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EWG News Roundup (8/30): DuPont and 3M’s Half-Century of PFAS Deception, Monsanto’s Thoughts on Moms and More

In the News
Friday, August 30, 2019

This week, EWG documented the 50-plus years of chemical companies like 3M and DuPont burying the truth that highly toxic fluorinated chemicals called PFAS build up in our blood and present risks to human health. For the first time, EWG created an easy-to-download timeline of secret studies and internal memos from these two companies between 1950 and 2000, which document what they knew about the dangers of PFAS chemicals and when they knew it.

Newly unearthed internal Monsanto emails, first reported on by the New Food Economy, reveal that a company executive wanted to “beat the shit out of” a mothers’ group that urged the company to stop selling its cancer-causing weedkiller, glyphosate.

“These ugly emails reveal the utter contempt that Monsanto has for public health and for consumers, including mothers who only want to protect their kids’ health,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Bayer is reeling from its monumental blunder of buying Monsanto, and these emails should remind them that they acquired the company that gave us DDT, Agent Orange and PCBs.”

President Trump spent a good portion of his week not taking climate change seriously. First the president skipped an important climate change meeting at the G-7 summit but then insisted at a press conference afterward that he’s “an environmentalist.” Then, later in the week, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rollback of a rule that curbs methane pollution – which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

A recent peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Research Letters found that doubling the amount of renewable energy in nine Rust Belt and mid-Atlantic states could yield $20 billion in public health benefits.

And finally, EWG tallied the nationwide swell in toxic algae outbreaks that were reported this summer and applauded CVS for phasing out two harmful sunscreen ingredients from many of its store-brand sun-protection products.

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

Monsanto Emails on Moms Across America

Common Dreams: Monsanto Doctor Wanted to ‘Beat the Sh*t Out of’ Group of Mothers: Emails

In a statement, green advocacy organization the Environmental Working Group's president Ken Cook said the emails revealed "the utter contempt that Monsanto has for public health and for consumers, including mothers who only want to protect their kids' health." Reprinted by Citizen TruthThe Mind UnleashedUSSA News (Tea Party)Raw StoryNation of Change

EWG’s PFAS Timeline

Inside EPA: As EWG Details Industry’s PFAS Findings, DuPont Fortifies Cleanup Pledges

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Aug. 28 released a dossier of documents that the group says chronicle decades of studies that PFAS manufacturers DuPont and 3M undertook but kept out of the public eye.

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Before DuPont and 3M hearing in Congress, activists highlight companies’ history with PFAS

The compilation of 3M and DuPont records released by the Environmental Working Group comes as executives from both companies prepare to testify at a Sept. 10 House subcommittee hearing on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

The Star Tribune (Minneapolis MN): Documents show 3M knew of dangers of PFAS chemicals, activist group says

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) on Wednesday released 20 3M documents as part of a timeline that the activist organization said shows the company knew about and hid the dangers of PFAS, a family of chemicals now at the center of a national pollution controversy. Reprinted by The Kansas City Star (MO)Myrtle Beach OnlineTri-City Herald (Kennewick WA)Centre Daily Times (State College PA)La Crosse Tribune (WI)Sioux City Journal (IA); 30 other media outlets

Medpage Today: HPV Oral Cancer Burden; Cutting Chemo Time; Playing Hardball with Roundup

Internal emails showed that one Monsanto executive wanted to play hardball with a group of mothers who were urging the company to stop making the popular weedkiller Roundup. (Environmental Working Group) Reprinted by Medical Health News

Trump Administration

CNN: EPA proposes rule easing regulation of methane emissions

The Natural Resources Defense Council said the EPA "lets this industry off scot-free" and threatened a legal challenge. The Environmental Working Group called the plan "an anti-science, anti-health proposal that will make the climate crisis worse." Reprinted by Local News 8 (Idaho Falls ID)ABC 7 (Los Angeles CA)KITV 4 (Honolulu HI)Erie News Now

Algae Blooms and Mycrocystins

The Bradenton Times: Reprot: Florida’s Algal Bloom Problems Will Only Grow Worse

The Environmental Working Group recently released a report on such blooms and the rapid increase that has been observed nationwide in the last decade, with federal and state testing showing cyanobacteria toxins in hundreds of bodies of water across the U.S.

