EWG news roundup (10/15): Calif. Gov. Newsom signs groundbreaking ‘forever chemicals’ bills, the FDA bans lead acetate in hair dyes and more

Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a measure establishing the strictest lead-leaching limit in the country for drinking water faucets, ensuring faucets and fixtures will be practically lead-free.

He also signed legislation banning some uses of the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. The first will ban PFAS in cribs, playpens and many children’s other products by July 1, 2023. The second bans PFAS from paper, paperboard or plant-based food packaging, utensils and paper straws, effective by the end of 2022.

In other PFAS news, EWG released an analysis based on Department of Defense records finding at least 13 military installations along the Gulf of Mexico have groundwater contaminated with high levels of PFAS.

A newly published study by EWG scientists found almost 42,000 potential sources of PFAS contamination that could be polluting surface water or drinking water in communities across the U.S. EWG found the facilities that appeared most often as possible sources of discharges were solid waste landfills, wastewater treatment plants, electroplaters and metal finishers, and petroleum refiners.

“It is critical that the EPA start regulating PFAS – now,” said David Andrews, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and a senior scientist at EWG. “Every community in the U.S. is likely affected by PFAS contamination, but those living near or downstream from industrial facilities may be more at risk.”

Last Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration announced a ban on the use of toxic lead acetate in consumer hair dyes.

“There is no safe level of lead exposure, which has been linked to developmental issues, reduced fertility, organ system toxicity, cancer and other serious health problems,” said EWG Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh. “We’re grateful for the FDA’s effort to protect public health from this source of exposure to one of the most hazardous chemicals known.”

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

Children’s health 

MSN: Clean Your Tot’s Mane With These Chemical-Free Kids’ Shampoos 

Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash… This Environmental Working Group-verified pick is packed full of organic, plant-based ingredients, including shea and cocoa butter. You don't have to worry about added fragrances and dyes, as this shampoo is all about delivering the good stuff without any of the unnecessary frills. 

Natural News: Baby Food Industry Knowingly Poisons Infants With Heavy Metals – Investigation 

Olga Naidenko, Environmental Working Group’s vice president for science investigations, said the FDA needs to stop making proposals and instead “set mandatory standards that baby food companies must meet.” “Parents should not have to wait,” Naidenko said, “and Congress should not wait, but instead set interim levels in the law that companies must meet right away.”

California Assembly Bill 652: PFAS ban in children’s products 

UPI: California bans 'forever chemicals' from children's products, food packaging 

According the nonprofit, nonpartisan Environmental Working Group, PFAS coating on children's products sloughs off with wear and can be inhaled by children as dust particles or directly ingested through their mouths.  

The Hill: Newsom signs laws banning 'forever chemicals' in children's products, food packaging 

Bill Allayaud, EWG’s director of California government affairs, praised Newsom “for giving parents confidence that the products they buy for their children are free from toxic PFAS.” 

The Hill: Overnight Energy & Environment: White House to restore parts of Trump-lifted environmental protections law 

“As a mother, it’s hard for me to think of a greater priority than the safety and well-being of my child,” said Friedman in a news release from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “PFAS have been linked to serious health problems, including hormone disruption, kidney and liver damage, thyroid disease and immune system disruption.

San Francisco Chronicle: California bans PFAS chemicals from baby products and food packaging 

“This law puts California in the lead for protecting children’s health,” Bill Allayaud, director of California government affairs for the nonprofit organization Environmental Working Group, said in a statement 

Study: Industrial discharges of PFAS

Daily Mail: Toxic 'forever chemicals' being leaked from nearly 42,000 sources like treatment plants and landfills could be polluting drinking water across the US, survey finds 

Researchers with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an anti-pollution activist organization, scanned public data in the EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History database to find potential sources of contamination of PFAS, or polyfluoroalkyl substances, in various communities’ water supply. 

The Hill: Study finds tens of thousands of 'forever chemical' sites in US

Toxic chemicals known as PFAS exist in almost 42,000 sites around the U.S., according to research released on Tuesday by the Environmental Working Group.

