EWG News Roundup (11/16): Hormone Disrupting Weed Killer Contaminates U.S. Water, Thanksgiving Tips and More

EWG released a report this week that shows the hormone-disrupting weed killer atrazine taints the tap water of nearly 30 million Americans. The most shocking finding in the report shows the weed killer’s presence in farmland drinking water supplies at up to seven times the EPA’s legally allowed limit during application season in the spring and summer.

“Our investigation found that nearly 30 million Americans have atrazine in their tap water,” said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., EWG senior science advisor for children’s environmental health. “But many may never know, because outdated federal policies allow utilities to test for atrazine before or after the spike.”

It’s also worth noting that atrazine is especially harmful to developing bodies.

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and now is the time to put all your Turkey Day plans in motion. If you need any last-minute inspiration, check out our menu to keep the day as stress free as possible.

However, if you haven’t purchased one yet, skipping turkey this year may not be the worst idea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced late this week that a number of raw turkeys were recalled due to a salmonella outbreak. EWG laid out some suggestions about what folks should do with this news, and over on our Children’s Health site, we presented some healthier meat options to prepare this holiday season.

As wild fires rage in Northern and Southern California, EWG provided some tips for those who are affected by air quality issues in the surrounding area.

A review published by the Environmental Protection Agency this week concluded that GenX, the “safer” alternative to the notorious non-stick chemicals PFOA and PFOS, is nearly as toxic as its predecessors.

Just 10 years ago, the research journal Utilities Policy concluded that wind energy would never be viable – but recent findings by the American Wind Energy Association show that currently, wind energy has the capacity to power 27 million homes in America, and the Department of Energy has clocked wind in as the third-largest electricity source in the country.

On Thursday, 51 environmental organizations, including EWG, wrote to the internet retailers Amazon and eBay to demand they stop selling illegal skin care products with dangerously high levels of mercury.

Finally, EWG partnered with the National Taxpayers Union to make the case that billionaires and tens of thousands of city dwellers shouldn’t be collecting federal farm subsidies.

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

Atrazine Contamination Report 

POLITICO – Morning Agriculture: Atrazine levels widespread in corn belt water sources

The Environmental Working Group today released a new analysis of drinking water contaminated by the weedkiller atrazine in corn-growing regions. EWG found that potentially harmful levels of the herbicide have been detected in drinking water for nearly 30 million Americans across 28 states. The group previously released a tap water quality database as part of its efforts to raise attention about agriculture’s impact on water quality in rural areas. Reprinted by AgriMarketing.

 Texas Tribune: Report: Toxic herbicide found in many Texans' drinking water

Comparing the test results submitted by water utilities to state environmental regulators to those from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Working Group concluded that water utilities are testing for atrazine at times when farmers aren't using it — the growing season typically spans late spring and early summer — and also appear to be lowballing their numbers. The group is calling for updates to federal federal drinking water standards. Reprinted by The Eagle (Bryan, Texas)KMID (Midland, Texas)Big Country and MyHighPlains

Common Dreams: Hormone-Disrupting Weed Killer Taints Tap Water for Millions in Corn Belt

Seasonal spikes of atrazine – a weed killer that can disrupt hormones and harm developing fetuses – contaminate drinking water in corn-growing areas of the Midwest and beyond, according to an analysis of federal records by the Environmental Working Group.

Reprint of EWG News release.

EcoWatch: Hormone-Disrupting Weed Killer Taints Tap Water for Millions in Corn Belt

Seasonal spikes of atrazine–a weed killer that can disrupt hormones and harm developing fetuses–contaminate drinking water in corn-growing areas of the Midwest and beyond, according to an analysis of federal records by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Reprint of EWG News release. Reprinted by Blacklisted News.

 Farm Bill

DTN Progressive Farmer: House and Senate Return to Complete a Farm Bill?

Earlier, the Environmental Working Group and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition had come out in opposition to the provision that is contained in the House farm bill. Reprinted by The Fence Post and Tri-State Livestock News.

E&E News: Spending fight will headline 'fairly brief' lame duck

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Environmental Working Group and other organizations believe the Senate version — or something close to it — is the only one that can pass both chambers.

Environmental Protection Agency 

Rolling Stone: The President’s Coal Warrior

“Wheeler is the embodiment of the anti-regulatory ‘deep state’ in Washington,” says Ken Cook, president of the nonprofit advocacy organization Environmental Working Group. “His goal is not just to roll back the environmental progress made under President Obama, but to weaken and deconstruct the entire regulatory system at the EPA. He’s playing the long game. And that’s exactly what makes him so dangerous.”

EPA Review of GenX

POLITICO – Morning Energy: Tip of the iceberg

“EPA has allowed hundreds of similar chemicals on the market without safety testing, and it's urgent that the agency evaluate the risk Americans face from all of these chemicals combined,” Dave Andrews, senior scientist at Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. 

Florida Today: Group says GenX replacement non-stick chemicals pose health risks

“It is alarming that, 12 years after DuPont, 3M and other companies - under pressure from EPA - began phasing out PFOA and PFOS, we find that replacements like GenX are nearly as hazardous to human health,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

NBC15: WTAP (Parkersburg, W.Va.): Update: Public input sought on GenX toxicity

“I've spoken to other scientists who have concerns about how the values are calculated for GenX, because of the absence of human biomonitoring data, indicating how long GenX actually stays in the body,” says David Andrews of the Environmental Working Group. “It might actually be slightly more of a concern.”