USA News Hub: The Frightening Spread of Toxic Algae

A report released by the Environmental Working Group earlier this month found toxic algae appearing in more bodies of water, at higher quantities, and earlier in the summer than ever before.

Dog Deaths Linked to Harmful Algae Blooms

The New Republic: The Frightening Spread of Toxic Algae

A report released by the Environmental Working Group earlier this month found toxic algae appearing in more bodies of water, at higher quantities, and earlier in the summer than ever before. Reprinted by Environment Guru

New York Daily News: Dog-Killing algae hits 3 NYC lakes

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group developed a map to track the spread of HABs. Nationally, 10 dogs died from exposure to HABs this summer, the group said.

Bug Repellents Guide

True Viral News: The most effective, best-rated bug sprays – all under $10

The nonprofit research organization Environmental Working Group notes that their top picks for bug repellents include those with ingredients like Picaridin (a 20% concentration can protect against ticks and mosquitoes all day) and DEET (a 20% to 30% concentration can protect against ticks and mosquitoes all day) – though they do have downsides (see below).

Cell Phone Radiation

Infosurhoy: Smart phones may leak unsafe levels of radiation, report claims

California has been distrustful of these limits and cell phones’ safety, as have expert groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Climate Change

The Washington Post: Get behind Bernie Sanders’s climate plan

According to research by the Environmental Working Group, five states have already spent $15 billion in subsidies to keep their economically failing nuclear plants open.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Mind Body Green: Curious About Retinol? What To Look For On The Label & Why It Matters

The EWG also notes how dangerous this is—and many brands have begun removing it from their formulations.

Conscious Chic: 7 Beauty Myths Debunked

Use databases like EWG”s Skin Deep and discover personal care products that will actually benefit you and your loved ones.

Cool Hunting: Bravo Sierra’s Military-Tested Line of Wellness Goods

Of course, plenty of civilians want to check similar boxes; these work, feel good and are approved by some of the world’s strictest authorities—the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Cradle to Cradle, and the Department of Defense.

Daily Vanity (Singapore): 16 indie Korean beauty brands you may not know of, but are very popular in Korea

They use plant-based materials as much as possible, but only choosing to use the EWG green grade ingredients which are certified as safe to use for those with sensitive skin.

Goderich Signal-Star (Goderich Ontario): The face of change: Beauty brands pushing for change in Canada — and beyond

(For those looking to further their understanding on the subject of ingredients, Renfrew points to the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as a “great tool.”) Reprinted by Edmonton Examiner (Alberta)Woodstock Sentinel-Review (Woodstock County Canada)The Community Press (La Feria TX)Recorder & Times (Brockville Ontario); 69 other media outlets

Duke Energy

The Charlotte Observer (NC): Does NC solar power make air pollution worse? Duke Energy in the middle of debate

The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that has labeled Duke “Public Energy Enemy No. 1” in part for not investing more in renewable energy, says “the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility is pushing an outlandish claim that the growth of solar power will increase air pollution.” Reprinted by The News & Observer (Raleigh NC)

Farm Bailouts

A News Café: Last Second Special Primary Election Scoops! Don’t Forget To Vote!

According to the Environmental Working Group, which researches farm subsidies among other environmental health and economic issues, the tariffs collected so far have fallen short of the total amount needed to bail out farmers.

NPR WVIK (Quad Cities IA, IL): Farmer Fatique: Farmers Grow Weary Of Trade War, But Most Stick With Trump

Ohio Valley farmers received $616,287,779 in payments from the first round of the Market Facilitation Program through the end of April, according to data obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request by the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group. Reprinted by West Virginia Public BroadcastingWOUB (Athens OH)89.3 WFPL (Louisville KY)


The Western Producer: General Mills uses contracts to avoid glyphosate

The Environmental Working Group, a U.S. organization, has reported on glyphosate residues in oatmeal, breakfast cereals and snack bars.

