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EWG News Roundup (6/28): Senate Combats PFAS Crisis, EWG Calls Upon CDC To Act on Glyphosate and More

In the News
Friday, June 28, 2019

This week, the Senate passed a defense spending bill that contained vital amendments that will allow the federal government to better monitor, regulate and clean up toxic fluorinated chemicals, also known as PFAS. EWG applauded members of the Senate who brought these important amendments up to vote.

Also happening in the nation's capital, Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) on Wednesday introduced a bill that would set the U.S. on course for 50 percent or more renewable energy by 2035. Sen. Udall’s proposal will follow up on work by individual states that are ramping up their renewables production.

“More than half of the states have already enacted policies to ramp up renewable energy,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Sen. Udall’s proposal will provide the incentives necessary to bring all 50 states into the fold. This will save consumers billions, slash CO2 emissions and address the climate crisis head-on with a national plan to help solve it.”

EWG called upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor the U.S. population for glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller.

At a conference of top cancer researchers on Monday, EWG toxicologist Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., discussed a recent EWG peer-reviewed study that shows drinking water contaminated with nitrate could be responsible for more than 12,500 cases of cancer each year.

In Indiana, Public Energy Enemy No. 1. Duke Energy unveiled a 20-year plan that would continue the company’s heavy reliance on dirty, dangerous and expensive coal-fired power plants and natural gas while allowing it to ignore growing renewable energy sources.

“Clearly, Duke has lost touch with the outside world,” said EWG’s senior energy policy advisor Grant Smith. “It’s as if the company had operated in a vacuum for the past decade, ignoring the explosion in wind and solar investment by many other utilities. Duke’s preferred business plan for the next 20 years merely paves the way for higher costs and more pollution.”

Finally, EWG applauded House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) for demanding new data from the Food and Drug Administration on the safety of imported cosmetics. 

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

Trump Administration

Agenparl: Trump repeals and replaces Obama’s clean power plan to curb coal emissions

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) cites estimates that the new ACE rule will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by just 1.5% by 2030, far less than the Obama proposal’s 30% target

Truth Out: Trump’s Plan to Save Coal Country Will Actually Hurt It

“Sadly, the Trump administration’s futile and cynical attempt to prop up the coal industry — instead of pushing for renewable energy investments in coal country — will hit coal miners and their families the hardest,” said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook, in an email.

Bottled Water

Investopedia: Bottled Water: ‘Marketing Trick of the Century’

A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group in 2008 identified 38 pollutants in 10 brands of bottled water, while 20% of the brands were indistinguishable from tap water.

Bug Sprays

Mind Body Green: How To Protect Yourself (& Your Baby) From Lyme Disease During Pregnancy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against using oil of lemon eucalyptus (also known as PMD, its chemical acronym) on children, so the Environmental Working Group suggests you also avoid it during pregnancy.

United Healthcare: How to Help Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites

However, both the Centers for Disease Control and the Environmental Working Group report DEET is safe for both adults and children — and is considered essential for protection against possible disease-carrying insects.

CAFOs

Common Dreams: The Scary New Math of Factory Farm Waste

The risk is particularly pressing for North Carolina, a state regularly smacked by hurricanes, because it houses more than 2,200 hog CAFOs and 3,900 poultry CAFOs, and produces up to 10 billion gallons of animal waste a year. These estimates come from the Environmental Working Group.

Inside Climate News: Algae Blooms Fed by Farm Flooding Add to Midwest’s Climate Woes

"Large rains are causing a lot more run-off, and with climate change, we're having hotter temperatures," said Anne Schechinger, an analyst for the Environmental Working Group.

Children’s Health

The Voice-Tribune: A Force of Nature

“I stumbled upon research done by the Environmental Working Group that said every baby born in the U.S. has no less than 200 synthetic chemicals in them at birth,” she said.

Cleaning Products

Little Southern Life: Psoriasis 101

Don’t just assume off the bottle label when it comes to finding a non toxic detergent. Check the ingredients for yourself and make sure there are no links to skin irritation. A quick google can answer your questions and I also love to use the website Environmental Working Group.

Mercola: Laundry pods continue to poison people

As you read through the list in this one detergent, it’s important to remember that while the health effects and grading listed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) are for the individual ingredients, these ingredients don’t exist in a vacuum.

Reviewed: 9 benefits of switching to natural cleaning products

If you are looking for a cleaner that’s safe for pets and babies alike, the Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner Concentrate is a good pick: It has thousands of five-star ratings on Amazon and the Environmental Working Group gives it an A rating.

