We quietly added a new feature to the EWG homepage this week, and it's one I think Enviroblog readers might find very useful. The Chemical Index (which you'll find on the lefthand navigation) documents all of the chemicals EWG has researched or done work related to. You can go in, click on a chemical you want to learn more about, and get a list of EWG's research, related news items, and the health effects of that chemical. Health effects (like hormone disruption) and routes of exposure (like through personal care products) are also cataloged, so there are lots of ways to search.
Let's have an example, shall we?
Say you heard something about PCBs on the news. In fact, you've been hearing about PCBs on the news for years, but the news anchors are so vague that you don't think you really understand what they are. Instead of searching the internet and turning up dubious information, or hunting through EWG's site to find what you're looking for, you can just click on PCBs in the chemical index. There you'd find EWG's report on PCBs in farmed salmon, as well as this simple explanation:
PCBs are persistent contaminants that impact the brain, nervous and hormone systems. PCBs were banned in the 1970s but despite the ban, human exposure continues from fatty foods. EWG is working to clean up food fed to farmed salmon, which contain high concentrations of these chemicals.
and this description of the health effects and routes of exposure:
Health Effects related to Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): Endocrine system, Reproduction and fertility, Persistent and bioaccumulative, Cancer, Immune system (including sensitization and allergies), Brain and nervous system, Birth or developmental effects
Routes of Exposure related to Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs):
* Environment: agriculture * Food: fatty foods, fish * Found in people * Miscellaneous: electrical insulators, electrical transformers * Water: sewage sludge
So there you have it. Yet another useful, research-based tool from EWG.