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EWG News Roundup (1/17): Asbestos in Children’s Toys, Nitrate in Minnesota’s Drinking Water, Cosmetic Safety Reform in California and More

In the News
Friday, January 17, 2020

This week, EWG-commissioned lab tests discovered asbestos in a talc-containing eye shadow in a children’s toy makeup kit sold on Amazon and eBay. The lab found that every gram of the eye shadow in the Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette contained more than 4 million asbestos fiber structures. On Friday, both eBay and Amazon appeared to have pulled the product from their websites.

“Amazon, eBay and any other retailer marketing this and similar makeup kit ‘toys’ from IQ Toys should take heed of these test results and immediately pull these products from their websites,” said EWG’s Vice President for Healthy Living Science Nneka Leiba. “Taking steps to safeguard children from exposure to one of the deadliest carcinogens in the world should always come before profits.”

A new EWG analysis found that half a million Minnesotans drink tap water contaminated with elevated levels of nitrate from agricultural pollution. The innovative report mapped the locations and levels for nitrate in Minnesota’s public water systems and private household wells.

“Many years of unaddressed nitrate from farm pollution have brought Minnesota to the brink of a public health crisis,” said Sarah Porter, senior GIS analyst with EWG and one of the report’s authors. “Now Minnesotans are paying for the state’s failure to hold farmers accountable for not keeping fertilizer and manure out of the water supply.”

On Monday, supporters gathered at at the California state capitol in Sacramento to urge lawmakers to pass the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act. If passed, the law would ban toxic ingredients like lead, mercury and formaldehyde from the beauty and personal care products sold in the state.

In other news, a report by Reuters shows that coal power plants are closing at a near-record high under President Trump, and EWG highlighted a South Florida toxic algae bloom contributing to the growing body of evidence that such outbreaks are now a year-round issue.

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

Asbestos in Children's Toys

WTSP 10 (Tampa): Children’s makeup kit is full of asbestos, test reveals

The Environmental Working Group says tests of IQ Toys Princess Girl’s All-in-One Deluxe Makeup Palette revealed high levels of asbestos.

Nitrate in Minnesota Tap Water

Associated Press: Minnesotans are drinking water contaminated by nitrate

In a report released Tuesday morning by the Environmental Working Group, it was found that one in eight Minnesotans are drinking nitrate-tainted tap water, according to the Star Tribune. Reprinted by Idaho StatesmanU.S. News & World ReportNews-Times (Danbury, Conn.)Laredo Morning Times (Texas)Westport News (Conn.); 22 other media outlets

Star Tribune (Minneapolis): One in eight Minnesotans drink nitrate-tainted tap water, report says

Years of unchecked pollution from farm chemicals have brought Minnesota “to the brink of a public health crisis,” according to the Environmental Working Group, which based its findings on public records from the state Department of Health and Department of Agriculture.

Fern’s AG Insider: In Minnesota, study finds drinking water tainted with nitrates

Hundreds of thousands of Minnesota residents are drinking water contaminated with elevated levels of nitrates, according to a new analysis from the Environmental Working Group. 

InForum News Service: Report: Thousands of Minnesotans are drinking water contaminated by nitrate

But because drinking tap water with even small amounts of nitrate in it may be a risk factor for cancer and birth defects, the Environmental Working Group called in its report for an "aggressive policy and programmatic approach" to address the situation in Minnesota. Reprinted by West Central Tribune (Willmar, Minn.)Brainerd Dispatch (Minn.)Duluth News-Tribune (Minn.)Post Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.)Twin Cities Pioneer Press (Minn.)

InForum New Service: Minnesota Agriculture Department releases fertilizer restriction map

A report released Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group, an environmentalist nonprofit, found that thousands of Minnesotans are drinking from water sources contaminated with potentially unsafe levels of nitrate. Reprinted by West Central Tribune (Willmar, Miss.)Brainerd Dispatch (Minn.)Duluth News-Tribune (Minn.)Grand Forks Herald (N.D.)Post Bulletin (Rochester, Minn.)

The Mankato Free Press: Farm fertilizer restrictions come as nitrate problems rise

The new regulations come as the Environmental Working Group released a report this month saying an estimated half a million Minnesotans — or one in eight residents — draw from groundwater contaminated with elevated levels of nitrate, a toxic pollutant that is linked to cancer and is especially dangerous for infants, causing “blue baby syndrome.” Reprinted by The Land (Mankato, Minn.)

Fox 9 (Minneapolis-Saint Paul): Report: Potentially dangerous nitrate levels found in some Minnesota drinking water

In a new review of state data, the Environmental Working Group found almost 300,000 Minnesotans drink water from public systems where nitrate was found at above 5 milligrams per liter. Another 150,000 people drink water from public systems that tested at or above the federal limit.