Romper: How to Clean Every Corner Of Your House Safely During Pregnancy, Because Nesting Is No Joke

That's because oven cleaners may contain ingredients such as butoxydiglycol, which may be unsafe in terms of developmental and reproductive effects, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Taste of Home: 9 Green Cleaning Products Professional Housecleaners Trust the 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 beach are harmful to the environment and the air you breathe. Reprinted by MSN

EWG VERIFIED™

Earth911: How to Achieve Safer Shopping Results

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides consumers with educational resources for making safer shopping choices. Their EWG Verified label confirms that a product is free from EWG’s chemicals of concern.Michelle Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose Launch

Fragrantica: Safe Fragrances from Michelle Pfeiffer: Henry Rose and Ingredient Transparency 

"At first, I thought it would be organic and plant-based, but in the first call with the Environmental Working Group (an American non-profit organization - comment from the author), we learned synthetics can in some cases be less allergenic than certain natural ingredients. And so, the learning curve began to steepen..."

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Bustle: The 10 Best Organic Shampoos

This shampoo does boast the brand's Harmonically Made certification, however, which ensures it contains only clean, skin-safe ingredients that rate four or less on the EWG's Skin Deep Database.

Chemical Watch: Congressman seeks data on US FDA inspections of imported cosmetics

Scott Faber of the NGO Environmental Working Group welcomed the lawmaker’s request, citing concerns about contaminants like mercury, lead and asbestos showing up in "an alarming number" of imported products.

Goop: The Summer Detox Guide

If you’re ever unsure of the ingredients in your sunscreen, check the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, which gives safety information on a wide range of products and ingredients.

Carthage Press (MO): EarthTalk: Treating acne all-naturally

The Environmental Working Group’s free online Skin Deep database lists ingredients—and more important, the health and environmental threats—of over 120,000 personal care products, including more than 2,000 different acne treatments now or recently available on store shelves.Reprinted by Arizona Daily Sun (Flagstaff)

Daily Maverick (South Africa): Decoding the science behind skincare ingredients

However, she cautions that this ingredient is still banned in many countries and “is rated a 9/10 on the toxicity scale on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database due to concerns that it is carcinogenic”. Reprinted by MSN

Joyous Health: What’s Really In Your Dry Shampoo?

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the International Fragrance Association Codes & Standards, the safety of Benzyl Benzoate is dependent on the user NOT exceeding the recommended dose or the product does not exceed concentration limits and we already know the haircare and personal care industry is largely unregulated.

The List: Skincare products that aren’t worth the money

SLS is a compound that's often "added to products to create a lather or bubbles [and] remove dirt and oils from skin and hair," Paul Pestano, a senior database analyst at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), explained to Teen Vogue.

Live Love Fruit: Johnson & Johnson Finally Admits: Our Baby Products Contain Cancer-Causing Ingredients

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental research organization, describes the dangers of the ingredients used in Johnson & Johnson products.

The Zoe Report: How Ayond Skincare Is Redefining What Clean Beauty Means

Every ingredient used is evaluated based on Environmental Working Group safety scores and tested by dermatologists.

Farm Subsidies

Mercola: Corl oil – Important caveats to remember

Corn is one of the most heavily subsidized crops in the country, raking in over $111.2 billion from the government between 1995 and 2017, according to data from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Savannah Morning News (GA): Big farms find easy ways around Trump trade aid limits

The numerous ways around the $125,000 caps mean that millions of subsidy dollars flow to “city slickers who are stretching the limits of the law,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, which has long tracked federal farm subsidy programs, and criticizes them as biased toward big producers and promote environmentally damaging farming practices.

Food Scores

Berkeley Wellness: Cereal: How Sweet It Is

According to a new report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG), a lot of cereals are so sweet that if you ate a serving every day for a year, you’d consume more than 10 pounds of sugar.

Glyphosate Round 3 Release

Legal Scoops: New Study Finds That Popular Kids Cereals Contain Glyphosate

The analysis was commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and is the third round of testing it has undertaken.

Nation of Change: Food companies are still selling products contaminated by Monsanto weedkiller

New samples tested by the Environmental Working Group revealed that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto’s popular herbicide, is still present in children’s cereal and snack products.

One Green Planet: The Health and Environmental Effects of the Controversial Herbicide, Roundup

The Environmental Working Group recently discovered that 21 oat-based cereal and snack products, including popular breakfast cereal Cheerios, contained trace amounts of glyphosate.

