ‘likely’ extends beyond military base boundaries

The biggest source of exposure to PFAS contamination is typically through drinking water sources, said Dave Andrews, a scientist who studies PFAS for the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

High Country News: See where PFAS pollution has been confirmed in the American West

And, according to recent data from the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University and the Environmental Working Group, the West isn’t doing a great job.



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