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EWG News Roundup (11/8): PFAS Taints N.J. Water, Trump Withdraws From Paris Climate Accord and More

Friday, November 8, 2019

This week EWG discovered and mapped more than 500 New Jersey drinking water systems and groundwater sources contaminated with the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. Nationwide, PFAS contamination has now been reported in 1,361 locations in 49 states, including community water systems, groundwater sources, military bases, airports and industrial sites.

Of the new PFAS detections in New Jersey, one of the most high profile was the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, N.J.

“The discovery of PFAS contaminants at Trump’s garish country club has given us a new ‘Teflon Don,’” said EWG President Ken Cook. “I suppose one would hope after they’ve spent more than a quarter of million just to get in the door, President Trump could at least give his members filtered drinking water free of cancer-causing chemicals. But if he’s going to refuse to enact policies to clean up drinking water contamination for the rest of the country, why should the foursome waiting to tee off on the back nine be treated any different?”

Also happening this week, the Trump administration officially withdrew from the Paris climate accord. The U.S. has now broken with the 200 countries around the globe that pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help combat climate change.

President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to roll back regulations on how coal-fired power plants store coal ash waste. In 2015, the Obama administration put safeguards in place that required coal-burning facilities to invest in technology that would stop more than a billion pounds of coal ash from contaminating rivers, lakes and streams. 

“This is yet another destructive ploy by the Trump administration to aid and abet ‘clean coal,’” said Cook. “These rollbacks further cement for the American people that public health and environmental protection are as high up on the president’s list of priorities as free and fair elections.”

And finally, EWG applauded lawmakers in California for dedicating October to children’s environmental health and taking important actions to protect children from toxic chemicals.

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

New Jersey PFAS Report

Politico: New York water lawsuit bill

New Jersey has the most PFAS-contaminated sites in the U.S., according to data compiled by Environmental Working Group.

NJ Spotlight: Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in More Than 500 New Jersey Water Systems…

The Environmental Working Group said there were 517 water systems, most of them small, where some of the chemicals were found in tap water or untreated ground water.

Burlington County Times (Westampton, N.J.): Testing finds PFAS chemicals in two Burlington County drinking water systems

Statewide testing of tapwater over the past year found a trio of concerning chemicals in two drinking water systems in Burlington County, as highlighted in a new report this week from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

Common Dreams: ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Over 500 N.J. Water Systems and Sources-More Than 1,000 Contamination Sites Nationwide

(Reprint of press release)

Hill Reporter: Trump National Golf Course’s Water Has High Concentration Of ‘Forever Chemicals’ That Studies Suggest Are Linked To Cancer, Watchdog Group Says

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an activist organization that focuses on research and advocacy regarding toxic chemicals and water pollution, discovered high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) in the tap water at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminister, New Jersey, Newsweek reported.

Independent Journal Review: The Tap Water at Trump’s Golf Course Contains a Highly-Toxic Chemical: Report

A report first surfaced by the Environmental Working Group — a nonprofit focused on the environment — that the tap water in Trump’s New Jersey golf course contains perfluorooctanoic acid. Reprinted by USA NewsStories Flow

Newsweek: Tap Water at Trump National Golf Course Contaminated with Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

The Environmental Working Group has found that high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) have been detected in tap water at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminister, New Jersey. Reprinted byHead TopicsMSN

Tap into Nutley (N.J.): Jaffe Morning Briefing

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) says there are now 517 water systems, most of them small, where some of the chemicals were found in tap water or untreated ground water.

WKXW New Jersey: Dangerous Contamination is Pervasive in NJ Drinking Water, Study Says

David Andrews, a senior scientist the Environmental Working Group, said a review of state and federal data was conducted “and we found that over 500 water systems have these ‘forever chemicals,’ often referred to as PFAS chemicals. Reprinted by WOBM 92.7 (Toms River, N.J.)

PFAS in Kentucky Tap Water

KMUW (Wichita, Kan.): Environmental Group Says Almost All Kansas Tap Water Is Too Contaminated

The water coming out of your tap might meet legal standards, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to drink — at least according to the Environmental Working Group, an environmental advocacy nonprofit. Reprinted by KCUR (Kansas City, Mo.)Hays Post (Kan.)KPR (University of Kansas)JC Post (Junction City, Kan.)Salina Post (Kan.)The Hutchinson News (Kan.)Kaiser Health NewsHighlands Public Radio (Garden City, Kan.)

