EWG news roundup (8/20): EPA bans the use of brain-damaging pesticide on food, USDA expands food assistance benefits and more

On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it will ban all uses of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food. Chlorpyrifos is known to harm brain development.

“The most important lesson for the public to take away from this decision is that the government insisted chlorpyrifos in our food was completely safe, right up until the moment when it was banned for being too dangerous,” said EWG President Ken Cook.

Earlier in the week, the Department of Agriculture announced an increase in the standard food stamp benefit for more than 40 million Americans who depend on the program.

“Cost can be a barrier to building a healthy diet,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “Although many healthy food choices are low-cost, the standard benefit has long been one barrier to making nutritious choices.”

EWG broke down the risks associated with the food additive titanium dioxide, an ingredient found in Skittles, Starburst and thousands of other sweet treats marketed to children.

And finally, there’s a backlog of farmers seeking federal assistance for conservation efforts that can protect drinking water supplies, but the billions of dollars allocated to the program aren’t flowing their way. The budget reconciliation bill that House and Senate Democrats are developing provides a once-in-a-generation chance to make farmland stewardship a priority.

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

Children’s health

Market Watch: I spent the summer trying out the safest sunscreens for kids, on my own kids. These 5 sunscreen lotions and sticks stand out

I tried more than a dozen different kids sunscreens this summer trying to find the right one: a sunscreen that got the highest marks (a 1 rating) from the Environmental Working Group, which reviews the safety and efficacy of consumer products, and that my kids, and myself, were OK with.

Environmental Protection Agency bans chlorpyrifos

U.S. News & World Report: EPA to Ban Use of Pesticide Linked to Health Problems in Children on Food Crops

"We strongly commend the Biden administration for taking this dangerous bug killer off the market," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "The most important lesson for the public to take away from today's decision is that the government insisted chlorpyrifos in our food was completely safe, right up until the moment when it was banned for being too dangerous. There are many, many other pesticides currently on the market with government approval that are manifestly unsafe and should be immediately banned or severely restricted." Reprinted by MSN.

Farm Progress: EPA revokes chlorpyrifos use on all food crops

Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook says, “The most important lesson for the public to take away from today’s decision is that the government insisted chlorpyrifos in our food was completely safe, right up until the moment when it was banned for being too dangerous.” Reprinted by Feedstuffs.

Green Matters: EPA Bans Controversial Pesticide Chlorpyrifos From Being Sprayed on Food

Chlorpyrifos is an insecticide used to grow a variety of row crops, including broccoli, cauliflower, fruit and nut trees, and soybeans. Additionally, when the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released the 2021 Dirty Dozen list earlier this year, the organization reported that chlorpyrifos was found on 10 percent of all basil, cilantro, frozen strawberries tested, hot peppers, and radishes tested.

Wireless radiation study

The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.): Close to Home: Let cities decide on wireless antennas

In July, the Environmental Working Group published a study that recommended new guidelines for exposure to radio-frequency radiation — the kind emitted by cellphones, routers and antennas. Focused on children’s health, the guidelines recommend that children’s exposure be 400 times lower than the current limit set by the Federal Communications Commission back in 1996.

Activist Post: American Attorney Interviewed About 5G Deployment and Insurance Claims

“So the medical experts out there who conducted or peer reviewed this study, the conclusion is that there appears to be some possible connection between these cell related frequencies and at least pre- cancerous developments. I won’t say that it’s been confirmed, but it raises concerns. Most recently, July of this year, the environmental groups, one of them in particular, The Environmental Working Group or EWG, issued a study result that confirmed or tracked some of these same results.” Reprinted by Russia News Now and USSA News.

Bug repellent

Bustle: Mosquito Repellents For Pregnancy, According To MDs

When it comes to choosing a mosquito repellent, DEET might have a bad rap, but Dr. Roshan explains, “There have been no studies to show adverse fetal outcomes when pregnant women use DEET containing insect repellent.” For long-lasting coverage, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends DEET concentrations of 20 to 30% for optimal safety during pregnancy.

California lead testing of licensed child care centers

CBS8: KFMP (San Diego, Calif.): Lead testing for child care drinking water

California regulators are launching their most health-protective program ever to test drinking water for lead in licensed child care facilities. Marcella Lee of KFMB interviewed Susan Little for story on California’s program to test the water of all licensed child care centers for lead.

