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EWG News Roundup (6/12): Landmark California Cosmetics Bill Clears Hurdle, COVID-19 Afflicts Food Processors and More

In the News
Friday, June 12, 2020

This week lawmakers in California passed AB 2762, the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, out of the Assembly with a resounding 54-0 vote. The bill would ban 12 toxic ingredients, including mercury and formaldehyde, from the beauty and personal care products that Californians use every day. 

“More than 40 nations, including the European Union’s member states, have enacted strong prohibitions on the use of harmful chemicals in cosmetics,” noted Susan Little, senior advocate for the Environmental Working Group. “Californians deserve to be protected against unsafe products too. AB 2762 would make sure that personal care products sold in California do not contain some of the most toxic chemicals that are already banned from cosmetics sold in other countries.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, EWG took a look at food processing facilities and found that almost 1,200 workers at 60 plants across the nation have been infected by the coronavirus.

Temperatures are ramping up across the nation, and so are reports of toxic algae blooms. Stir-crazy Americans seeking time outdoors in or near ponds, lakes, rivers, streams and beaches should watch out for this public health threat.

And finally, EWG broke down a landmark federal lawsuit that went to trial this week that challenges the longstanding practice of adding fluoride to the drinking water supplies of 200 million Americans.

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

Children’s Health

Business Insider-Reviews: I use this gentle baby balm to ease my toddler's skin irritation when her eczema flares up

On top of that, all of their products carry the Environmental Working Group's EWG Verified guarantee that they do not contain potentially harmful ingredients.

Moms.com: Top Deet-Free Bug Sprays That Work To Keep Kids Bite-Free

According to the Environmental Working Group, a bug spray containing between 5-10% concentration of picaridin can protect against ticks and mosquitoes for anywhere from five to 12 hours, while a spray with a 20% concentration can provide protection all day.

Motherhood Moment: Healthy Habits: 5 Facts to Know Before Buying Sunscreen for Your Baby

It’s also a form of synthetic estrogen, and according to the Environmental Working Group causes a disruption in your hormones.

New York Family: The Best Kid-Friendly Sunscreens for Summer 2020

Tropic Sport has also scored #2 on the EWG, making it a sunscreen that has a lower hazard ranking! 

AB 2762: California Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act

Happi: California Assembly Approves Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act

The Environmental Working Group, CALPIRG, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and Black Women for Wellness are co-sponsors of the bill.

EWG’s COVID-19 and Food Processing Facilities Report

Bloomberg News: More Food Shortages Loom With Outbreaks at 60 U.S Plants

At least 60 food-processing facilities outside the meatpacking industry have seen outbreaks, with more than 1,000 workers diagnosed with the virus, according to a new study from Environmental Working Group.

Daily Mail (U.K.): Food shortages loom as more than 1,000 workers in at least 60 processing plants have been diagnosed with coronavirus

According to new data compiled by the Environmental Working Group, coronavirus outbreaks in food processing plants are not yet as pervasive as they are in meatpacking facilities but are still on the rise.

Agri-Pulse: Daybreak June 10: Two years of depressed farm profits forecast

The Environmental Working Group reports that 1,200 workers at 60 food processing plants outside meatpacking have been infected by the virus since mid-March. 

Memphis Commercial Appeal (Tenn.): If COVID-19 sickens Kroger workers, many of us will go hungry. Their lives matter

Now, according to the Environmental Working Group, the coronavirus is spreading among other food workers.

Powder Bulk and Solids: How COVID-19 Impacts the Food Processing Workforce

new report released this week by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) states that some 1,200 food processing workers in the United States have contracted the virus at 60 plants.

Trump Administration Farm Bailout

The New York Times: Farmers Get Billions in Virus Aid, and Democrats Are Wary

The Environmental Working Group, a consumer watchdog organization, raised yet another problem endemic to many subsidy programs: The biggest farms receive most of the money.

Algae Blooms

The Counter: Gulf fishers brace for a “dead zone” the size of Connecticut and Delaware

“We’re really seeing dead zones, and algae blooms in general, become bigger and bigger as time goes on, and I think that has a lot to do with climate change,” says Anne Weir Schechinger, an economist with Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit and lobby that tracks algae blooms across the country.