CBS 46 (Cobb County, Ga.): Harmful contaminants found in drinking water

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group recently released a new drinking water database that including test results reported by almost every water utility in the country.

Trump Administration

Common Dreams: Trump EPA Rolls Back Coal-Fired Power Plant Waste Rule

Asbestos

EOS, Earth & Space Science News: Asbestos Fibers Thread Through Rocks and Dust Outside Vegas

According to a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Action Fund, 2,000–3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year, and 12,000–15,000 Americans die from asbestos-related diseases each year.

Cleaning Products

Business Insider: Blueland is a new household cleaning startup that helps you reduce single-use plastic consumption – here’s how the products perform

The key highlights are that all the products are free from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), known particularly to harm pregnant or nursing women and children, and anything on the Environmental Working Group's restricted list. Reprinted by Latest Nigerian News

ABC News 5 (Cleveland, Ohio): Going green? Here’s what you should know before you spend more money on green and organic products

I went to Environmental Working Group’s page,” she said. “That natural dish soap I was using rated an F.”

KJRH 2 (Tulsa, Okla.): Dangerous Chemicals in Household Cleaners

Dr. Bole recommends parents to head over to the Environmental Working Group’s website.

WSLS 10 News (Roanoke, Va.): Hidden dangers: ‘Clean products’ praised as personal care alternatives

The Healthy Living App, made by the Environmental Working Group, and an app called Think Dirty give details on ingredients and health concerns when product barcodes are scanned.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Daily Vanity: 31 best face washed and cleansers for fading acne scars

Every ingredient used in this paraben-free cleanser has safe EWG ratings of 1 or 2, so you don’t have to worry about it further irritating your skin.

The Good Men Project: Vegan Gifts: Give Something Animal Lovers Will Love

To find more, check out the Environmental Working Group (EWG) free “Skin Deep” cosmetics database.

Special Chem: US Representative Introduces Natural Cosmetics Act to Label Natural Products

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimates that the average adult uses 12 personal care products each day, exposing themselves to 168 unique chemical ingredients.

Urbanette: 15 Ways That Fashion Can Hurt You

The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org), a watchdog organization that examines consumer products, recently issued a report entitled “Skin Deep,” analyzing hair dyes and other cosmetics for hazardous chemicals.

Duke Energy

The Republic (Columbus, Ind.): Duke Energy facing rate-hike pushback

Parties that have joined CAC’s motion to have Duke provide more information are the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the Indiana Community Action Association, the Indiana Laborers District Council, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Working Group.

Environmental Charity Rankings

Stacker: The 39 best environmental charities

#30. Environmental Working Group

Reprinted by MSN

EWG’s Healthy Living App

News @ Northeastern (Northeastern University): Here’s How to Find Out if Your Clothing Was Made in an Unsafe Factory

There’s also the EWG Healthy Living app from the Environmental Working Group. You can scan products, and it can tell you not only the provenance of some products, but also how those products impact human health.

Farm Subsidies

Washington Examiner: Based agricultural trade policies predate Trump

According to a recent report by the Environmental Working Group, “Between 1995 and 2016, the top 10% received 77% of all ‘covered commodity’ subsidies,” and “the top 1% received 26% of all subsidies or $1.7 million per recipient.”

Food Scores

Truth Out: There Are 2,000 Untested Chemicals in Packaged Foods – and It’s Legal

A major but largely glossed over report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an environmental and public health nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., shows that thousands of untested chemicals (an estimated 2,000, to be exact) are found in conventional packaged foods purchasable in U.S. supermarkets.

The Chicago Sentinel: Growing Demand for Natural Food Flavors Due to Increasing Consumer Awareness Drives the Growth of the Food Flavors Market

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), it was found that a few synthetic flavors obtained from petroleum have a permanent impact on an individual’s health.

Murray Energy Bankruptcy

Natural Resources Defense Council: IEA: Renewable Energy Has Winning Potential

The fall of this onetime energy titan is just the latest example of “how market forces have sealed the fate of coal,” as Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook told the New York Times.

Paris Climate Deal Withdrawal

Common Dreams: Delivering ‘Catastrophic Message in a Moment of Great Urgency,’ Trump Formally Begins Ditching Paris Climate Deal

"The total retreat by President Trump and his administration in the global fight against climate change is the definition of betrayal," declared Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook.

PFAS in Consumer Products

Remodelista: 10 Easy Pieces: Clean Cookware

Editor’s note: While we’ve done our best to research the issue using sources from credible agencies like the Environmental Working Group (EWG), we are not scientists, doctors, or environmental toxicity experts.

