EWG News Roundup (11/13): What a Biden Presidency Means for Food and Toxics, Studies Show PFAS Harm Immune System and More

On Saturday, the Associated Press, NBC News and other major news outlets projected Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States, capturing more votes than any other presidential candidate in history. The historic election of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is an opportunity for the nation to advance the health, safety and equity of all Americans, said EWG.

“While millions of Americans and billions around the world celebrate this moment, it also opens a game-changing path forward,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “On January 20, we will have a president and vice president who are ready for the enormous challenges the country faces and will work hard to meet them, not spend each day making them worse.”

As President-elect Biden’s transition gets into gear, EWG broke down what the incoming Biden-Harris administration could mean for food and farm workers and the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

Also this week, EWG scientists reviewed recent studies showing PFAS chemicals harm the immune system, increasing the risk of Covid-19 for certain populations of people with underlying health problems.

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

Children’s Health

Carolina Public Press (N.C.): Gauging the lead threat in NC waters and aquatic life              

“Lead is considered the number one environmental threat to children’s health by the federal government” and, even “at very low levels, is linked to subtle developmental delays and reduced IQ in children,” the Working Group report said, echoing the current guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that any level of lead in the blood of children is unsafe.

MindBodyGreen: 8 Better-For-The-Planet Products That Every New Parent Needs To Know About

Earth Mama's Organic Diaper Balm isn't just unrivaled in environmental standards—it's EWG Verified with the lowest hazard rating possible, meaning its ingredients don't harm wildlife from animals to plants—the soothing calendula balm is also chosen by hospitals for the most fragile NICU babies. 

Parents Need To Know: Best Sunscreen For Babies Buying Guide

As an example, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non profit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. 

2020 Presidential Election 

Associated Press: Key departures signal agriculture shakeup for Capitol Hill

While the leadership implications are important, crucial issues won’t change, said Craig Cox, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group, which is critical of federal farm policy, contending that current subsidy and other programs foster unsustainable practices. 

E&E News: Biden plans PFAS rules, hazardous designation

Organizations closely scrutinizing PFAS, like the Environmental Working Group, are sounding an upbeat note on how a Biden administration might approach the chemicals.

Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at EWG, highlighted the plan's emphasis on both setting limits in drinking water through an MCL and the prospect of designating PFAS as hazardous substances under the federal Superfund law.

Inside Climate News: With Biden’s Win, Climate Activists See New Potential But Say They’ll ‘Push Where We Need To Push’

"The most important consideration now is to realize how dramatically different the playing field is than the last time we had a serious debate on energy and climate, which was 11 years ago," said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. "Back then, battery storage was something for a flashlight. The landscape has completely changed just in that short period of time."

LexBlog: Chemical regulation in the new administration: PFAS top of list?                

Organizations closely scrutinizing PFAS, like the Environmental Working Group (https://www.ewg.org/proposedpfaslegislation), are touting loudly that the Biden administration will address PFAS and speculating on how the Biden Administration might approach the chemicals by setting enforceable drinking water limits, designating the substances as hazardous and finding PFAS substitutes for consumer items.

Consumer Products

Chilled Magazine: One of the leading-selling CBD infused beverages, DRAM Apothecary, is partnering with Coors Distributing Co. DRAM is widely distributed and sold in 24 states.    

“Most of the CBD sparkling waters we’ve seen entering the market contain natural flavorings, which the Environmental Working Group have confirmed are far from ‘natural.’ We’re thrilled to partner with Coors who will widen our reach and allow more people to enjoy a delicious, functional and truly natural beverage made from clean ingredients.”

The Star (Toronto, Canada): These 5 Tips can help make your home more eco-friendly

Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, suggests choosing rugs free of PFAS — a category of chemicals that do not break down in the environment and can cause health issues. Stoiber also recommends rugs with backings made of natural rubber, and not PVC. 

Little Rock Soiree (Ark.): How to Choose a Nontoxic Mattress

If you’re looking for a nontoxic mattress, make sure you know what to look for (and what to avoid) when you start shopping. This guide from the Environmental Working Group is a great resource!

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

MSN: 11 Common Skincare and Cosmetic Ingredients Derms Want You to Avoid

According to the Environmental Working Group's website, "Companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish. The U.S. government doesn't review the safety of products before they're sold." 

MSN: The Truth About Petrolatum: Does it Belong in Your Skin Care?               

