EWG news roundup (9/9): Golden State energy concerns exacerbated by record heat wave, breaking down obesogens and more

This week, EWG released the findings of a survey that found most people don’t consider the diapers they’re using on their children to be safe. On top of that, EWG broke down a study that analyzed baby diapers to find out their contents. The study found a number of harmful chemicals of concern, such as formaldehyde and PCBs, among others.

EWG VERIFIED® Baby Diapers is tackling both concerns. To meet the rigorous standards required to earn the EWG VERIFIED mark, a diaper must avoid EWG’s ingredients of concern and be transparent about its production.

California is in the throes of a record heat wave, and it’s pushed the state’s power grid to the brink. Residents of the state are doing their part by turning down the thermostat – there’s no better time for regulators to do their part by rejecting an energy industry plot to stifle rooftop solar.

EWG also took a deep dive into obesogens, substances that can contribute to weight gain and lead to obesity, in turn raising a person’s risk of heart disease and other serious health problems. Obesogens are chemicals that “directly or indirectly increase fat accumulation and cause obesity” by interfering with metabolism and metabolic processes.

The ongoing water crisis in Jackson, Miss., has shined a light on years of inadequate funding and neglect of U.S. drinking water infrastructure. The city’s water system failed late last month, leaving the city unable to provide clean drinking water, a basic necessity. Residents are being given bottled water, but even those supplies are starting to run out.

“This awful situation comes as no surprise. What we’re seeing is a criminal lack of attention and, especially, money flowing to our tap water infrastructure. What’s happening in Jackson is yet another warning about the decrepit state of drinking water systems across the U.S. It’s a matter of when, not if, others will also suffer,” said Ken Cook, the EWG’s president and co-founder.

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

Children’s health

Washington Post: The fight to keep little-known bacteria out of powdered baby formula

A disease or pathogen becomes “nationally notifiable” when CDC, state officials and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, a nonprofit organization, jointly determine it should be added to the list of roughly 120 others. The CSTE said it is not considering any formal proposals to make cronobacter reportable, despite a push by advocacy groups including Stop Foodborne Illness, Consumer Reports and Environmental Working Group.

Biden’s new climate team

NPR: Biden has a $369 billion climate plan — and new advisers to get the program running

Climate advocates cheered the move. "The good news is that the White House at the highest levels seems determined to ensure that this historic once-in-a-generation investment will not be squandered," said Scott Faber, senior vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.

California’s Diablo Canyon bailout

The Wall Street Journal: Nuclear Power’s Rebound Causes Rift Among Environmentalists

“The residents of California have waited long enough to finally see this dangerous, decrepit facility closed for good,” said the Environmental Working Group, a U.S. advocacy group, which opposes extending the life of the Diablo Canyon plant. Reprinted by Wind Action

EcoWatch: California Passes Massive Climate Legislation Package

“Allowing Diablo to continue operating is beyond short-sighted,” Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook told The Guardian in an email. “It will only delay the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals and continue putting Californians at risk should a disaster strike the plant.”

EPA designates PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances

Washington Post – Editorial Board Memo: The EPA’s proposed rule on ‘forever chemicals’ is a long-awaited step forward

This Editorial Board memo links back to EWG’s map of suspected industrial discharges of PFAS, the paper that estimates 200 million people in the U.S. may have PFAS in their drinking water and an article by Melanie Benesh about DOD refusing to meet state standards for PFAS cleanup.

Algae blooms

Iowa Public Radio: Testing the waters: How groups monitor toxic algae in the absence of state testing

State-wide testing also means that it is easier for lake-goers to find the results of the testing, which keeps people safer, according to Anne Schechinger, the Midwest director of the Environmental Working Group. “If you have a state level program that tests a lot of water bodies, then, it's just the one website you go to check,” she said. “Or you know that this one lake is gonna be tested because it's on the schedule for the state agency.”

Food chemicals

HuffPost: These Food Ingredients Are Banned In Europe But Allowed In The U.S.

You may find potassium bromate on the ingredient lists for your go-to sliced wheat bread or flour tortillas, according to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. Bromate is known to cause cancer in animals, and the small amount that is used to create a more appealing crumb structure could have adverse effects on humans, too.

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