Asbestos in Talc-Based Cosmetics

Well + Good: More and More Beauty Brands are Moving Away from Using Talc in Products

“Consumers face the risk of carcinogenic exposure when using talc contaminated with asbestos,” says Carla Burns, research and data analyst at Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (EWG).

Bug Repellents

Travel and Leisure: The 9 Best Bug Sprays for a Bite-free Outdoor Adventure

The CDC, Environmental Protection Agency, World Health Organization, and Environmental Working Group all recommend DEET-based products for heavy-duty protection against a wide range of pests. 

Cleaning Products

Salon: A flame retardant commonly found in vintage furniture may be affecting human sperm

Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit science foundation, studied the blood of 38 mothers and children and found that all 38 had PBB-153 in their blood. 

New York Post: Reviews-This UV-C wand kills 99.9 percent of bacteria in just seconds

According to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) investigation into more than 2,000 cleaning supplies, it found that many contain substances linked to serious health problems in otherwise healthy individuals

Licking County Concerned Citizens (Ohio): 5 Green Cleaning Products for Tackling Messy Homes

For starters, research cleaning products on a site like Environmental Working Group (EWG). This nonprofit evaluated more than 2,500 cleaning products and rated them on a scale of A to F according to an extensive methodology scale.

Rhode Island Monthly: Squeaky Clean: The Ultimate Guide to Cleansing Your Home

Definitions according to the Environmental Working Group, ewg.org.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Cosmopolitan: Liza Koshy Talks Clean Beauty, Quarantine Breakouts, Sunscreen, and More

Recently, Koshy sat down with Nneka Leiba, VP of Healthy Living Science at the Environmental Working Group, for a candid convo about just how important it is to take a peek at ingredients labels before you commit to a product.

Byrdie: Carbomers Are in Thousands of Skincare Products—Here's What They Do

According to the Environmental Working Group, carbomers are considered to be a very safe ingredient.

Medium: The Future Of Beauty: “Clean Beauty” With Agatha Luczo & Kim Walls of Furtuna Skin

In the non-profit sector, Kim has served as leader of the Retail Advisory Committee for the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Thrive Global: “Use a Selfie To Create Hyper-Customized Skin Care Products” With Candice Georgiadis & Navneet Kaur

These ingredients are 100% clean, have gone through stringent efficacy tests, and have a transparent supply chain with an EWG rating between 1–3.

Who What Wear – The Thirty: 35 Black-Owned Wellness Brands to Shop and Support

The brand is Leaping Bunny–certified and has favorable ratings from the Environmental Working Group.

EWG VERIFIED™

InStyle: 9 Zero-Waste Beauty Brands To Shop Now and Always

And in addition to being one of the founding members of the EWG Verified program, the brand donates 1.5% of its sales to support the work of the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

MindBodyGreen: 12 Best Natural & Clean Mascaras — Gorgeous Lashes In One Swipe

A newer clean brand on the market, this EWG-verified mascara has build-ability thanks to an ideal blend of organic non-GMO shea butter and responsibly sourced beeswax.

Yahoo! Lifestyle: The best ocean-inspired skincare to hydrate your skin - for under $90

Their EWG-Certified, broad-spectrum Squalene + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen is a powerful source of hydration for even the most sensitive skin, leaving no white cast behind.

EWG’s Meatpacking Plants and COVID-19 Map

USSA News: Carbon Cowboys Versus CAFOs

An analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that counties with meatpacking plants, or within a 15-mile radius, reported 373 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, which is close to double the U.S. average of 199 cases per 100,000.

EWG’s Minnesota CAFO Report

City Pages (Minneapolis): The water pollution problem in Minnesota is also a manure problem

Between 1995 and 2018, the average nitrate contamination in Minnesota's 72 agricultural counties’ drinking water had shot up by 61 percent on average, according to the Environmental Working Group.

