EWG news roundup (9/17): Green hydrogen as affordable way to combat the climate crisis, algae blooms causing ER trips and more

This week, EWG released an analysis of green hydrogen – a leading clean energy technology that can accelerate the transition from dirty, dangerous and water-guzzling power sources like coal and nuclear power to reliable, affordable energy that helps tackle the climate crisis.

As the Covid-19 pandemic and Dixie wildfire rage on in California, the leadership of the state’s largest investor-owned electric utility Pacific Gas & Electric has quietly set itself a different priority: a great big pay raise.

“This company’s egregious mismanagement has destroyed entire communities, killed scores of people and left their loved ones to pick up the pieces,” said EWG President Ken Cook.

“Helping them rebuild and go on with their lives should be PG&E’s priority – not increasing the wealth of its board and investors,”  Cook added.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that harmful algae blooms caused 321 emergency room visits between 2017 and 2019. The blooms identified in the report, including blue-green algae and red tides, are caused by nitrogen and phosphorous pollution that often comes from agricultural runoff.

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

Children’s health

UPI: PFAS 'forever chemicals' may affect ability to breastfeed, study finds

As so-called "forever chemicals," PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are manmade chemicals used as oil and water repellents and coatings for common products such as cookware, carpets and textiles, as well as in cosmetics, according to the Environmental Working Group.

EWG’s water atlas

Waverly Newspapers (Iowa): Water atlas maps area water quality

The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group, unveiled its innovative water atlas, which shows a close link between heavily fertilized cropland in four Upper Mississippi River Basin states – Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin – and nutrient pollution endemic to the region’s waterways and drinking water supply.

PFAS in firefighters’ protective gear

WDel.com (Del.): Budget reconciliation bill contains $80M to help firefighters purchase PFAS-free gear

Kelly expressed support for outfitting departments with new PFAS-free gear, during a virtual news conference held by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit activist group that's been fighting to raise awareness about the dangers of PFAS chemicals.

EWG staff: John Reeder

Agri-Pulse: Farm Hands on the Potomac: Biden selects Trevino as next ag trade negotiator

John Reeder has joined the Environmental Working Group as vice president for federal affairs. Reeder brings 30 years of experience working at the Environmental Protection Agency, including as the deputy chief of staff to Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who is now President Joe Biden’s domestic climate adviser.

Algae blooms

The Fishing Wire: Shenandoah River’s Algae Woes Worsen

In the Bay region, a 2015 study found that harmful blooms were occurring more frequently than they had 20 years before. Blooms across the country have been the subject of nearly 400 news reports so far this year, according to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which has tracked a rise in such reports over the last decade.

The Harvard Press: Consider This: What’s happening with Bare Hill Pond?

According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that specializes in exposing the presence of toxic chemicals in consumer products and in drinking water, 51 lakes and ponds in Massachusetts reported algal blooms this summer, and most of them occurred in July, not mid-August.

Cleaning products

Food & Beverage Reporter: How to pick ‘green’ cleaning products for your home

“Also, avoid labels that have words like flammable, poison, danger and corrosive,” she adds. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group has a label decoder that explains technical terms and cleaning ingredients.

Mamavation: Safest Non-Toxic Dish Soap Liquid & Bar Soaps 2021

Our friends at the Environmental Working Group took a look at most of the popular cleaning products like dish soaps, cleaning solutions, and laundry detergents several years ago.

Clean beauty

New Beauty: Why Everyone Is Talking About Clean Skin-Care Brand OSEA Malibu

Known for their all-natural ingredients, and cruelty-free, vegan and gluten-free products using their proprietary seaweed formulation, they’ve been producing clean and green cult favorites since before those buzzy words were in our lexicon. They were also the first first-ever company to sign the Environmental Working Group’s Compact for Safe Cosmetics pledge.

Skin Deep® cosmetics database

Treehugger: The 8 Best Mosquito Bite Treatments of 2021

Calamine lotion is a well-established treatment and this formula is made with ingredients that all get good grades from the science-backed consumer watchdog Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Endocrine disruptors

The Epoch Times: The 12 Worst Endocrine Disruptors in Your Body

Unfortunately, endocrine disruptors are in many products, as the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors reveals. The list includes the worst endocrine disruptors.

