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EWG News Roundup (7/19): Trump EPA Keeps Brain-Damaging Pesticide Legal, ‘Unhealthy’ Air Days Rise in U.S. Cities and More

In the News
Friday, July 19, 2019

This week Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler announced the agency’s decision to allow farmers to keep spraying a dangerous brain-damaging pesticide on fruits and vegetables. The pesticide, chlorpyrifos, has been shown to harm a child’s brain even at low levels of exposure.

“Siding with pesticide corporations over the health and well-being of kids is the new normal at the EPA,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Today’s decision underscores the sad truth that as long as the Trump administration is in charge, this EPA will favor the interests of the chemical lobby over children’s safety.”

In anticipation of the EPA decision, EWG laid out some simple steps parents can take to ensure their children aren’t eating food or drinking milk tainted with chlorpyrifos.

A new report from EPA shows that the number of bad air days in many American cities has soared in the first two years of the Trump administration. The agency reports that dangerous air days in 35 of the largest U.S. cities rose from a combined 706 in 2016 to 799 in 2018.

And finally, EWG broke down the benefit of taxpayer dollars’ being put into federal energy subsidies. The bottom line: Our money is better spent accelerating the urgently needed transition to clean, renewable power.

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


Associated Press: EPA rejects challenge of pesticide linked to brain damage

The EPA defense Thursday showed that “as long as the Trump administration is in charge, this EPA will favor the interests of the chemical lobby over children’s safety,” said Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group environmental advocacy organization. Reprinted by the New York TimesWashington PostUSA TodayABC NewsChicago TribuneSan Francisco Chronicle and 299 other media outlets.

Reuters: Trump EPA allows use of controversial pesticide

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said current EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler ignored the advice of EPA scientists who supported a ban. “If the Trump administration had followed the advice of its scientists, chlorpyrifos likely would not be in the food and milk kids eat and drink today,” he said.  Reprinted by the New York TimesU.S. News and World Report, and 42 other media outlets.

HuffPost: EPA Refuses To Ban Pesticide Linked To Brain Damage In Children

In a joint letter to Pruitt in June, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy group, said failing to remove chlorpyrifos from the market “puts all children at risk.” Reprinted by Yahoo! News.

EcoWatch: Trump’s EPA Won’t Ban Brain-Damaging Pesticide

“Siding with pesticide corporations over the health and well-being of kids is the new normal at the EPA,” Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement

“Today's decision underscores the sad truth that as long as the Trump administration is in charge, this EPA will favor the interests of the chemical lobby over children's safety.”

Think Progress: Environment and health advocates say Trump’s EPA is choosing chemical industry over children

Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) similarly argued that the EPA was taking the side of “pesticide corporations over the health and well-being of kids,” while Goldman of Earthjustice condemned the decision as a favor to the industry.

The Tribune Today: American Environmental Protection Agency Permits the Use of Controversial Pesticides

Ken Cook, leader of the Environmental Working Group, said current EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler disregarded the guidance of EPA researchers who upheld a boycott.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting: House Votes to Monitor Toxic PFAS Chemicals, Sends Bill to White House

PFAS have since been found in the drinking water of millions of Americans, according to research conducted by the Environmental Working Group. 

PFAS in Bottled Water

Business Insider: 'Forever chemicals' have been found in bottled water brands sold at Whole Foods and CVS, and it’s part of a larger contamination problem

In July, the watchdog Environmental Working Group (EWG) detected PFAS at 100 new sites in the US, bringing their estimated total to more than 700 sites across 49 states. Reprinted by att.netBig World TaleBusiness Insider IndiaDaily MagazineInsiderPulse Business Insider (Nigeria)Wine Business Monthly OnlineYahoo! News

PFAS in Firefighting Foam

CNBC: A new drinking water crisis hits US military bases across the nation

The Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University have mapped at least 712 documented cases of PFAS contamination across 49 states, as of July 2019. Reprinted by Ava 360 NewsMSNMSN CanadaPress FromUS PoliticsYahoo! Finance

Hartford Courant: An ‘emerging pollutant’ in the Farmington River triggers claims about misinformation, worries about burning contaminated sludge

Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist with a Washington, D.C.-based organization called the Environmental Working Group, said there are some scientific indications that burning PFAS chemicals, which are man-made compounds designed to be resistant to high temperatures, may not be a safe and effective disposal method.