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a U.S. non-profit organization that does environmental and safety studies, says there's petrolatum in one out of every 14 cosmetic products on the market, including 15 percent of lipsticks and 40 percent of baby lotions and oils. Plus, it's used as an active ingredi­ent for healing cuts and burns.

Eat This, Not That: Common Things That Give You Cancer, Say Doctors

The Rx: For a full list of what to watch out for, check out EWG's Skin Deep Database, so you can research toxic chemicals that might be in your beauty and personal care products.

GreenMatters: Is Soap Bad For the Environment? Here’s What You Should Know.

Parabens are dangerous hormone disruptors that can cause cancer, so before making any purchases, check the Environmental Working Group (EWG) app to quantify the product's toxicity by EWG standards.

COVID-19 & Meat Plants

Oregon Business: Brand Energizer                                                                                     

According to the Environmental Working Group, an activist group, COVID-19 infection rates in communities within 15 miles of meat plants are twice the national average.


Lola’s Secret Beauty Blog: Inna Organic Frankincense Boosting Revitalizing Toner             

Inna Organic, which is the only brand from Taiwan that is both EWG-verified and COSMOS certified- organic, offers an array of wonderful cruelty-free skincare products that are a delight for the skin and the senses.

Food Scores

CNN: Today’s trash is tomorrow’s booze

A collaboration with MOM's Organic Market and the Environmental Working Group, Ugly & Stoned aims to put the issue of food waste on the dinner table and showcase a simple and creative solution to the problem.

Glyphosate in Hummus

Parade: Hummus Is A Go-To Snack for Many of Us, but Is It Actually Healthy? Nutritionists Weigh in

Sterling advises consumers to be aware of an article that the Environmental Working Group published an article in July 2020 stating that chickpeas—and therefore hummus—contain high levels of a weed-killing herbicide, glyphosate, which has been linked with cancer.

PFAS in Drinking Water

Consumer Reports: New Jersey Sues Solvay Over Alleged Water Contamination From New PFAS Compound

“It is concerning that the use and discharge of these new problematic chemicals has been ongoing for over two decades, according to the company,” says David Andrews, senior scientist at the advocacy organization Environmental Working Group. “The replacement of long-chain PFAS compounds with newer similarly toxic chemicals is a systemic problem that urgently needs to be fixed.”

Lawyers and Settlements: PFAS & PFOA Water Contamination and Firefighter Lawsuits on the Rise

David Andrews, senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, says “This entire family of PFAS is a significant concern, and they should not be in tap water or bottled water. He finds it ironic that the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) requested last year that the FDA set limits on the compounds.

Natural News: Toxic chemicals in Kentucky tap water part of broader problem; 200 million Many people assume their tap water is tested regularly by authorities to ensure it’s safe, but recent studies show that drinking this water is taking a gamble with your health. An analysis of utility tests carried out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found toxic PFAS chemicals in the drinking water of 800,000 Kentucky residents from 2012 and 2017 in concentrations that were five times higher than those considered safe by scientists from the EWG. 

Organic Authority: ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Your Sparkling Water: Is It Safe To Drink?

All of the brands tested by Consumer Reports were within limits largely regarded as safe; one part per trillion is the limit recommended as safe by the Environmental Working Group, the equivalent of roughly one grain of sand in an olympic-sized swimming pool.

Learning Disabilities Association of America: McDonald’s: Get Rid of Toxic PFAS

Environmental Working Group’s Tap Water Database and their interactive PFAS map

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Good Housekeeping: The 50 Best Charities to Give to Right Now                                             

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides consumer advocacy and research regarding the safety of food, cosmetics, water, children’s products, and more. (It’s famous for its “Dirty Dozen” list of pesticides in produce.) 

Treehugger: USDA Suggests Organic is Overrated, But Not Everyone Agrees

Treehugger reached out to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which is well-known for its work on pesticide testing and the resulting Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists that it releases annually. 

Tap Water Database

E&E News: Experts distrust the tap; but prefer it to bottles

Olga Naidenko, who leads the Environmental Working Group's research on children's environmental health, uses a BPA-free plastic pitcher with a carbon filter because she's most concerned about disinfection byproducts coming from her tap.

Chemical & Engineering News: 1,4 Dioxane: Another forever chemical plagues drinking-water utilities

Water monitoring data collected in 2010–15 show that more than 7 million people in the US across 27 states had utility-supplied tap water that had detectable 1,4-dioxane, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy organization.

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