Cleaning products

Best Life: Never Use Dryer Sheets With These Items, Experts Warn

Environmental Working Group's senior research and database analyst Samara Geller explained to Apartment Therapy that dryer sheets often include quaternary ammonium compounds (QACS). Geller said this chemical has been linked to long-term health problems such as cancer and reproductive issues, but noted that there haven't been enough studies to make a definitive conclusion. Reprinted by MSN.

KETK (Tyler, Texas): POISONED PROTECTION: Could dangerous chemicals be lurking in your hand sanitizer?

And the chief scientist at the Environmental Working Group tells us with products that are re-applied like hand sanitizer, consumers could be exposing themselves several times a day.

“So it seems pretty straightforward from a public health perspective. These are products that shouldn’t be on the market,” said Senior Scientist at Environmental Working Group David Andrews.

California nitrate report

Fresno Bee (Calif.): State agency identifies racial inequalities to help Valley towns lacking clean water

A 2020 report from the Environmental Working Group gave us data and published evidence that access to clean and affordable water “falls along racial lines” in part as a result of discriminatory land-use practices in California’s history and continues to persist in many ways.


Fashioinsita: Is 'Clean' Perfume the Solution to My Scent Sensitivity?

In 2010, the Environmental Working Group published an oft-cited report that found "secret" chemicals in popular perfumes, including chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, along with several that hadn't been assessed for safety at all. 

Healthy Living: Home Guide

Medical News Today: Blueair purifiers review: What to know

The Environmental Working Group recommends people use HEPA filters to filter their air, as these do not emit ozone gas, a toxic form of oxygen that can be dangerous for inhalation, according to a 2011 study.

PFAS in cosmetics

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: OPINION: Teflon might be in your makeup. Here’s what you should know

“(PFAS) are associated for most people with Scotchgard and nonstick pans, but these chemicals, the entire family of PFAS, have found incredible lifestyle use — food wrappers, treatment of clothing, upholstery. Cosmetics have gotten so much attention because these are products people are applying directly to their skin,“ said David Andrews, senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

PFAS in food packaging

Business Insider: How a nonprofit is working with retail giants like Whole Foods to ditch toxic 'forever chemicals' in products and packaging

In other words, what makes them useful in products makes them bad for the environment and bad for us — creating a pollution crisis that's been called a "public health emergency" by research and advocacy organization the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Free News Today; MSN

PFAS in water

Star Tribune: State finalizes payouts from Minnesota's $850 million 'forever chemicals' settlement with 3M

Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which has worked on PFAS issues for more than two decades, said the blueprint is good — but not enough. He said he's surprised Minnesota has not been more aggressive.

WFPL (Louisville, Ky.): ‘Concerning’ Levels Of Forever Chemicals Polluting Henderson, Ky.

The advocacy-oriented nonprofit Environmental Working Group has researched PFAS for decades. Senior scientist David Andrews said the levels found at Shamrock Technologies are on par with some of the most contaminated sites EWG has encountered. Reprinted by WKMS (Murray, Ky.); WKU (Western Kentucky University); WEKU (Richmond, Ky.)

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

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.”

The Spruce: 7 Fun Container Garden Projects Kids Will Love

Be aware that it's best to start with organic celery. According to the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen 2019 list of foods with the most pesticide residue, celery ranks in the top 12.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Mother Earth Living: Natural Summer Sunburn and Bug Bite Remedies

To steer clear of harmful chemicals in your sunscreen, visit The Environmental Working Group for information on ingredients, as well as safe, recommended brands. Other preventive measures include wearing a wide-brimmed hat and doing your relaxing under a beach umbrella.

The Optimist Daily: 6 Reef-safe sunscreens to protect you and marine life

This sunscreen doesn’t use any fragrances, allergens, GMOs, parabens, dyes, or artificial ingredients, and meets the strict safety guidelines of the Environmental Working Group and Protect Land + Sea. Plus, purchasing from Badger means supporting a women-run B Corporation.

Tap Water Database

Teen Kids News: Better At Back To School: Easy tips to take the stress out of heading back to class

By now most of us are aware of the benefits that come with using a water filter at home, but what about at school? According to the Environmental Working Group, tap water can contain more than 250 contaminants.

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