Science Times: Scientists Found Nearly 42,000 Toxic 'Forever' Chemicals That Could Contaminate Drinking Water 

Scientists from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) database of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and found almost 42,000 sources of toxic "forever chemicals" in the surface of drinking water across the United States. 

EcoWatch: Where Does PFAS Pollution Come From? New Study Identifies Nearly 42,000 Potential Sources 

"It is critical that the EPA start regulating PFAS – now," lead study author and Environmental Working Group (EWG) senior scientist David Andrews, Ph.D. said in a press release announcing the research. "Every community in the U.S. is likely affected by PFAS contamination, but those living near or downstream from industrial facilities may be more at risk." 

Common Dreams: Nearly 42,000 Sources of Toxic 'Forever Chemicals' Put US Drinking Water at Risk: Study 

In their peer-reviewed study, which was published in a special issue of Water Science, Environmental Working Group (EWG) scientists examined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Enforcement and Compliance History Online database to identify potential sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pollution in the nation's surface and drinking water.


Inside Climate News: Pollution from N.C.’s Commercial Poultry Farms Disproportionately Harms Communities of Color 

A 2020 report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a national nonprofit, found that Duplin, Sampson and Robeson counties together produced 1 million tons of poultry a year.

Carbon emissions 

The Fence Post: Conner: Vilsack wise to launch carbon market development initiative

Colin O’Neil, legislative director of the Environmental Working Group, said that, while the transportation industry has decreased its carbon footprint, carbon emissions are still rising in agriculture. 

Cleaning products

Country Living: 6 best eco-friendly soluble cleaning products 

Spruce Multipurpose Cleaner Starter Kit… Outer packaging is plastic-free, FSC-certified, printed with biodegradable ink and fully recyclable, all ingredients rated highly on the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Skin Deep® cosmetics database

Fox News: Halloween face paint tips to help protect your child’s sensitive skin 

Harris also recommends cosmetic ingredient databases that have been put together by the Environmental Working Group and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, so parents can review research beyond face paint color additives.

Better Homes and Gardens: 7 Of the Best Natural Beauty Products You Can Buy At A Drugstore 

I decided to start small. And that's exactly what Dr. Keira Barr, M.D., Founder and Chief Wellness Officer of Resilient Health Institute, says: "Start slow and do what feels comfortable." (Sources like EWG's Skin Deep and Think Dirty can help users navigate ingredient lists, Barr says.) 

MSN: Don’t buy personal care items with these words on the label 

But while Health Canada still considers petrolatum to be non-toxic, organizations like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in the United States do not agree. The problem is that petrolatum can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. 

The Zoe Report: Is It Time To Swap That Natural Perfume For A Synthetic? The Answer May Surprise You 

When Michelle Pfeiffer first set out to create her fragrance collection Henry Rose, she hoped it would be organic and plant-based, but quickly learned in discussions with the Environmental Working Group that synthetics can in some cases be less allergenic than certain natural ingredients. 

Endocrine disruptors 

Better Nutrition: Holistic Healing for Breast Cancer 

Many chemicals used in agriculture, body care products, food packaging, and plastic water bottles are estrogenic, called “xenoestrogens” or “estrogen mimics.”…Reduce exposure by avoiding plastic food and beverage containers, canned foods, and body products that contain these toxins. For a list of chemicals to watch out for, visit the Environmental Working Group. 

Environmental justice

NJ Today: Polluted tap water often plagues minority communities in America 

A peer-reviewed Environmental Working Group study shows how water quality data, community water system maps and demographic data such as race and ethnicity can help identify where cumulative cancer risks from polluted tap water plague communities already threatened by other environmental injustices. 

EWG VERIFIED®: Cosmetics 

Real Simple: I Shop Amazon for a Living, and These Are the 10 Things I'm Buying From Its Massive Beauty Sale

Considering that clean beauty products tend to be pricier than other options, I always stock up when they're on sale, which is why I'm snagging my everyday setting powder and a pretty eye shadow trio from one of my favorite EWG-verified brands, Mineral Fusion.