A.B. 495: The Toxics Free Cosmetics Act

The Sacramento Bee: Is Newsom’s press conference still going? + Toxic-free cosmetics + a Jerry Brown podcast

Muratsuchi and Wicks will join representatives from CALPIRGBlack Women for Wellness, the Environmental Working Group and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners on noon Monday in room 126 of the State Capitol.

KSBW 8 (Monterey, Calif.): ‘This is not OK, we must stop this’; Toxic-free cosmetics push

If you're curious how safe of toxic your products are, the Environmental Working Group host a website called Skin Deep, where you type in the brand and it ranks toxicity from 1-10, with 10 being the worst.

H.R. 535: The PFAS Action Act 

PBS News Hour: The House just voted to regulate PFAS. Here’s what you need to know

A 2018 report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group found that more than 100 million Americans may have PFAS in their drinking water. Reprinted by Democratic Underground

ABC News: House passes bill to force EPA regulation of ‘forever chemicals’ linked to health concerns

The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group that pushes to limit exposure to chemicals, has found that water data shows as many as 16 million Americans could be exposed through their drinking water to levels of these chemicals that are well above the EPA's recommended health limit. Reprinted by Yahoo!News Channel NebraskaWFIN (Findlay, Ohio)Cenla Broadcasting (Alexandria, La.)KTBB (Tyler, Texas); 16 other media outlets

Star Tribune (Minneapolis): U.S. House passes bill to address PFAS; unclear if Senate will act

More than 100 million Americans in 1,400 communities have been exposed to PFAS-tainted drinking water, according to a database run by Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute and the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by The Fresno Bee (Calif.)Sun Herald (Gulfport, Miss.)Bradenton Herald (Fla.)Belleville News-Democrat (Ill.)Lompac Record (Santa Maria, Calif.)La Crosse Tribune (Wis.); 30+ other media outlets

Common Dreams: After Approval by House Democrats, GOP-Controlled Senate Urged to Pass Measure to Curtail Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), PFAS contamination affects over 600 sites in 43 states, including public water systems.

The Fayetteville Observer (N.C.): U.S. House passes GenX/’Forever Chemical’ water contamination bill

More than 100 million Americans in 1,400 communities have been exposed to PFAS-tainted drinking water, according to a database run by Northeastern University’s Social Science Health Research Institute and the Environmental Working Group.

The Gazette (Colorado Springs): House passes legislation to address ‘forever chemical’ contamination; Senate prospects unclear

As many as 100 million Americans could have drinking water affected by the chemicals, which are also known as PFAS, the Environmental Working Group estimates.

Military Times: House bill would require Pentagon to support PFAS cleanup in communities

Scott Faber, senior vice president of governmental affairs for the Environmental Working Group, the advocacy organization pushing for stricter controls over PFAS chemicals and environmental cleanup, said last week the EPA’s efforts to address PFAS contamination are decades late. Reprinted by 10z US Politics

News-Herald (Southgate, Mich.): Debbie Dingell delivers weekly Democratic address

According to the Environmental Working Group, forever chemicals have been detected in more than 1,400 communities, across 49 states, including near 400 military installations. Reprinted by Press & Guide (Southgate, Mich.)

The Oklahoman: House passes bill to curb chemicals found in some Oklahoma water

The Environmental Working Group, using Defense Department documents, found that drinking water supplies at the Midwest City Readiness Center and Camp Gruber, near Muskogee, had been contaminated with PFAS.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star: U.S. House votes to crack down on toxic PFAS chemicals; Trump threatens veto

Nearly 300 military sites across the county, including the former Willow Grove air base in the Philadelphia suburbs, have PFAS contamination and as many as 110 million Americans are drinking PFAS-contaminated water, she said, citing Environmental Working Group data. Reprinted by Florida PhoenixThe Colorado Independent

Penobscot Bay Pilot (Camden, Maine): Congresswoman Pingree amendment to Label Safe Textiles passes in House bill regulating Forever Chemicals

According to the Environmental Working Group, 297 military sites across the United States have PFAS contamination and as many as 110 million Americans are drinking PFAS contaminated water. 

News 22 WWLP (Chicopee, Mass.): House passes bill addressing PFAS contamination in drinking water

Over 100 million people are estimated to have drinking water contaminated by PFAS according to the Environmental Working Group.

Trump Administration Farm Bailouts

CNN Transcripts: Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

When her father-in-law was farming on it, records show the company in which Michele Bachmann reportedly was a partner of got more than $145,000 in corn subsidies between 1995 and 2007, more than $105,000 in dairy program subsidies for the same period, 7,300 in livestock subsidies, all of this according to the Environmental Working Group, which gets its numbers straight from the Agriculture Department.