Good Food on a Tight Budget

Living on the Cheap: Free guide and recipes for delicious cheap, healthy meals

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has published a free booklet “Good Food on a Tight Budget” to help American families put healthy food on the table.

EWG's Guide to Seafood

Elephant Journal: An Innovative Solution to Overfishing

If you eat fish regularly, you’re probably getting too much mercury, according to this report from the Environmental Working Group. And that’s before we even get into microplastics.

Elephant Journal: Plant-based Tuna is Now a Thing – 3 Delicious Recipes

If you eat fish regularly, you’re probably getting too much mercury, according to this report from the Environmental Working Group. And that’s before we even get into microplastics.

Lead in Schools

Capital & Main: Lead Found in Drinking Fountains at 17% of California Public Schools

“Lower levels of lead have the potential to cause significant effects on children’s brain development, on their attention levels, on behavior and on their ability to learn,” said Susan Little of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization focused on health and the environment. Reprinted by Big Education Ape

PFAS in Consumer Products

WEMU NPR (Ypsilanti MI): The Green Room: PFAS Part II-PFAS In Products

So how can consumers find out what contains PFAS?  If you’re lucky enough to find a full ingredient list on the label, the Environmental Working Group says to look for Fluoro—F.L.U.O.R.O—as part of the chemical’s name.

2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Before It’s News: 5 Easy Steps To Making Homemade Apple Juice

Unfortunately, commercial apples are ranked number one for the most pesticide-polluted crop, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Experence Life: What’s in Your Wine?

Grapes are No. 6 on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables with the highest loads of pesticide residues.

One Green Planet: How to Shop for Safe Organic Foods

The dirty dozen food list is produced by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) with the “fruits and vegetables the nonprofit claims have the highest amount of pesticides when grown conventionally versus organically.”

One Green Planet: 15 Recipes Using the “Clean 15” Fruits and Vegetables

Looking for ways to save a few dollars at the grocery store without sacrificing yourself to toxic chemicals such as pesticides? Shop the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15” veggie and fruit list!

Wellness Mama: Why I Drink Celery Juice (& How to Make It)

When I’m choosing between organic and non-organic produce, I use the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce. Reprinted by Health Care GMBreaking News Trending

Naturally Savvy (MD): Deconstructing Food Labels: Organic, Grass-Fed, Non-GMO and More

Host Lisa Davis covers a selection of these labels, as well as the importance of paying close attention to the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists.

EWG's Guide to Sunscreen

Mic: The 4 Best Biodegradable Sunscreens

And unfortunately, while aerosols can make sunscreen easy to apply, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends that consumers avoid spray sunscreens since they can pose dangers when inhaled, while others note that spray sunscreens leave a bigger trace on the sand (and therefore more will eventually end up in the water).

The Environmental Magazine: Neat Green Summer Stuff

The company’s products are among 300 sunscreens that pass Environmental Working Group’s criteria as non-harmful to people and the environment.

Boca: Fresh & Clean: Say Hello to Beauty Brands Free of Toxins and Chemicals

This can be tough to achieve when it comes to sunblock, but by using mineral-based formulations, like this Mineral SPF 50 Body Butter Pineapple Flower lotion, Pacifica has received a high ranking from the Environmental Working Group. When you’re done, don’t forget to mail the container to be recycled!

PFAS in Drinking Water

Chemical Watch: Thyroid effects of short-chain PFASs ‘particularly worrisone’, NGO says

Olga Naidenko, VP for science investigations at NGO the Environmental Working Group, said the study "demonstrated that the PFAS family of chemicals is concerning from a health perspective".

Chemistry World: A persistent perfluorinated problem

The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and researchers at Northeastern University in Massachusetts identified at least 712 PFAS contamination sites in 49 US states, as of July 2019.

Green Building Advisor: Mostly Safe Drinking Water Is Not Safe 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.

Umbilical Cord Blood Study

The North Star Monthly: Keeping kids healthy

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non- partisan organization that advocates healthy living. In a study, they commissioned five laboratories to examine the umbilical cord blood of 10 babies.


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