EWG News Roundup (10/30): EPA Extends the Use of Harmful Pesticide, DuPont Still Discharges PFOA and More

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency, defying a court order, extended the use of dicamba, a weedkiller linked to cancer. This decision pits farmers who spray the pesticide on their genetically modified crops against those on nearby farms whose crops can be damaged by its drift.

“Protecting the pesticide industry has been a top priority of the EPA during the Trump administration,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Millions of acres of crops will continue to be damaged, and the health of farmworkers, children and all those who live near farms where dicamba is used will be at risk – all in the name of appeasing chemical agriculture.”

Chemical giant DuPont announced in 2015 that it would phase out the use of PFOA, a toxic compound used to make Teflon. Yet DuPont and its spinoff company Chemours still discharge PFOA from their facilities. Rep. Harley Rouda (D-Calif.), chair of the Environment Subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, has called on DuPont and Chemours to explain why these discharges are still happening.

On Thursday, EWG held a Facebook Live with R Street’s Director of Government Affairs Caroline Kitchens, EWG Senior Advisor Don Carr, and EWG Policy Analyst Jared Hayes to discuss a recent report that shows 33 members of Congress have collected nearly $16 million in farm federal subsidies.

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

Children’s Health

Wirecutter: The Best Crib Mattresses

To better understand the concerns of environmental advocates, I followed up on these interviews by calling Tasha Stoiber, PhD, a senior scientist at the nonprofitEnvironmental Working Group, and Bobbi Wilding, deputy director at Clean and Healthy New York, an organization that’s reviewed what’s inside crib mattresses.

Green and Clean Mom: Best Baby Detergent for Sensitive Skin

I have tried to find the best products, with the least chemicals that can harm sensitive skin. I have done that by using EWG’s guide to laundry detergents which show which products have those kinds of chemicals in them.

Healthline Parenthood: The Best Natural Baby Products of 2020

As it turns out, there are several ingredients — including parabens, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and phthalates — that groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have linked to negative health effects.

Trump’s Farmer Bailout

Ozarks Independent (Mo.): Candidate Q&A: House District 135

One major way for our state to increase revenues without increasing taxes is by eliminating tax subsidies. According to the Environmental Working Group, Missouri granted $881,731,000 in farming subsidies to recipients in 2019.

Indianapolis Star: 'Farming is in a funny place politically': Will farmers still vote for Trump after 4 tough years?

To help, Trump has handed out unprecedented amounts of federal aid to farmers during his time, according to the Environmental Working Group. That helps in the short-term, the organization said, but it leaves the core of the issues unaddressed.

Powell Tribune (Powell, Wyo.): Subsidies can be helpful, but Washington wastes tax dollars

According to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group, the top 1% of farms in terms of revenue, received 16% of MFP payments, with the average total payment for any farm in that category being $524,689. 

Cleaning Products

Daily Campus: A Zero Waste Project: A DIY Dish Soap

Plus, according to Greenify Me and the Environmental Working Group, dish soaps like Dawn or Xtra have chemicals potentially harmful to people and the environment.

USSA News: What’s Inside Your Bottled Water?

The purity of bottled water has been in question since at least 2009, when the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a Bottled Water Scorecard showing that most bottled water brands failed to disclose contaminants in their water.

Consumer Products

C|Net: Best gifts for Mom in 2020

Many mattresses may expose you to nasty chemicals, flame retardants and potentially toxic foams. As such, the Environmental Working Group recommends mattresses that are at least 95% cotton, wool or natural latex -- like the Avocado Green, which is made from a combination of all three.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Healthline: The Best Night Creams

It’s vegan, cruelty-free, and rated a 2 on the Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Skin Deep database.

Dr. Axe: California Bans Chemicals in Beauty Products

According to findings from one study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), women living in the U.S use an average of 12 beauty products every day, containing nearly 200 chemicals, and it’s not always easy to know exactly what chemicals in beauty products you might find.

Red Tricycle: 5 Clean Products to Use During Pregnancy, Breastfeeding & Beyond

I used The Environmental Working Group’s (ewg..org) searchable database to check how the ingredients in the products I was using measured up against their safety guidelines and I was surprised at what I found.

treehugger: The Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals of 2020                                  

Many beauty products contain questionable ingredients, so we always recommend checking resources such as the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database.

EWG’s Healthy Living App Update

Daily Mom: Health Apps To Screen Everyday Items For Harmful Ingredients

The EWG app’s motto is: Scan a Product. Review its Rating. Pick the Better Choice. What used to be two separate health apps for food and beauty products has been combined into one for easier access to the products you use. 