GMOs

The Mind Unleashed: Trump Just Made It a Lot Easier for GMOs to Enter the Food Supply

The Environmental Working Group reports that if companies want to label foods which are made with genetically engineered ingredients, they must use the terms “bioengineered” or “bioengineered food ingredient,” instead of the widely known phrases “genetically modified” or “genetically engineered.” Reprinted by Before It’s News

Healthy Living App

Santa Fe New Mexican: Seven things you can try to help the planet

Go to www.EWG.org to look up stuff you want to buy and only purchase those with a score of 1. EWG’s app, which you can download on your phone, rates anything from cosmetics to cleaning supplies, so you can look up your shampoo and conditioner or even the bleach you use to clean your bathtub.

Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change + Health

Deccan Herald (Bengaluru India): Eat less meat if you care about climate change

According to research conducted by The Environmental Working Group, a US-based agriculture non-profit, animal products (meat, cheese, and eggs) have a disproportionately higher carbon footprint than plant crops (fruit, vegetables, beans, and nuts)…

Monsanto’s Glyphosate

Drug Watch: Austria to Vote on Outright Ban on Roundup Weed Killer

As of September 2018, the consumer advocacy organization Environmental Working Group had found at least 58 local ordinances banning or restricting glyphosate use in cities or counties around the United States.

Natural Flavors

Mother Nature Network: What are natural flavors vs. artificial flavors?

Still, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), "food makers are often willing to pay because they know that some consumers prefer 'natural' flavors."

Nitrate Cancer Risk Study

USA Today: Mermaid Parade, Lincoln’s Bible, Disrict 12: News from around our 50 states

Des Moines: Nitrate pollution in the state’s drinking water may be responsible for up to 300 cases of cancer annually, a new study shows. Iowa and three other states – Arizona, California and Delaware – have “average levels of nitrate contamination that, at the high end … could cause more than 10 cases of cancer per 100,000 people a year,” according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. Reprinted by USA Today network outlets

ASCO Post: AACR Environmental Carcinogenesis: Lowering Exposure to Nitrates in Drinking Water May Reduce U.S. Cancer Cases

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group performed a comprehensive assessment of nitrate exposure from drinking water from public water systems in the United States, largely caused by farm runoff containing fertilizer and manure. 

Des Moines Register: Nitrates in drinking water may be tied to 300 cases of cancer in Iowa each year, study shows

Four states — Iowa, Delaware, Arizona and California — have "average levels of nitrate contamination that, at the high end … could cause more than 10 cases of cancer per 100,000 people a year," according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy group, based in Washington, D.C. Reprinted by Iowa City Press-Citizen

Des Moines Register: Nitrates in Iowa drinking water: What does it mean for you?

Environmental Working Group estimates four-fifths of the cases were occurrences of colorectal cancer, with ovarian, thyroid, kidney and bladder cancer making up the rest.

13 WHO TV (Des Moines IA): Clean Waer Advocates Promote Water Health at Inaugural Iowa Water Festival

The event comes after a report by the Environmental Working Group said Iowa is one of the leading states with cancer diagnoses caused by nitrate pollution in drinking water.

Siouxland Public Media (Sioux City IA): Noon Newscast 6.24.19

The Environmental Working Group recently reported Iowa sees more cases of cancer because of nitrate pollution in drinking water.

PFAS in Fertilizer

Health Nut News: The hunt for PFAS turns to Michigan farms using human waste as fertilizer

Colin O’Neil, Environmental Working Group’s legislative director, noted that in 2017, across the U.S., about 47 percent of biosolids produced were applied to land.

PFAS in Firefighting Foam

Inside EPA: House Weighs Host Of PFAS Restrictions As Senate Limits Debate

The House amendments are already drawing praise from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which advocates for wide-ranging regulation of the chemicals.

2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Before it’s News: Low-Cost, Easy Ways to Cleanse Your Liver

You might think that this is too expensive to do, but there is a trick to it if you can’t go 100 percent organic. Visit the Environmental Working Group website at EWG.org and search for the Dirty Dozen.

Forsyth County News (GA): Alden Robinson: How to buy organic produce on a budget

The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization that independently tests fruits and vegetables every year to determine which ones have the highest concentration of pesticides and which have either none or only trace amounts.

Mercola: Can tomato juice improve your blood pressure?

Tomatoes are in the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen,29 which lists the top 10 fruits and vegetables containing the highest levels of pesticide residue, so if you can't buy organic or grow your own, wash tomatoes thoroughly before eating.

Romper: Which Foods Should You Buy Organic For Babies? Dietitians Explain How To Make The Best Choices

Have you heard of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15? Each year, the Environmental Working Group publishes these two lists, deciding which “dirty” produce is worth buying organic because it’s high in pesticides.