PFAS Regulation

TVN: Consequences Must Be Carefully Assessed Before PFAS Are Pushed Into The Superfund Quagmire

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), which supports CERCLA for PFAS, declares in a September 18 analysis that affirmative defenses and EPA “enforcement discretion” will protect public utilities and other “non-polluters” from federal action.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Fitness Health Yoga: The Science Behind The 3 Most Commonly Consumed Red Fruits & Vegetables

When doable, it is best to all the time search for natural tomatoes as they’re included on the Enviromental Working Group’s 2019 Dirty Dozen List.

Spray Foam Insulation

Earth 911: Does Spray Foam Insulation Harm Indoor Air Quality?

If polyurethane foam insulation causes an indoor air quality issue, it is difficult to remove because spray foam sticks tenaciously to materials. Therefore, removal isn’t recommended by the Environmental Working Group

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Business Insider: The best eco-friendly mineral sunscreen

Except for All Good's kids' spray sunscreens, the brand receives a top rating from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) based on their ingredient list.

BURO: Beauty products to stop buying to save money, space, and the Earth: Sheet masks, SPF 100 sunscreens, etc

To put it simply, splashing out cash on SPF100 products doesn't guarantee double the protection from SPF50 — in fact, the disparity of protection between the two is about 1%, according to activist company, Environmental Working Group.

Tap Water Database Update

The Brookings Register (S.D.): Contaminants are common in S.D. drinking water, but most within legal limits

In its annual report on America’s drinking water supply, released on Oct. 26, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group noted that many federal water-quality standards have not been updated in 20 or even 50 years, and that there are no legal limits whatsoever for 160 contaminants that can make their way into the American drinking-water system.

The Daily Northwestern (Ill.): Though group identifies contaminants in Evanston’s drinking water, city says water is safe

The Environmental Working Group — a nonprofit that aims to provide healthier environments — released its updated tap water database that analyzes data from 50,000 utilities in 50 states for 525 chemicals.

Detroit Free Press: Another Michigan city tests high for lead levels. This time it’s St. Clair Shores
The nonprofit Environmental Working Group's new nationwide tap water database shows Michigan and U.S. water systems have a number of contaminants, either unregulated or within regulatory levels, that scientific study shows pose a health risk. 

LI Herald (Garden City, N.Y.): New York American Water rate hikes are highest in Lynbrook

Many residents also pointed to a study completed by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which collaborates with scientists to analyze data from nearly 50,000 local water utilities in all 50 states, and found that there are contaminants in Lynbrook’s drinking water.

The Storm Lake Times (Iowa): Editorials

A report from the Environmental Working Group unnecessarily raises concerns about arsenic presence in Storm Lake’s drinking water as part of a national database on drinking water contaminants.

Times Union (Albany, N.Y.): Database lookups reviews water contamination

The answer might start with environmental advocacy groups like the Washington-based Environmental Working Group and the New York state affiliate of the Public Interest Research Group.

PFAS in Drinking Water

Delaware Online (USA Today): Feds want to add Blades’ water to Superfund priority list after PFAS contamination found

An interactive map of PFAS contamination has been developed by a nonprofit organization called the Environmental Working Group.

The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.): Well tests haven’t found dangerous levels of firefighting chemical, Navy says

A number of states and other organizations have argued that the levels set by EPA aren’t adequate protection for people’s health, Monica Amarelo, a spokeswoman for the activist Environmental Working Group, said when contacted by a reporter Tuesday.

Investigative Post: Toxins at Niagara Fall airbase

That’s according to a report issued in early October by the Environmental Working Group, based on data procured from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense. Reprinted by 2 WGRZ (Buffalo, N.Y.)

Military Times: Is this the solution to contaminated water on military bases?

Filtration systems have brought base contamination levels down to Environmental Protection Agency standards, but organizations like the Environmental Working Group have argued that those levels are still too high.

90.9 WBUR (Boston): What Are PFAS Chemicals, And Should I Be Freaking Out About Them?

The Environmental Working Group, a consumer-education nonprofit, estimates that 1,500 drinking water systems across the country may be contaminated, affecting 110 million Americans.

Toxic Algae Blooms on the Maumee Watershed

E&E News: Toxic scum threatens people as warming helps algae grow

Satellite data collected by ELPC and the Environmental Working Group show an increase in the number of CAFOs in the Maumee watershed.

 

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