PFAS in Scotchguard

Star Tribune (MN): 3M could face huge cleanup costs over substance in Scotchgard

According to a database maintained by Northeastern University and the Environmental Working Group, 712 sites in 49 states are now contaminated. Reprinted by Casper Star Tribune (WY); Daily News Online (Portalnd OR); Journal Times (Racine WI); Newsbug (IL and IN); Omaha World-HeraldSanta Ynez Valley News Online (CA); Sioux City Journal (IA); Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Online (IA); and 23 other media outlets

Nuclear Bailout Bill

The Columbus Dispatch: Nuclear bailout bill clears Ohio Senate

Bailouts enacted in New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Connecticut, and now Ohio, over the past three years will cost ratepayers in those states more than $15 billion, according to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Akron Beacon Journal Online

Trump EPA

The Hill: EPA hails Trump's work on reducing air pollution

“Despite EPA’s press release spin, reductions in air pollution during the Trump administration have stalled, while the Department of Energy estimates C02 emissions alone actually spiked in 2018, something Administrator Wheeler and his agency conveniently failed to mention, of course,” said Alex Formuzis, a spokesperson for the Environmental Working Group.

Common Dreams: EPA Data: Under Trump, a Sharp Increase in Unhealthy Air in Big Cities

The number of unhealthy air days in nearly three dozen cities soared in the first two years of the Trump administration, according to an annual air pollution report released Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency. Reprinte of EWG news release

Algae Blooms

The Beacon (Ohio): Manure a major problem for Lake Erie, reports Lake Erie Waterkeepers

“A recent report by the Environmental Working Group for the Maumee River shows that the number of confined animal operations (pigs, cows, poultry) in the Maumee watershed increased from 545 in 2005 to 775 in 2018.

Miami New Times Online: Testing the Poisonous Algae That Is Smothering the Everglades

Anne Schechinger, senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), says farm runoff had already been linked to algae blooms. Reprinted by Broward Palm Beach New Times Online.


Kitsap Sun: Asbestos cleanups coming to dry docks at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

Approximately 831 people died of asbestos-related illnesses in Kitsap County between 1999 and 2013, according to Environmental Working Group's action fund, an advocacy organization. That's about 55 deaths a year and makes Kitsap County third in the state for most deaths from asbestos, behind only King and Pierce counties.

Body Burden

Verily: Detoxify Your Home with These Simple Steps

The Environmental Working Group tested the umbilical cord blood of ten babies in 2009 and foundmore than 230 industrial pollutants across the samples. While this study alone does not prove that all children in the womb have this many toxic chemicals in their bloodstream, it does show that a wide range of toxins crosses the placenta.  

Whole Foods Magazine: Nutritious + Delicious = Happy, Healthy Kids!

The vast increase in environmental toxins and pollutants that children are now exposed to, as evidenced by the Environmental Working Groups study in 2005, shows how much children’s ‘body burden’ is these days, and how it may affect growth and health.

Bug Sprays

Durham Region (S Ontario): Beat the ticks and get savvy about Lyme disease this summer

The Environmental Working Group approves DEET and picaridin for adults and children. Reprinted byGuelph Mercury Tribune Online (SE Ontario); Inside Halton (S Ontario); Kawartha Lakes This Week Online (C Ontario); Mississauga News Online (SE Ontario); The Mount Forest Confederate Online(SW Ontario); Toronto NewsYork Region (S Ontario)

Climate Change

Columbia Missourian Online: DAVID ROSMAN: There's plenty of evidence to debunk climate change deniers

Again, from the CNBC report: “Ken Cook, a spokesman for the Environmental Working Group, called Trump’s speech ‘utter fantasy’. 

