EWG news roundup (10/22): EPA rolls out PFAS roadmap, food additives to watch for this Halloween and more

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its “PFAS Strategic Roadmap,” which makes addressing the cleanup of these toxic “forever chemicals” a top priority for the agency.

In response to the EPA announcement, EWG urged the Defense Department, Food and Drug Administration and Federal Aviation Administration also to take action to address PFAS contamination at military bases and airports and in consumer products.

“After more than two decades of delay, it’s good news the EPA is finally starting to act. But we must move even faster to turn off the tap of PFAS pollution by industry,” said EWG Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber. “Communities living downwind and downstream of these polluters have waited decades for action.”

A newly published study by EWG scientists found that many sunscreens offer just a quarter of their stated SPF protection against ultraviolet A rays, which increase the risk of skin cancer.

“The sunscreen industry has for too long focused on advertising higher and higher SPF values and UVB rays, not on providing products with stronger UVA protection,” said David Andrews, Ph.D.

Halloween is right around the corner, and EWG broke down the food additives and candies you should look out for in kid’s trick-or-treat bags.

Throughout 2021, EWG has tracked news reports of algae outbreaks with our interactive map. As of October 14, this year there have already been nearly 500 outbreaks across the nation.

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

Children’s health 

Insider: How to protect your baby from toxic chemical exposure, from leaving your shoes outside to using glass bottles 

Beck, a doctor of psychology, came across the Environmental Working Group in her search. The nonprofit has consumer guides for clean skincare, tap water, and food accessible online. 

EWG CleanCon 2021

Insider: Avoid 'damp' foods if you're prone to breakouts, and try healthy fats to clear up your skin 

Eastern systems of medicine, like the Chinese and Ayurvedic traditions, have long theorized that "damp" foods, such as dairy and oil, can cause problems with skin, Dr. Taz Bhatia said at the Environmental Working Group's annual CleanCon.

Insider: A food addiction expert explained why I can't resist buying pumpkin spiced products when I'm in Trader Joe's — and I'm not alone 

"It's family and it's wholesome and it's autumn leaves, right?" Moss said at the Environmental Working Group's CleanCon this week. "Some companies are drawing out those memories by adding the superficial elements of pumpkin spice to products that didn't have that before." 

EPA regulation of PFAS 

Associated Press: EPA unveils strategy to regulate toxic ‘forever chemicals’ 

Thousands of communities have detected PFAS chemicals in their water, and PFAS have been confirmed at nearly 400 military installations, according to the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization.

NBC News: Can the EPA get rid of toxic 'forever chemicals'? 

PFAS are found in more than 2,300 locations across the country, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group. 

CBS News: U.S to crack down on toxic "forever chemicals" in drinking water 

The Environmental Working Group, which advocates for stronger regulation of chemicals, has identified nearly 30,000 industrial sites nationwide that it says are using, or are suspected of using, PFAS. 

ABC News: EPA unveils strategy to regulate toxic 'forever chemicals' 

Thousands of communities have detected PFAS chemicals in their water, and PFAS have been confirmed at nearly 400 military installations, according to the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization. 

Politico: Biden plan puts chemical industry’s feet to the fire 

“No one should have to worry about toxic forever chemicals in their tap water,” Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs with the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. “We’re grateful that Administrator Regan will fulfill President Biden’s pledge to address PFOA and PFOS in our tap water and will begin to turn off the tap of industrial PFAS pollution.” 

Bloomberg Law: EPA’s PFAS Efforts Praised While Other Agencies Get Panned (1) 

The plans show the Pentagon, Food and Drug Administration, and Federal Aviation Administration are "failing to take meaningful action” to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, said the Environmental Working Group, which has worked on these chemicals longer than any other non-profit. 

NC Policy Watch: EPA finally launches major effort to curb PFAS pollution, to mixed reviews about whether it’s enough 

The Environmental Working Group pinpointed 2,854 known contaminated sites in all 50 states and two U.S. territories. 

Fox29 (Philadelphia): PFAS: EPA announces strategy to regulate toxic 'forever chemicals' 

Thousands of communities have detected PFAS chemicals in their water, and PFAS have been confirmed at nearly 400 military installations, according to the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization. 

Sunscreen study

International Business Times: Most Sunscreens Fall Short On Touted SPF: Study 

UVA are the rays that can cause premature ageing in the skin, "immune harms and greater cancer risks," the Environmental Working Group (EWG) noted in a news release. On the other hand, UVB are the rays that can cause sunburn. 