U.S News and World Report: Obesogens: These Chemicals May Be Keeping You Fat

When you can’t buy organic, look to the Environmental Working Group’s "dirty dozen" and "clean 15" lists to learn which conventional fruits and veggies are most and least contaminated.

Reprinted by MSNWashington’s Top News

EWG's Guide to Sunscreens

The Washington Post: American sunscreen may damage coral reefs -- unlike sunscreen you can buy overseas. Here’s why.

The Environmental Working Group said that the move is an effort to put pressure on sunscreen manufacturers to protect people and coral.

Body Nutrition: Ranking the best BB cream of 2019

Nevertheless, non-profit watchdog organizations such as the Environmental Working Group have come out strongly against chemical sunscreens, both because of the theoretical health risks to humans and the known environmental risk to marine creatures.

The Curvy Fashionista: 5 Reef Friendly, Non-Toxic Sunscreens To Try Right Now

It may not always be easy to find an effective sunscreen that’s paraben free but we did some leg work for you using EWG, a cosmetics database that provides comprehensive information about cosmetics. 

Everyday Health: Sunscreen Glossary: A guide for Decoding Every SPF Term You Need to Know

The inactive ingredients are the rest of the product formulation that may help stabilize the product or provide additional functions,” says Carla Burns, a research and database analyst at the Environmental Working Group in Washington, DC, who managed the update to the 2019 guide.

People en Espanol: Can Sunscreen Cause Cancer? Colombian 'Beauty Alchemist' and Skin Care Expert Dr. Maribel Pedrozo Debunks Myths

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) alerts people against using products with oxybenzone, octinoxate and homosalate since they claim these are endocrine disruptors that could interfere with the thyroid and hormonal processes in the body.

Spectrum News (Charlotte NC): Sun Protection Needed For Your Skin, Be Wise

Per the Environmental Working Group (EWG), avoid oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is thought to alter hormonal systems of the body.

WPVI Action News (Philadelphia): Consumer Reports: Can a “base tan” help prevent sunburns?

The Environmental Working Group has also published a guide to help consumers find sunscreens with safe ingredients.

WGBH (Boston NPR): Choosing A Safe And Effective Sunscreen

“Sunscreen should be a part of sun-safe living,” says Nneka Leiba, vice president for Healthy Living Science with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Reprinted byWCAI (Woods Hole MA)

Tap Water Database

Inside EPA: Water Utilities Fight PFAS Superfund Listing, Fearing Waste Disposal Liability

Other attorneys have expressed varying views as to the significance of a Superfund designation, and Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group senior vice president for government affairs, noted at the event that the Superfund law recognizes that de minimis waste contributors can be treated different than other potentially responsible parties.

Mercola: Vitamin C protects agaist water pollution

In 2010 the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found hexavalent chromium affected 74 million U.S. citizens; by 2016 the number jumped to 200 million, and researchers from Olivet Nazarene reported 250 million in 2019. Reprinted by Health Nut News

PFAS in Drinking Water

The Hill: Senate vote requires military, EPA to deal with harmful ‘forever chemicals’

Much more needs to be done to address the crisis, but monitoring the scope of PFAS pollution will lay the groundwork for further progress,” Scott Faber, with the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. Reprinted by 10z US Politic

Michigan Advance: State panel proposes nation’s toughest drinking water limit for 2 toxic chemicals

A may report from the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group released a report listing Michigan as home to the most known sites of PFAS pollution.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Pa. lawmakers seize on Pentagon spending bill to tackle PFAS in drinking water

That could speed up EPA’s timeline significantly, said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.

Society of Environmental Journalists: Big Environmental Impacts on Small Communities Is Story That Must Be Told

The chemical has also been found in the bloodstream of most Americans. Here is a map prepared by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, that details communities nationwide where PFAS contamination is a problem. That, comrades, is a story list.

Toxic America Series (The Guardian)

The Guardian: A parent’s guide to avoiding potentially toxic chemicals

Olga Naidenko, senior science adviser for children’s health at the Environmental Working Group, also suggests the estimated 45 million Americans who drink from private wells to test their water for lead and other contaminants, since there are no legal requirements for private well testing.

Triclosan in Consumer Products

CNN: Study links common chemical in cosmetics and toothpaste to osteoporosis

In April, the FDA issued a final rule banning it for use in over-the-counter hand sanitizers in the United States. It is, however, still in some products.

*Article does not mention EWG, but links back to the Skin Deep database.

Mother Nature Network: 3 more reasons you should avoid triclosan

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned triclosan in antiseptic wash products like liquid hand soap, effective September 2017, but according to the Environmental Working Group, it's still found in many household products, including many dishwashing detergents, deodorants and "antibacterial" products like cutting boards and food containers.

 

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