PFAS Tap Water Contamination

Bloomberg Law: PFAS Cleanup Backers Face Unexpected Foe: Water Utilities

“I continue to be shocked that people charged with keeping our water clean have been among the most vocal opponents of getting PFAS out of our water, and are in many respects just as bad as many of the polluters whose mess they are charged with cleaning up,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs with the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization.

Inside EPA: Environment Panel Senators Press Wheeler On High-Profile Water Issues

Sanders asks Wheeler if he considers PFAS contamination to be a public health crisis, noting the Environmental Working Group estimates that over 110 million Americans may be currently drinking water that contains toxic levels of PFAS.

Baltimore Sun: Maryland to begin testing drinking water, Chesapeake Bay oysters for harmful ‘forever chemicals’ known as PFAS

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit focused on toxic chemicals and drinking water, detected chemicals at a concentration of 17.8 parts per trillion in Prince George’s County, below the EPA health guidance level but above what the group recommends as safe, a level of 1 part per trillion.

E&E News: Intense PFAS lobbying pits greens against water utilities

But advocacy organizations like the Environmental Working Group argue it's the utilities' responsibility to filter out contaminants in drinking water and that it's unlikely EPA will seek cleanup costs for PFAS contamination.

Environmental Science and Engineering Magazine: U.S. water utilities to spend $3 billion on PFAS reduction by 2030, report finds

The U.S. Environmental Working Group has found 28 bases with PFAS in drinking water at levels above those set by some state regulators.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Alt Health Works: Latest “Clean Fifteen” List for 2020 Warns Consumers On Three Little Known GMO Foods to Buy Organic Whenever Possible

The annual “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” list produced by the Environmental Working Group is one of the most sought-after resources for people who want to avoid eating foods that are sprayed heavily with pesticides that have been linked to large numbers of health problems.

Dr. Fuhrman: High pesticide residue levels on raisins

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) uses that data to rank fresh produce based on a collection of metrics, such as the percent of samples with detected pesticides, average number of pesticides found, and average concentration of pesticide.

The Garden City Telegram: You Docs

According to the Environmental Working Group, the side effects include disruption of brain development and problems with behavior.

Gwinnett Daily Post (Lawrenceville, Ga.): Daniel Blackman cruises to Democratic nod for Georgia Public Service Commission

He also worked with Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group to set a mandated federal standard for genetically modified foods.

The Healthy: 12 Organic Foods Nutritionists Don’t Waste Their Money On

But the nutrition varies greatly between foods and while it may be worth it to buy organic for foods on the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list, there are plenty of foods where conventional is just as good as organic, Kostro Miller says.

Texarkana Gazette: Three easy ways to reduce your exposure to environmental toxins

According to the Environmental Working Group, the side effects include disruption of brain development and problems with behavior.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Business Insider: The best sport sunscreen

"I am outdoors daily and purchased this product because it is one of the safer sunscreens according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG)."

Good Housekeeping: What the Proposed New FDA Sunscreen Rules Could Mean for You

The Environmental Working Group has advocated against one chemical ingredient particular. "For a decade, EWG has worked to raise concerns about sunscreens with oxybenzone, which is found in nearly all Americans, detected in breast milk, and potentially causing endocrine disruption," David Andrews, Ph.D., senior scientist at EWG, said in a statement.

Huff Post Canada: The Best Natural And Mineral Sunscreens For The Whole Family

As well as sampling a variety of products firsthand, we consulted the Environmental Working Group (EWG) consumer guide, for information in relation to their toxicity levels and company transparency.

MindBodyGreen: The 10 Best Mineral Sunscreens For Your Face — Options For Every Skin Tone

Top rated by the EWG for a decade and running, this lotion is for your intense outdoor days (think: hiking, running, and so forth).

Tap Water Database

Fair Warning: Courtroom Battle Could Lead to Limits on Fluoridation of Drinking Water

An analysis by the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization, found that about 30 million people receive tap water with fluoride levels higher than the CDC recommendation.

Healthline: Is Bottled or Tap Water Better for Your Health?

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), U.S. water regulations haven’t been updated in almost 20 years.

 

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