Practical Dermatology: EWG: UVA Protection of Most Sunscreens Just 25 Percent of Touted SPF 

Many sunscreens offer just a quarter of their stated SPF protection against ultraviolet A rays, a new Environmental Working Group (EWG) study finds. For the study, EWG scientists tested 51 sunscreens with SPF between 15 and 110 to assess their broad-spectrum protection against both types of UV rays.

Pesticide spraying in California 

Center for Biological Diversity: Court of Appeal Rejects California’s Blanket Approval of Pesticide Spraying 

“The court was right to rule against the Department of Food and Agriculture’s outrageous effort to hide from the public where toxic pesticides are being sprayed and to downplay the risks these chemicals pose to pollinators, the environment and the health of those who live near farm fields,” said Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group. 

CAFOs

Blue Ridge Public Radio (N.C.): Unchecked growth of industrial animal farms spurs long fight for environmental justice in Eastern NC 

Robeson County largely escaped the industrial hog farming industry. But an analysis by the Environmental Working Group and Waterkeeper Alliance found that, since 2012, the estimated number of chickens and turkeys has increased by about 24 million in Robeson County. 

Cleaning products 

Casper-Star Online Tribune (Wyo.): 10 toxic cleaning products and their natural alternatives 

Using ratings from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), scientific studies, and other authoritative sources, Stacker compiled a gallery of 10 toxic cleaning products and their natural alternatives. All the natural items listed are highly accessible and utilize as little waste as possible.

Skin Deep® cosmetics database

Investor: How Many Products with Palm Oil Do I Use in a Day? By Lael Goodman from the USA. April 3, 2014 

I consider eating lunch outside (first sunny and relatively warm day in quite a long time!) and so put on my [6] Cetaphil moisturizer with sunscreen, chosen carefully based on the very helpful suggestions of the Environmental Working Group guide.

WAMJ Majic (Atlanta): Quench Your Thirst! 5 Best Moisturizers For Dry Skin Loved By The Professionals 

“With squalane and sea buckthorn oil, both rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids that our skin needs, it [Arbonne Intelligence Nourishing Facial Oil] can be used alone to repair dry skin, or layered with your favorite cream moisturizer,” Dr.Wesley shares. “I also like it because it’s free of any ingredients considered harmful by the EWG (Environmental Working Group).” 

EWG’s Healthy Living Guide 

US Green Building Council: Washington University leads in LEED Platinum certifications 

In addition to making sure healthful building materials and furniture are specified at WashU, Tiwari follows the same guidelines for her personal and household products, led by the Green Science Policy Institute’s Six Classes of Chemicals of Concern and the Environmental Working Group’s database. 

EWG VERIFIED™: Cosmetics  

Forbes: The Best New Fall 2021 Fragrances 

Henry Rose Flora Carnivora…Michelle Pfeiffer doesn’t make any compromises when it comes to her clean fragrance line, Henry Rose. Since the EWG-verified brand has a limited ingredient palette to promise safety, that makes it a lot more challenging to formulate, particularly for a floral fragrance. 

PFAS in cosmetics 

Fast Company: Makeup is full of toxic ‘forever chemicals.’ Why aren’t they banned? 

David Andrews, senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization devoted to ridding the environment of toxic chemicals, points out that the new rule only forces chemical manufacturers—like 3M, Dupont, and Chemours—to disclose how much PFAS are in their products.

PFAS in water 

The Guardian: Revealed: more than 120,000 US sites feared to handle harmful PFAS ‘forever’ chemicals 

Last year, for instance, scientists at the non-profit Environmental Working Group issued a report finding that more than 200 million Americans could have PFAS in their drinking water at worrisome levels. 

Chemicals News: “Forever chemicals” from almost 42,000 sources threaten to contaminate drinking water 

Researchers with the anti-pollution organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzed the Environmental Protection Agency‘s (EPA) public records to find potential sources of PFAS contamination. They found that water sources located near landfills, wastewater treatment plants, petroleum refineries, airports and metal processing facilities are at most risk for these forever chemicals. 

Fox5 (D.C.): 'Forever Chemicals' drinking water hearing 

Environmental Working Group’s Science Analyst Sydney Evans discusses ‘forever chemicals’ that are in our drinking water. 

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

SFGate: Food chat: Apples everywhere! We've got them and ideas for ways to cook them, too 

One thing to consider, though, is that melons are usually on the Environmental Working Group's "Clean 15" list of fruits/vegetables that have the lowest pesticide residues in testing. 

Walmart Built for Better 

Eat This, Not That!: This New Walmart Program Can Help You Find Healthier Groceries 

Walmart recently launched Built for Better, a program that identifies which products are better for your health and the planet. In this initiative, the retail giant helps customers find everything from food to personal care products and cleaning items that have earned the Environmental Working Group (EWG) VERIFIED™ quality mark. 

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