EWG news roundup (10/1): EWG VERIFIED™ highlighted in Walmart’s Built for Better program, EPA ‘forever chemicals’ plan omits thousands of dischargers and more

EWG VERIFIED™ is featured in Walmart’s Built for Better, a program launched last week that will help shoppers find healthier, more sustainable products. Through Built for Better, America’s largest retailer will feature personal care products, cleaners and other items that have earned the highly sought EWG VERIFIED™ mark.

“We are delighted that Walmart has selected the EWG VERIFIED mark to include in its effort to feature products that meet the highest independent standards for well-being and sustainability,” said EWG President Ken Cook.

“When Walmart shoppers see the Built for Better icon on a product that has earned the EWG VERIFIED mark, they will immediately know that, in addition to meeting our industry-leading benchmarks for health, it is also one of the products identified by Walmart as built better for you,” he said.

EWG highlighted how the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to regulate some industrial discharges of the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS into our drinking water falls short.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee released a troubling report that found major baby food producers are failing to take adequate steps to protect babies from toxic metals.

“This is what happens when you let the food and chemical companies, not the FDA, decide whether our food is safe to eat,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “For too long, the FDA has allowed food and chemical companies to exploit loopholes to taint our food with ‘forever chemicals,’ jet fuel and toxic metals like lead and arsenic.”

Finally, EWG applauded lawmakers in California for proclaiming October 2021 Children’s Environmental Health Month, which is intended to raise awareness about the importance of cleaner air and water, safer food and healthier products to protect children.

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

Toxic metals in baby food

Common Dreams: Congressional Report on Toxic Metals in Baby Food Spurs Demand for FDA Action

"This is what happens when you let the food and chemical companies, not the FDA, decide whether our food is safe to eat," said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at Environmental Working Group (EWG), in a statement. Reprinted by Alaska Native News, EcoWatch; Red Green and Blue.

Organic Consumers: Congressional Report on Toxic Metals in Baby Food Spurs Demand for FDA Action

“This is what happens when you let the food and chemical companies, not the FDA, decide whether our food is safe to eat,” said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at Environmental Working Group (EWG), in a statement. “The baby food industry has consistently cut corners and put profit over the health of babies and children.”

Press event: EPA’s PFAS roadmap

WHYY (Philadephia, Pa.): Environmental group sets its hopes high for EPA’s coming PFAS ‘roadmap’

“Communities have waited more than 20 years for EPA to act,” said Environmental Working Group’s Scott Faber. “EPA first became aware of the risks posed by PFAS at least as early as 1998. And that’s why we’re so excited to finally see a roadmap that treats this emergency like an emergency.” Reprinted by StateImpact Pennsylvania; Spot On New Jersey; Spot On Pennsylvania; Flipboard

WIZM News Talk (La Crosse, Wis.) Environmental group hopeful for government action against PFAS

The Environmental Working Group says the Biden White House has done more in 8 months to fight PFAS pollution than President Trump did in 4 years.

FDA order for sunscreens rules

Chemical & Engineering News: US FDA questions safety of sunscreens, again

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy organization, claims that some of the chemicals are potential endocrine disruptors. “Sunscreen chemicals like oxybenzone pose significant health concerns, but the sunscreen industry continues to bury its head in the sand,” Scott Faber, the EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs, says in a statement.

MedPage Today: FDA Issues Orders Clarifying Rules for Marketing Sunscreens

"Sunscreen chemicals like oxybenzone pose significant health concerns, but the sunscreen industry continues to bury its head in the sand," Scott Faber, EWG's senior vice president for government affairs, said in the release. "We're grateful the FDA continues to demand basic data on the health effects of these chemicals."

Algae blooms

Northwest Public Broadcasting (WSU): Columbia River Toxic Algae: Experts Say Fix What’s Causing It

“So, it’s been a problem for many many years, but it’s definitely getting worse,” says Anne Schechinger, with the Environmental Working Group, a watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C. She says there aren’t many federal or state regulations around algae, just Environmental Protection Agency recommendations for some levels. Reprinted by KUOW (UW); Oregon Public Radio

Black farmers

USA Today: Black farmers accuse the USDA of racism. The USDA appears to agree and vows to address 'historical discrimination.'

The Land Loss and Reparations Project, a research team, and Farm Bill Law Enterprise, an academic initiative of several law schools, found last year that almost 97% of payments meant to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and 99% of payments meant to offset the impact of the U.S.-Chinese trade war went to white farmers, according to summaries compiled by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research organization.

Body burden

Inverse: These everyday household chemicals may explain why you can't lose weight

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of items these chemicals are in, but there are resources to guide you, Shah says. “I also like to use ewg.org as a resource if I’m not sure about something.”

California public health goals for PFOA and PFOS

InsideEPA: ACC Queries Cancer Study California Using To Justify PFOA Health Goal(subscription)

These proposed public health goals -- of 1 part per trillion or lower -- are protective of cancer over a lifetime of exposure to drinking water, and they’re much lower than the EPA’s lifetime health advisory limit of 7 ppt,” said Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), during the workshop. “So this is great that we’re setting stringent public health goals to protect against the increased risk of cancer, and also the numerous adverse health harms associated with PFOA and PFOS.”

Cleaning products

Fortune: Reinventing the plastic bottle is the next frontier of sustainable laundry (subscription)

Samara Geller, a senior healthy living science analyst who manages the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Guide to Healthy Cleaners, said the science has evolved.