Good Food on a Tight Budget 

BuzzFeed: I Was Curious How Much My Grocery Plan From 2008 Would Cost Today So I Shopped It Again 

A good OG reference I came across is the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Good Food on a Tight Budget. There are also healthy food lists and recipe suggestions. (Pretty neat stuff.)


Bloomberg Law: DOD’s ‘Forever Chemicals’ Reached More Than 2,100 Farms

“The Defense Department is a bad neighbor,” which has yet to notify many more farmers about contamination to their water supply, said Jared Hayes, a policy analyst at the Environmental Working Group, which has worked on PFAS for 20 years.

Inside EPA: EPA Struggling To Craft PFAS Monitoring Methods For Future Air Rules

In a letter earlier this summer, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) pressed EPA to list PFAS, as a class of chemicals, as HAPs, clearing the path the Clean Air Act regulation. 

EcoWatch: 8 Best Non-Toxic Cookware Sets to Keep Your Food and Yourself Safe 

According to the Environmental Working Group, "PFAS chemicals pollute water, do not break down and remain in the environment and people for decades. Some scientists call them 'forever chemicals.'" 

Washington Examiner: Toxic foam used to put out Illinois coal mine fire, records show 

Melanie Benesh, an attorney for the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization pushing to ban the chemicals altogether, said 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 Newsbreak  

Baltimore Sun: Maryland to resume use of pesticide after EPA testing doesn’t detect PFAS 

This summer, a study released by the Environmental Working Group determined PFAS had been detected at several different military bases in Maryland bordering the Chesapeake Bay.

PFAS in cosmetics 

News Center Maine: Study finds toxic PFAS chemicals in makeup 

"Based on what we know about PFAS, they shouldn't be in products at all," David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group said. The national nonprofit has worked to restrict PFAS. Previously, Andrews worked with Graham Peaslee, the principal investigator of the Notre Dame study, in researching PFAS in food wrappers. 

Yahoo! Life: 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." 

PFAS in water 

The Wall Street Journal: A Crisis of Confidence in America’s Tap Water 

In 2016, Harvard University researchers analyzed an EPA survey of water systems and found that two PFAS chemicals exceeded federal health advisory levels in water systems for more than six million people, with the highest levels near industrial sites, military bases and wastewater treatment plants. PFAS have been found in nearly 2,800 communities and 328 military sites, according to the Environmental Working Group, an environmental nonprofit. 

The Hill: Congress must act swiftly to tackle the American clean water crisis 

The Environmental Working Group estimates that 200 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with PFAS.

Military Times: ‘Forever chemicals’ detected in groundwater from 13 DoD sites in Gulf of Mexico

According to Environmental Working Group (EWG), perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — known as PFAS — found in the groundwater adversely affect Gulf fish and residents who subsequently consume any contaminated seafood. 


Top Dog Tips: How Pooper Scoopers Are Saving Our Planet 

In the article Polluted Pets: High Levels of Toxic Industrial Chemicals Contaminate Cats And Dogs, EWG detailed the study’s findings of the high amounts of chemical contaminants, which likely came from several household sources, in our pets. 

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Parade: The Dirty Dozen—Everything You Need to Know About Avoiding Pesticides in Produce 

That said, conventionally-grown produce isn’t entirely innocent; nearly 70 percent of non-organic fresh produce sold in the U.S. contains the residue of potentially harmful chemical pesticides—and washing only does so much, according to the Environmental Working Group, which tests conventional produce every year to derive a list known as the “Dirty Dozen,” or 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables. 

Better Nutrition: Are You Eating Toxic Food? 

After hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens joined the Environmental Working Group’s campaign to get glyphosate out of our food, Kellogg’s announced plans to end the pre-harvest use of glyphosate in all of its crops by the end of 2025. 

Tap Water Database

The Philadelphia Inquirer: New public art projects in North Philly urge residents to drink the city’s tap water 

Though Philadelphia tap water meets federal standards for safe drinking, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group notes that Philly’s water exceeds the guidelines set for seven chemical contaminants watched by the organization. The Environmental Working Group sets standards that go beyond federal rules and reviews scientific evidence, legal standards, state guidelines, and health advisories to define its own much stricter standards. 

Disqus Comments