Cleaning Products

Longevity: Toxins In Cleaning Products: What Are In Yours?

In a recent study, EWG discovered that most of the applications submitted to the EPA were approved within three weeks. Reprinted by MSN


Pure Wow: So, What Are the Benefits of Almond Oil for Skin?

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization committed to educating consumers on ingredient safety, gives sweet almond oil (or “prunus amygdalus dulcis” as it’s known in the plant community) a score of one, meaning it poses little to no health concerns. Reprinted by MSN India

Oman Daily Observer: Ride the organic beauty trend — go natural!

Among the commonly mentioned ingredients are phthalates and parabens, which are listed, as part of what the Environmental Working Group (EWG) calls the “Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors.”

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Australian Financial Review: Clean beauty with a celebrity twist

At ONDA, it [“clean beauty”] refers to products – from skincare to oral hygiene items to haircare – that have a rating of 1 or 2 on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, an independent system that measures product toxicity.


Salon: Corporations can legally put carcinogens in our food without warning labels. Here's why

recent study by the Environmental Working Group revealed one thing horrifying: Glyphosate, the lively ingredient within the standard weedkiller Roundup, was current in 17 of the 21 oat-based cereal and snack merchandise at ranges thought of unsafe for youngsters. Reprinted by Food Industry TodayFooshyaRaw StoryTruthout

Before It’s News: A List of Children’s Foods That Are Contaminated With Monsanto’s Roundup Herbicide

The weedkiller, produced by Bayer-Monsanto, was detected in all 21 oat-based cereal and snack products sampled in a new round of testing commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. 

Edible Manhattan: The Great Oat Milk Taste Test

While there’s a lot of debate over whether organic food is safer for you, studies show that eating an organic diet reduces exposure to some pesticides, and a 2018 EWG study found the chemical glyphosate in many popular oat-based foods.

Healthy Living

Reader’s Digest: 12 Common Bedroom Items That Are Secretly Toxic

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), one big issue lies with polyurethane foam, a common mattress ingredient that can give off VOCs. Reprinted by MSN Canada

Kardashians at Nuclear Meltdown 60th Anniversary

Daily Mail: '60 kids all have rare cancers linked to this toxic site! It's time to clean this up': Kim and Kourtney Kardashian attend 60th anniversary of Santa Susana Field Lab nuclear meltdown as they call for clean up of the Cold War site

'I met with Environmental Working Group, with the women, we all had lunch together and I said, "How can I help?" I had been using their app for years, since I had my first son and I got really into it and checking my products,' [Kourtney Kardashian] said on [TODAY]. Reprinted by Angle NewsExpress Digest

Lead in California School Drinking Water

Jefferson Public Radio (Oregon): Thu 8 AM | 20% Of California Schools Show Lead In Water

The Environmental Working Group compiled the date from the state Water Resources Control Board. 

Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health

Evening Standard: Sustainable eating: which foods have the highest and lowest environmental impacts?

People often state beef to be the least environmentally friendly food source, but in fact lamb has a 50 per cent higher greenhouse gas emissions level than beef, according to the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Health Breaking NewsMSNTimes of NewsYahoo! News

Nitrate in Iowa Water

The Daily Iowan: Troubled waters: A DI journalist’s expedition of the Iowa River

The Environmental Working Group reports that even though the EPA recommends 10 mg as a nitrate limit, in order for there to be no adverse health effects, 0.14 mg is considered a safer amount.

The Gazette Online (Cedar Rapids IA): Slow progress means Iowa water quality goals hundreds or even thousands of years away, environmental group says

Cover crops, offseason grains that help prevent soil erosion and nutrient runoff, covered less than 4 percent of Iowa’s farmed acres in 2017-2018, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Siouxland Public Media: Nitrates in Water Linked to Cancer, Iowans at Risk, 5:32

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group and Duke University say as many as 12,000 cancer cases each year nationwide may be linked to nitrates in drinking water.