The Washington Post: Trump has betrayed his voters

And while the White House trumpeted aid to farmers, the Environmental Working Group reports that the top 10 percent of farms — “the largest and most profitable, industrial scale farms in the country” — received 50 percent of the money. Reprinted byGreenwich Time (Conn.) Reprinted by News Times (Danbury, Conn.)Stamford Advocate (Conn.)Connecticut Post (Bridgeport)The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.)New Canaan Advertiser (Conn.)

Bloomberg: Trump Bailout Means Farmers Emerge Optimistic From Trade War

The Den Herder family farm had its best year in 2019 out of the past five, he said, estimating his profits would’ve been halved without aid payments. Sioux County was one of the 10 largest recipients of the money, according to a database of payments compiled by the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Yahoo!Farm Progress

Business Insider: Wisconsin lost 10% of its dairy farmers in 2019, marking its biggest decline ever as Trump’s trade wars raged

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization, said in a study released in November that wealthier farmers have drawn larger cash payments compared to poorer ones. Reprinted by News of the dayLatest Nigerian News

The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa): Trump’s economic policies are destroying Iowa

According to analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), most of the $8.4 billion given out as a part of the aid package has gone to wealthy farmers.

Las Vegas Sun: Farm bailout is costly to nation

According to the Environmental Working Group, 92% of the United States’ farms are considered small farms, and only about 32% of President Donald Trump’s farm bailout money has gone to these small farmers.

Algae Blooms

Adirondack Explorer (Saranac Lake, N.Y.): A lake in crisis

“No one wants to move to a lake house when the lake has an algae bloom all year long,” said Anne Schechinger, an economist at the Environmental Working Group, a national nonprofit focused on clean water.

BPA

Easy Health Options: 10 ways to reduce the BPA exposure that’s 50 times higher than the FDA told us

In February 2007, the Environmental Working Group discovered that Sciences International (SI), the firm responsible for reviewing BPA toxicity for the government, had collaborated with Dow Chemical Company, a major BPA manufacturer.

California Audit of Lead Programs

News Review: Lifelong consequences

“Lead-exposure impacts on a child are irreversible,” said Susan Little, senior advocate for California government affairs for the Environmental Working Group, a nonpartisan nonprofit focused on environmental safety. 

North Coast Journal of Politics: Audit Reveals Failure to Test Millions of Babies for Lead

And in 2018, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group found, based on Health Care Services billing data, that about three-quarters of California toddlers on Medi-Cal had not undergone the required lead testing.

Cleaning Products

Animal Wellness: Improving indoor air quality for your animal

In “Why artificial scents are harming your pets”, author Sara Jackson cites a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group that “tested 43 common chemicals found in household products, including scented ones, and discovered that dogs have higher levels of these substances in their bodies than humans do.”

Clean Eating: Safe House

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the feel- good terms that imply a cleaning product is better for you and the environment, including “nontoxic,” “biodegradable” and “plant-based,” aren’t regulated at all, so approach them with the same caution and go deeper to verify.

Evolving Wellness: Reduce Toxic Indoor Air Quality and Increase Your Exposure to Fresh Air

Five of the six products emitted one or more chemicals classified by the EPA as Hazardous Air Pollutants (acetaldehyde, chloromethane, and the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane).

Toxic Fragrance in the Air ~ Environmental Working Group

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Business Insider: The best bubble bath for kids

Jayne recommends BabyGanics, and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) rated it as a low-hazard product. 

The Best Organic Skin Care: 9 Best Organic Body Scrubs of 2020

According to the  EWG Skin Deep Database, fragrances have been associated with allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and potential effects on the reproductive system.

Health Nut News: Beauty Brand Recalls Popular Face Mask Causing Adverse Reactions

Environmental Working Group has an extensive database that can help you find personal care products free of potentially dangerous ingredients. 

A Woman’s Health: Natural Beauty Products What “natural” really means and why it matters

You can learn more about the safety of personal care products at the Skin Deep cosmetic safety database (www.cosmeticsdatabase.com) maintained by the Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org). 

EWG VERIFIED™

Medium: Searching for Safer Products? Look for these Labels

The EWG label certifies that a product adheres to ingredient disclosure rules as well as health and safety standards.

Food Scores

Dr. Greene: How People Got Pepsi to Change its Mind: A Recipe

Two of my heroes were also on the show – Heather White, executive director at the Environmental Working Group, and Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who had been working on this issue for decades.

Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health

Eater: Panera Is Making Its Menu Half Vegetarian to Become More Sustainable

However, much of the meat industry’s carbon footprint is due to the production of livestock feed, which the Environmental Working Group says “requires 167 million pounds of pesticides and 17 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer each year across some 149 million acres of cropland.”

The Mayo News: Veg for vitality – human and planetary

Dairy cheese, unfortunately, is the third worst for carbon footprint, according to a study by the US-based Environmental Working Group and environmental firm CleanMetrics Corp.

Monsanto

Get Healthy: Monsanto Emails: ‘Let’s Beat the S*** out of’ Moms Worried About Cancer-Linked Weedkiller’

I’d like to bring your attention to a piece published by the Environmental Working Group that also shed light behind the mentality of this company as well as their employees… Reprinted by Collective EvolutionGolden Age of Gaia

PFAS Contamination of Military Installations

Breitbart: Dingell: We Need To ‘Address’ Trump’s Nepa Rollback

According to the Environmental Working Group, forever chemicals have been detected in more than 1,400 communities, across 49 states, including near 400 military installations. 

PFAS Contamination of Soil 

Star Tribune (Minneapolis): 3M will drill, test for PFAS contamination at Alabama school site

Even so, the finding of more PFAS in Alabama soil has caused concern. In recent years, PFAS contamination plumes have been discovered at 1,361 sites nationwide, according to the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy firm. Reprinted by Bradenton Herald (Fla.)The Fresno Bee (Calif.)Belleville News-Democrat (Ill.)Independent Record (Helena, Mont.)Journal Gazette & Times-Courier (Mattoon, Ill.); 30+ other media outlets

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Fortune: These $50 ‘Strawberries’ Are Popping Up on Michelin-Starred Menus

If the Environmental Working Group's annual "Dirty Dozen" list—which highlights the fruits and vegetables found to have the highest amount of pesticide residue—is of any indication, the potential for variation is pretty vast.

The Independent: 20 pledges: This year, I’m building and growing an urban garden full of fruit and vegetables

Sweet summer strawberries, beautiful bell peppers and juicy red tomatoes all topped the list in the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen: an annual report outlining which crops contained the most of pesticides like permethrin, a neurotoxic insecticide, that year. Reprinted by Yahoo!

Chemicals News: Continued pesticide use ENDANGERS farm workers and children… why are the risks still being ignored?

For example, you should buy organic produce as much as possible, especially those foods that appear on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list

Natural News: Continued pesticide use ENDANGERS farm workers and children…why are the risks still being ignored?

For example, you should buy organic produce as much as possible, especially those foods that appear on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list

The Warrick County Standard (Boonville, Ind.): A realistic guide to organic food

According to the food and health resource the Environmental Working Group, certain fruits and vegetables are more likely to feature residual pesticides than others.

Washington’s Top News: Garden Plot: What to keep in mind on your next grocery store run

To help you make use of this important finding, the Environmental Working Group annually publishes their “Dirty Dozen,” the foods where you’re better off buying organic.

EWG Guide to Sunscreen

The List: Surprising ingredients found in your sunscreen

Environmental Working Group, or EWG, says that because of this, the FDA is now looking to propose changes to how sunscreen ingredients will be tested for safety, and that is to include studies on whether ingredients actually penetrate our skin to cause more harm than good

Tap Water Database Update

UPI: 5% of bladder cancer in Europe linked to contaminated tap water

An analysis by the non-profit Environmental Working Group has identified communities in 32 states in which the drinking water has total THM levels above this legal limit. Reprinted by Breitbart

PFAS in Tap Water

Business Insider: Scientists found a new way to get ‘forever chemicals’ linked to cancer out of our water. They’re in the bloodstreams of 99% of Americans.

But environmental groups have expressed concern that the limit is too high when it comes to PFAS. (The nonprofit Environmental Working Group endorses a limit of one part per trillion). 

Reprinted by IndilensMSN

Wired: Scientists Fight Back Against Toxic ‘Forever’ Chemicals

At some level, we all share that uncertainty. The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization, has identified 610 PFAS-contaminated locations in 43 states.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: DeWine to sign job training bill: Capitol Letter

According to the Environmental Working Group, PFAS chemicals have been found in drinking water in Ohio communities including Cleveland Heights and Struthers, and on military bases including Camp Ravenna and Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

Detroit Free Press: State of Michigan sues 17 companies over PFAS contamination

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

Traverse City Record Eagle (Mich.): Editorial: We appreciate the effort to hold polluters accountable

What makes us “special” in this case is currently being home to more documented PFAS sites — 192 — than any other state, according to the Environmental Working Group.

 

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