Chemical Watch: NGOs report spike in US asbestos imports

The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and Environmental Working Group (EWG) published import statistics last month, citing data from the US International Trade Commission and the Department of Commerce.

Cleaning Products

EcoWatch: 5 Green Cleaning Products for Tackling Messy Homes

For starters, research cleaning products on a site like Environmental Working Group (EWG). This nonprofit evaluated more than 2,500 cleaning products and rated them on a scale of A to F according to an extensive methodology scale. In addition to verifying product claims, consumers can also reference a Guide to Healthy Cleaning for EWG's top picks. 

Pittsburgh City Paper: Your T-Shirt’s Fantastic Voyage: Rethinking the fashion industry 

Wash clothes in cold water. Yep, they still get clean, and you’re using less energy. 2. Get a microfiber laundry bag to capture fibers from synthetic materials — all those yoga pants and football jerseys, in the bag. 3. Choose your laundry detergent carefully. Check out EWG.org for options. 

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Treehugger: Aloe vera gel could be your new favorite moisturizer
Avoid fragrances, paraben-based preservatives, and alcohol, which can exacerbate dryness. Look for products that rate highly on the EWG's Skin Deep database, such as Aromatics 95% Organic Aloe Vera Gel or Badger Unscented Aloe Vera Gel.


Verily: Natural Deodorant, Antiperspirants, and Your Health

This is my favorite EWG-verified deodorant I’ve found thus far. As EWG-verified, the deodorant meets the Environmental Working Group’s standards of manufacturing, ingredients, and more. Plus, you can find it on Amazon. Score!

FDA Bans Lead Acetate

Legal Reader: FDA Bans Lead as a Hair Dye Ingredient After Petitioned

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently banned lead acetate from hair coloring products after being petitioned by consumer watchdog groups such as The Environmental Working Group (EWG) (one of dozens of petitioners) shed light on the dangers of the chemical and urgently asked the government to act. “There is no safe level of lead exposure,” added Melanie Benesh, a legislative attorney at EWG.

Monsanto’s Glyphosate

Mic: Food documentary ‘Secret Ingredients’ challenges the idea that GMOs and pesticides are safe

A Environmental Working Group report published in August that focused on the presence of glyphosate in oat-based foods found that traces of the chemical were present in some organic foods, though at lower levels than in conventional foods. 

Stamford Advocate: Pesticide Contamination Is a Growing Cannabis Safety Concern

This was followed a few days later by the release of a report by the Environmental Working Group, an environmental advocacy group, which found that 26 of the 28 breakfast cereals and snack bars it tested had levels of an herbicide that were “higher than what [its] scientists consider protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.” Reprinted by The Hour.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Chemical News: Switch to an organic diet and reduce your pesticide intake by as much as 90%

Unfortunately, much of the fruits are vegetables lined up in stores are riddled in pesticides. In its latest Dirty Dozen report, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found conventionally grown strawberries to have the highest levels of pesticide residues, compared to other fruits and vegetables.

Edible Orlando: Healthy Thanksgiving Sides

Apples are another fruit that consistently lands on the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of pesticides in produce, so consider purchasing organic apples for this dish. 

Gulf News: Cost-effective organic food in the UAE is a reality

It may be more cost-effective and still nutritionally sound to choose some products from the organic section and others from the regular conventionally grown section. Always aim to buy locally produced food, as these are often fresher. Also, wash fresh produce thoroughly; there are some fresh products that are higher in pesticides, as identified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Marin Magazine: Celebrating the Sweet Strawberries of Summer in Marin

Be sure to buy strawberries locally and organic. Strawberries are perennial plants that are farmed as annuals for highest yield. They are best enjoyed when ripe so buying local ensures you get them soon after they are harvested. Buy organic because they are always on the Environmental Working Group Dirty Dozen Report about pesticide residue and human health. 

Superbugs and Supermarket Meat

ABC7: WJLA (Washington, DC): 7 On Your Side tests find antibiotic-resistant superbug bacteria on supermarket meat

“Resistance is real. Resistance is here. It's now. We're seeing it. It kills 23,000 Americans each year,” Dawn Undurraga told us. Undurraga has analyzed more than 47,000 government lab tests of bacteria on supermarket meat for the Environmental Working Group. That data's been used to identify trends and impacts on public health.

Nitrates in Drinking Water

Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine:  North America: Nitrate pollution reported

A new Environmental Working Group (EWG) study, indicating widespread nitrate pollution in U.S. drinking water (at levels linked to increased cancer risk), underscores the need for in-home water filtration, the Water Quality Association said.

PFAS in Drinking Water

Alaska Public Radio: Fairbanks hires law firms to advise on suing over groundwater-contaminating chemicals

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University says PFAS pollution has been reported at 94 sites in 22 states. The study says PFAS has shown up in the tap water of some 16 million people in 33 states and Puerto Rico. Other estimates say up to 110 million Americans may have it in their drinking water. Reprinted by KTOO and KUAC

Stars and Stripes: Lawsuit blames US government for water contamination around Fairchild AFB

Tens of millions of people in the United States rely on tap water containing unsafe levels of the compounds, according to the Environmental Working Group. Manufacturers, including DuPont and 3M Co., have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits over the issue.

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