PFAS in Food Packaging

U.S. News and World Report: Avoid These Cancer-Causing Foods

The Environmental Working Group raised the alarm about a chemical called PFOA that was used to coat the inside of popcorn bags as a likely carcinogen, prompting the FDA to ban its use in food packaging in 2006. Reprinted by Business GhanaPress From

2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Dr. Axe: Minimize Toxins to Beat Autoimmune Disease — the Detox Plan!

If you can’t afford to go all organic, at least buy organic versions of chicken, meat — that means 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished — and what EWG calls the “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables

Real Simple: Should You Actually Avoid Foods on the Dirty Dozen List?

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a new list of the 12 fruits and vegetables they say have the most pesticides.

Epoch Times: If You See This Number on Fruit’s Sticker, Avoid Buying It: Here’s Why

If you’re interested in knowing more about which conventional foods are the most dangerous, the Environmental Working Group makes two helpful lists. The “Dirty Dozen,” including family favorites such as strawberries, grapes, and tomatoes, features produce that tend to get grown with lots of chemicals! 

EWG's Guide to Sunscreens

AFAR: Camping Checklist: The Gear You Need for a Very Comfy Night Under the Stars

The easy-to-apply Thinksport Safe Sunscreen ($13 for 3 ounces) feels sport-ready, like chemical versions, but earns the Environmental Working Group’s highest rating, which measures efficacy and health risks posed by the ingredients.

Delicious Living: Is your sunscreen working–or safe?

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit that works to protect human health and the environment, scientists and public health agencies alike “have found little evidence that the use of sunscreens in isolation from other sun protective measures prevents most types of skin cancer.”

Everyday Health: The Difference Between Chemical and Mineral Sunscreen

Still, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends avoiding chemical sunscreens with oxybenzone because of concerns that this ingredient may disrupt hormones and cause allergic skin reactions.

Pacific Standard: The U.S. Virgin Islands Becomes the First American Jurisdiction to Ban Common Chemical Sunscreens

The Washington, D.C.-based non-governmental organization Environmental Working Group, which has determined that many U.S. sunscreens fall short of "meaningful skin protection," advocates that sunscreen should be a "last resort" after other sun protection measures, such as wearing clothes, sticking to the shade, checking the UV index, and planning outdoor activities around the sun. Reprinted bySouth Africa Today.

Tap Water Database

Best Life: 30 Things You Had No Idea Could Cause Cancer

According to the Environmental Working Group, some laundry detergents contain 1,4-dioxane, a chemical that could potentially be cancerous. Reprinted by MSN CanadaMSN IrelandMSN UKMSN New Zealand

Scientific Research: The Effect of Trihalomethanes in Contaminating the Major Watersheds of Middle Tennessee

In collaboration with the EPA, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an activist organization, has looked closely at the quality of water in several states, in order to provide insight into the purity of drinking water.

PFAS in Tap Water

Associated Press: Chemical contamination found in wells near Air Force base

[Sen. Tom] Carper [D-Del.] noted that a report released last week by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy group, found PFAS contamination at 712 locations in 49 states, including 219 military installations. Reprinted by Clay Center Dispatch Online (KS); CT PostNew Haven RegisterSF GateStars and StripesSun Herald (Biloxi MS); Washington TimesWestport News (CT); The Wichita Eagle (KS)

Military Times: Here’s an updated map of military sites where DOD found cancer-causing chemicals in the drinking water

This brings the total to 175 military installations and sites nationwide that are known to be contaminated by fluorinated compounds known as PFAS, according to the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Marine Corps Times

The Sacramento Bee: Toxic drinking water is a public health crisis. Here’s a path to urgent action

An Environmental Working Group study released last month said that “toxic drinking water could lead to more than 15,000 lifetime cancer cases throughout the state,” according to a story by The Sacramento Bee’s Hannah Wiley.


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