EWG VERIFIED™: Cosmetics

HAPPI: Codex Earns New Patents For Compositions in Antu Skincare Line

The Antu products are certified MyMicrobiome, Vegan, Leaping Bunny, EWG Certified and EcoCert COSMOS natural. All products in the line have undergone rigorous efficacy testing and are packaged in negative carbon footprint, airless, touchless tubes. 

Bold TV: Clean Beauty: How To Stay Safe And Look Your Best

Activist groups such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) make it their mission to ensure products are clean and safe to use for consumers.

Food Scores database

Mind Body Green: Is Your Vitamin D Supplement Sustainable? A PhD & RD Nutrition Scientist Explains

Though lanolin is a perfectly acceptable and quality source for the vitamin D3 found in supplements and doesn't pose any significant safety concerns, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), it does come from an animal product (i.e., shearing of wool).

Insect repellent

Boomer Survive and Thrive Guide: How to prevent mosquito bites

The product should contain a maximum of 10 percent DEET, 20 percent Picaridin, or 20 percent IR3535 for children, according to the Environmental Working Group. Don’t use insect repellants on children under 3 years old. Don’t use aerosols insect repellants.

Letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on salmonella and campylobacter illnesses

Food & Beverage Insider: Coalition to USDA: reform needed to reduce Salmonella, Campylobacter illnesses

The letter also was signed by the CEO of Stop Foodborne Illness, a nonprofit public health organization; several people who had fallen ill to Salmonella or Campylobacter…and Environmental Working Group; and the CEO of The Robach Group LLC.

Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health

The New Republic: The Case for Meatless Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

In short, Meatless Mondays was achievable: harm reduction at its best. And the impact of not eating meat or cheese for one day a week in the United States is clear: According to the Environmental Working Group, it’s like taking 7.6 million cars off the road.  

Organic food

Organic Authority: New Study Examines Organic Processed Food Vs. Conventional, Which is Healthier?

A new peer-reviewed study by EWG scientists has just become the first to delve into just how much healthier organic processed foods are than non-organic processed foods. And the answer is… a lot.


Inside EPA: Environmentalists Seek To Toughen FDA’s PFAS Tests Along EPA Lines

Similarly, Environmental Working Group (EWG) wrote in a release attacking FDA’s findings that the agency “applied a ‘limit of detection’ -- the minimum amount of a substance that can confidently be reported as greater than zero -- that likely conceals the presence of PFAS in food.”

Public News Service: PFAS: A Plague for Humans, Especially Firefighters

Scott Faber, senior vice president of Government Affairs for the Environmental Working Group, said the accumulation of PFAS in the human body is known to wreak havoc.

PFAS compounds in the Chesapeake Bay

Global Research: Germans, Japanese, and Marylanders Are Poisoned by the U.S. Military

This stuff is poison. The Environmental Working Group says we ought to keep the consumption of these chemicals below 1 ppt daily in our drinking water. More importantly, the European Food Safety Authority says 86% of the PFAS in humans is from the food we consume, especially the seafood.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

C|net: Is organic food worth the hype? 8 shocking truths about your fresh produce

Every year, the Environmental Working Group, a third-party organization that conducts annual tests on a variety of foods for pesticide residue levels, reports which have the most residue (the Dirty Dozen list) and the least (the Clean Fifteen).

Organic Authority: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Date-Sweetened Apple Bars (Your New Snack Obsession)

Although these fruits are beyond awesome, apples always have a top spot on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen, meaning conventional apples can be riddled with pesticide residues.

Yahoo!: Forget Whole Foods — Walmart is stocked with healthy, fresh organic produce at affordable prices

Every year, the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit that advocates for a cleaner, healthier, environment, releases a list of the “Dirty Dozen,” the 12 foods that have the highest rates of ingestible chemicals found in them.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

The Skincare Edit: What Is Mineral Sunscreen? How It Works, Why It’s Better and How to Choose the Best Formula to Protect Your Skin

What's more, the Environmental Working Group's latest report found that 75% of sunscreens don't even meet their own protection claims, especially against UVA—leaving you vulnerable to sunburn, skin cancer and premature aging.

Tap Water Database

The Tot: How To Sustain a Non-Toxic Lifestyle Without Breaking the Bank

According to the Environmental Working Group, millions of Americans are drinking water with unsafe amount of pollutants, which is why it is so important to filter the water your family drinks and uses for cooking.

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