EWG News and Analysis
The latest from EWG’s staff of experts >>
EWG News Roundup (10/23): Inside the FDA’s Failure To Ban Toxic Hair Straighteners, How the Supreme Court Could Dismantle Environmental Law and More
Drawing on internal government records provided by EWG, the New York Times published a bombshell report documenting the tug of war inside the Food and Drug Administration and how scientists at the agency tried and failed to ban formaldehyde in popular hair-smoothing treatments, also known as “Brazilian blowouts.”
EWG obtained emails from scientists at the FDA in 2015 and 2016 that show increasing frustration about the agency’s efforts to regulate toxic chemicals in cosmetics – a step along the timeline of the FDA’s failure to address these hair treatments.
“These emails show the glacial pace of regulating chemicals that are known to cause harm,” said EWG Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh. “FDA scientists knew exposure to formaldehyde from these hair treatments was linked to serious health issues. They tried and failed to issue a formaldehyde ban – all the while continuing to receive reports of health harms from consumers and stylists.”
Next week, the Senate will almost certainly vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. With her confirmation and the current makeup of the court, the Environmental Protection Agency could see its authority to enforce nearly all major environmental laws severely hobbled and its ability to introduce future public health initiatives significantly diminished under a much more conservative court.
Eighteen month ago, the EPA announced a plan to address the crisis of the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS. So far, the plan has accounted for very little. On Facebook Live, Benesh broke down this failure and the many other PFAS failures of the Trump administration.
Here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.
But disposable diapers aren't uniformly labeled, and they're weakly regulated, meaning specific ingredients or materials can vary vastly from brand to brand, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
According to the Environmental Working Group, 25% of children consume foods that contain artificial sweeteners, and of those children, 80% of them consume them daily.
The first-of-their-kind baby wipes are certified by the Environmental Working Group and share a chemical-free experience for babies with sensitive skin.
The Food and Drug Administration has allowed Brazilian Blowout and similar products, called keratin treatments, to remain on the market despite the recommendations of its own scientists, according to internal agency emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the advocacy group Environmental Working Group and shared with The New York Times.
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit that advocates for environmental and human health, requested any of the FDA's internal correspondence on the matter, but the agency hasn't fulfilled that request to this day.
EWG’s Healthy Living App Update
If, however, you aren't necessarily allergic to anything but want to avoid toxins, consider downloading the Environmental Working Group's Healthy Living app on your phone.
If you haven’t tried their Healthy Living App yet, you scan your product and find out what is good (or not so good) about it. They make it so easy (and a little addictive) to know if your products are safe.
Trump’s Farmer Bailout
The Environmental Working Group, a health and environmental advocacy group, called the program “old-fashioned vote buying,” saying it did not send money to groups truly at risk.
In April, when commodity prices fell through the floor due to the demand destruction from the pandemic, the Environmental Working Group, which advocates for a healthier future for everything from farms to fracking, said federal stimulus wasn’t enough to support farmers.
Together, the two programs have pumped a staggering $37.9 billion into farm economies around the country, according to USDA data and the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that has long tracked farm subsidies.
Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Nomination
On October 6, 2020, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights released an open letter urging the Senate not to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court. The following groups co-signed the letter… Environmental Working Group
"The term can be misleading, as 'natural' products often contain plenty of hazardous chemicals and undisclosed ingredients," Samara Geller, a senior research and database analyst for the environmental watchdog group Environmental Working Group (EWG), tells mindbodygreen.
To steer clear of potentially harmful chemicals, experts recommend choosing from the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) list of healthy kitchen cleaners.
Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database
GQ: Any resources you can suggest to become better informed? JVN: The Environmental Working Group’s Skindeep data base at ewg.org/skindeep.
The nonprofit Environmental Working Group does a pretty comprehensive evaluation of the health and environmental bonafides of skincare products and cosmetics every year, and you can use it as a starting point when evaluating the merits of any product you’re thinking of ordering.
The deodorant is made from natural ingredients and 100 percent natural essential oils. In addition, each ingredient is selected by hand based on its safety assessment by the environmental working group.
There are also helpful apps (for example, Skin Deep, created by the Environmental Working Group, and ThinkDirty) that allow you to quickly and easily access complete ingredient information about a product.
“Your face has different needs,” she explains, brushing an exfoliating treatment onto her chin and her nose, a calming concoction under her eyes, and hydrating and brightening formulas atop her cheeks—all of which are Environmental Working Group verified.
The line's energy is light and fun, but the formula development process was anything but breezy. "All of our items are Environmental Working Group verified," she says. "I sat at their conference table and they take themselves so seriously. I'm so glad they do because I need someone to be serious about what's going on my skin and in my body.".
The capsule collection, aptly titled "One of One," is an EWG (Environmental Working Group)-verified and dermatologist-tested line of skincare and makeup products now available for pre-sale and available November 16.
According to a report released this summer by the Waterkeeper Alliance and Environmental Working Group, between 2012 and 2019, the estimated number of chickens and turkeys in Duplin, Sampson, and Robeson counties increased by 36 percent to 113 million, compared to only 17 percent in the rest of the state.
Nitrate Water Pollution
Furthermore, nitrate pollution in drinking water may be responsible for 12,500 cases of cancer per year in the US, as well as low birth rates and preterm births, according to a 2019 study from the Environmental Working Group.
PFAS in Drinking Water
“The American people and the residents of New Jersey should be outraged,” says Dave Andrews, senior scientist at the advocacy organization Environmental Working Group. “Recent studies found previously unknown PFAS compounds in soil and drinking water near a Solvay chemical manufacturing plant,” Andrews added.
Back home, the findings of an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study helped lead the nonprofit watchdog organization to posit that PFASs are probably detectable in “all major water supplies” in the U.S.
Many environmental groups and health experts have similar reservations about engaging in a process about which little is known. Researchers with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) authored an upcoming December study in the journal Chemosphere analyzing numerous studies on PFAS disposal.
Industry research is emerging alongside outside reports by environmental groups and others. In an upcoming study already available online in the journal Chemosphere, experts with the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found groundwater contamination from older landfills remains a concern. Their report concludes methods ensuring safe disposal of PFAS are unknown, even as landfills present a potentially safer option than incineration.
“It’s not an ‘either or’ issue,” said Melanie Benesh, a legislative and regulatory attorney with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy organization with a major focus on PFAS. “We certainly have to think about ways to remediate, ways to get PFAS out of the environment. But we also can’t keep adding to all the pollution that’s already out there.”
Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
Non-organic apples consistently rank high in the Environmental Working Group’s annual “dirty dozen” list of produce containing high amounts of pesticides.
You don’t have to buy everything organic — check out the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list to learn which fruits and veggies are best purchased organic due to high pesticide levels.
The acids present in vinegar help to kill off harmful bacteria, so many people use it to clean things, including fruit. Strawberries top the list of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen almost every year (meaning they are sprayed with more toxic chemicals than any other produce item), so cleaning them with vinegar is particularly important.
EWG Guide to Sunscreens
Purito uses ingredients that are EWG Green Level Grades 1 and 2, so it is perfect for sensitive or reactive skin like mine.
Tap Water Database
Last week, a peer-reviewed study by scientists from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) was published in the Environmental Science and Technology Letters journal that showed that more than 200 million Americans could be drinking water that is contaminated with toxic fluorinated chemicals called PFAS.