Treehugger: The 7 Best Natural Carpet Cleaners of 2021

The spray contains no chlorine, added colors, or scents…The mostly mild ingredients earn this spray a grade of “A” from EWG.

Lifehacker: Dryer Sheets Suck (Use These Alternatives Instead)

In an interview with Apartment Therapy, Samara Geller, a senior healthy living science analyst at the Environmental Working Group, noted dryer sheets contain quaternary ammonium compounds (QACS), which have been shown to cause or worsen asthma and skin irritations.

Reviewed: The Best Toilet Bowl Cleaners of 2021

The Seventh Generation Toilet Bowl Cleaner is also the only product we tested that received an A rating from the Environmental Working Group and a mention on the EPA’s Safer Choice list.

Cosmetics marketed to Black women

Byrdie: Āether Beauty Launches a Clean "Golden Supernova" Highlighter Formulated for Deep Skin Tones

A report by the Environmental Working Group shared the alarming statistic that one in 12 beauty and personal care products marketed to Black women are ranked highly hazardous.

Skin Deep® cosmetics database

Healthline: What Is Amodimethicone and What Hair Types Is It Suited To?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) lists several hair care products that contain amodimethicone, including: conditioner, shampoo, hair coloring and bleaching…

Byrdie: Ingredient Checkers: Websites to Check Your Beauty Products

EWG's Skin Deep database currently contains information and online hazard assessments for over 74,000 products. Staff scientists compare the ingredients on product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases.

Reader’s Digest: 12 Best Non-Toxic Nail Polishes for 2021

In 2015, a widely quoted study co-authored by researchers at Duke University and the Environmental Working Group reported evidence of a common nail polish chemical called triphenyl phosphate (TPHP). The chemical, a known endocrine disruptor that may interfere with hormone function, was found in the bodies of every single woman who painted her nails for the study. Reprinted by AOL; msn

EWG VERIFIED™: Cosmetics

Bustle: The 10 Best Cruelty-Free Shampoos On Amazon Right Now

If your scalp is prone to irritation, this unscented, sensitive shampoo from ATTITUDE is a great find…Not surprisingly then, it’s earned the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) seal of approval, too.   

Reader’s Digest: 30 Best Scented Candles to Make Your Home Smell Amazing

Henry Rose is all about using the cleanest, most natural ingredients, and this candle features the best-selling fragrance from the brand (which was founded by actress Michelle Pfeiffer). The first Environmental Working Group Verified and Cradle to Cradle Certified fine fragrance brand.

Farm subsidy database

DTN: MN Farmer Charged With Crop Ins. Fraud

According to the Environmental Working Group's farm subsidy database, Nelson's farm has received $1.97 million in subsidies from USDA from 1995 to 2020.


Chicago Tribune: Toxic foam dumped into southern Illinois coal mine in unsuccessful attempt to extinguish underground fire

“Potential environmental impacts are tremendous, especially if the foam is not contained,” said Melanie Benesh, an attorney for the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization pushing to ban the chemicals. “PFAS can seep into groundwater where it won’t break down. If the contaminated groundwater is a source of drinking water, then residents may be exposed to PFAS.” Reprinted by St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Sacramento Bee, Bakersfield Californian, The World News and 10 other media outlets.

Popular Science: The Brilliant 10: The most innovative up-and-coming minds in science

According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, as of January 2021 there are more than 2,000 sites across the US with documented PFAS contamination. Seven states already enforce limits on the chemicals in their drinking water—with more to follow.

PFAS in cosmetics

WSPA 7 News: What’s in your makeup: How to spot toxic ingredients

EWG has an online database called SKIN DEEP that analyzes chemicals from hundreds of cosmetics so consumers know any potential toxins. Reprinted by Fox 4 (Kansas City); WNCT (Greenville, N.C.)Siouxland Proud

Yahoo! News: Better At Oral Health: 5 easy tips for better oral hygiene

According to the Environmental Working Group, PFAS "build up in our bodies and never break down in the environment. Very small doses of PFAS have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, and other diseases."

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Newsweek: US Analysis Finds Traces of 450 Pesticides in Popular Fruits and Vegetables

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a "dirty dozen" list that names the produce with the highest levels of pesticides. Among this year's Environmental Working Group (EWG) "Dirty Dozen" list includes strawberries, spinach, apples, grapes, cherries, and tomatoes among others.

MSN: The oranges and grapes we eat are infested with pesticides

Although these tests were carried out only in the United Kingdom, we know that the use of pesticides in conventional agriculture remains very important in other countries. Each year, the American NGO Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes its list of the most polluted produce, nicknamed "The Dirty Dozen," in a nod to the 1967 film by Robert Aldrich. Reprinted by Malay Mail; Noovel

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

The List: 12 Sunscreens That Are Free Of Oxybenzone

Per Health, oxybenzone is an ingredient that's commonly used in sunscreens and not only contributes to damaging the sea's coral but can also negatively impact your health. According to research from the FDA, there is growing evidence that this chemical may disrupt the body's hormone system (via Environmental Working Group).

Byrdie: Quercetin: The Little-Known Ingredient That Could Reduce the Harmful Effects of UV Radiation

Quercetin has no known side effects and is rated as a low hazard by the Environmental Working Group. Robinson says quercetin can be safely used topically by most skin types, although those with sensitive skin should proceed more slowly.

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