Fast Company: Michelle Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose now has nontoxic bath, body, and candle linesJust like with the original line of fragrances, Pfeiffer partnered with Environmental Working Group to ensure that every ingredients used in the new products is verified to be safe.

Nylon: Henry Rose’s Best-Selling Scents Now Come In Body Creams, Candles, and More

It offered a range of exciting new fine fragrances, following standards far stricter than the fragrance industry typically followed or enforced — making its products the first fine fragrances to be EWG Verified. Now, the brand is expanding its vision beyond smell, extending into new categories for the very first time.

Women’s Wear Daily: Michelle Pfeiffer Discusses Expansion of Her Fragrance Line, New Film ‘French Exit’ (subscription)

And then I reached out to EWG to see if they would collaborate with me. They said “Well, we can’t really do a collaboration. That would be a conflict of interest, of course.” And that was when I learned it’s not that all fragrance is super toxic, it’s that we don’t know what’s in it, because of the lack of transparency.

Happi: Ah, Pfeiffer!

Like so many other new products, the formulas are free of a host of ingredients like phthalates, parabens and the like, and certified by the Environmental Working Group and Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

Farming Practices

Nation of Change: EPA approves use of herbicides linked to cancer and crop cross contamination

“Protecting the pesticide industry has been a top priority of the EPA during the Trump administration,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Millions of acres of crops will continue to be damaged, and the health of farmworkers, children and all those who live near farms where dicamba is used will be at risk—all in the name of appeasing chemical agriculture.

Glyphosate in Cereal

Head Topics: Is Cereal Good For You?

There have been a lot of headlines about the weed killer glyphosate in oat cereal, thanks to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG set its own safety threshold (far lower than the government’s) and claims their tests reveal unsafe levels of glyphosate in many oat cereals. But even the EWG says the risk is from long-term exposure, so I make sure to vary the kinds of cereals (and the kinds of breakfasts) I eat.

Nitrate Water Pollution

Wisconsin Public Radio: New Report Finds Nitrate Pollution In Drinking Water May Cost Wisconsin Up To $80M in Medical Expenses

The epidemiological studies underlying the report's findings can't account for all factors that may cause disease, said Olga Naidenko, the report's co-author and researcher with the Environmental Working Group. 

Crossroads Today (Victoria, Texas): Pollution problem continues in Port O’Connor

The Washington D.C. based environmental working group identified 37 utilities serving nearly 25,000 Texans in violation of federal standards for clean water. 

PFAS in Drinking Water

Inside EPA: Industry Likely To Step Up Scrutiny Of States’ PFAS Limits Next Year

But Melanie Benesh, a legislative attorney with the Environmental Working Group, said during the same ABA session that the states’ regulations are lagging behind the science.

The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.): State Says Saranac Lake airport contaminated by PFAS

Advocacy groups, like the Environmental Working Group, argue even 1 part per trillion is unsafe and have data showing 200 million Americans could be drinking at least that much of the chemical each day.

Fayetteville Observer (N.C.): PFAS found in private wells 12 miles from Chemours plant near Fayetteville, DEQ says                                                                                                              

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit group based in Washington, says small doses of PFAS compounds have been linked to cancer, harm to reproductive and immune systems, and other diseases.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

The Packer: 2020 “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists released                                           

The Environmental Working Group has again named strawberries, spinach and kale as the first three items on its polarizing “Dirty Dozen” list.

MSN: 50 easy ways to save on your weekly grocery visits

The Environmental Working Group has a list that outlines conventionally farmed fruits and vegetables that you don't have to buy organic.

Medical Daily: Worried About What’s In Your Food? You’re Not Alone

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) independently tests common fruits and vegetables for pesticides. Every year they list the “ dirty dozen” -- the 12 foods with the most pesticide residue:  strawberriesspinachkale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes.

94.3 The Point (N.J.): Which Plant-Based Milk Is Best for the Planet? You’d Be Surprised

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group tested for glyphosate and found that it was in all the foods it tested containing conventionally grown oats—and even in one-third of products made with organic oats.

Tap Water Database

Chemical and Engineering News: Pipes could release toxic chromium into tap water            

More than 200 million people in the US drink tap water with Cr(VI) concentrations above 0.02 ppb, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Sassy Townhouse Living: Eco-Friendly Ways To Drink Healthy Water Every Day

Water utilities testing found pollutants in American’s tap water according to an EWG drinking water quality analysis of 32 million state water records.

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