EWG News Roundup (2/12): Black-Owned-Brand Filter Added to Skin Deep® Database, EWG Calls on EPA To Ban Brain-Damaging Pesticide and More

EWG has added a new filter to the popular Skin Deep® database that allows consumers to search through almost 3,300 products in the database from 140 Black-owned brands.

“It is long past time for better diversity and inclusivity in the personal care products market, particularly in clean beauty,” said Nneka Leiba, EWG’s vice president of Healthy Living Science. “One important way to support Black-owned businesses, especially those offering safer products to minority populations, is to buy their products.”

In a public comment letter submitted this week to the Environmental Protection Agency, EWG called on the agency to immediately ban the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos.

On Tuesday, the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee voted to confirm Michael Regan as the next administrator of the EPA. The full Senate will vote in coming days on Regan’s nomination to head the agency.

“We applaud the committee for its action today and urge the full Senate to vote quickly to approve Regan’s nomination,” said EWG Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber. “The damage done to the agency and its mission during the past four years will be one of the biggest challenges facing the Biden administration, which is why it is so important Regan is sworn in and can get to work immediately.”

On Monday, a number of senators reintroduced the Justice for Black Farmers Act, the most ambitious legislative proposal ever developed to address historic and ongoing discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture against Black farmers.

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, two members of the House Agriculture Committee attempted to derail a provision in the budget reconciliation bill that would eliminate all federal farm debt held by Black farmers.

And finally, EWG highlighted the Pentagon’s refusal to comply with state drinking water standards for toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS and explored whether Land O’Lakes’ new agricultural carbon credits market will actually help combat the climate crisis.

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

Children’s Health

Mom Loves Best: Best Pregnancy-Safe Shampoos of 2021

We combined our existing knowledge and experience, online research, and information from the Environmental Working Group to choose 10 pregnancy-safe shampoos for a variety of hair types.

Heavy Metals in Baby Foods

HuffPost: New Report Finds Toxic Metals In Baby Food: What Parents Need To Know 

This can be prohibitively expensive, so parents should focus on buying organic versions of the fruits and vegetables on the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” list.

Common Dreams: Congressional Report Reveals Manufacturers 'Knowingly' Sold Toxin-Tainted Baby Food

Scott Farber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, said that "this is yet another example of the Food and Drug Administration's failure to protect our families from the chemicals and contaminants in food." 

The Bump: These Leading Baby Food Brands Contain High Levels of Toxic Metals

Yet, according to the Environmental Working Group, there is only one FDA guideline for baby food, which sets a limitation on arsenic levels in infant rice cereal (even this limit, many experts consider to be too high to protect against adverse effects). Otherwise, the FDA doesn’t have any standards on baby food and toxic metals.

The Justice for Black Farmers Act

NewsOne: Black Farmers May Finally Get Relief With Two New Legislative Proposals

The National Black Farmers Association and the Environmental Working Group issued a joint statement applauding the legislation. “By providing new oversight and accountability within the USDA, the Justice for Black Farmers Act will help address the roots of the USDA’s racist history,” the statement said in part.

Biden’s Agricultural Policy

DTN Progressive Farmer: Regan Nomination Heads to Full Senate

The Environmental Working Group lauded the vote by the committee, in a statement on Tuesday. "Michael Regan's performance before the committee shows he will bring the experience and commitment to environmental and public health protection that is required to lead the EPA," EWG Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber said.

Biden’s PFAS Policy

E&E News: E&E News: EPA yanks PFAS assessment over 'political interference'

Environmental groups also welcomed the decision. Olga Naidenko, vice president of science investigations for the Environmental Working Group, backed EPA's "renewed focus" on the work of its career experts.

E&E News: Ex-Hill aide in hot seat on TSCA, forever chemicals

"There really are very few people who bring the deep understanding of chemical safety law and chemistry that Michal Freedhoff does," said Scott Faber, who leads the Environmental Working Group's government affairs efforts.

Chemical & Engineering News: US EPA yanks toxicity assessment of PFAS contaminant, citing political interference

Giving a range for the PFBS safe daily dose “does not serve the interest of communities. It gives too much discretion to cook the books and calculate less protective safety thresholds,” says Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney for the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group.

Agri Pulse: 'Forever chemicals' get agriculture's attention

Citing data collected by the Environmental Working Group, Biden's plan says, “it is estimated that up to 110 million American's drinking water could be contaminated with PFAS.”

Cleaning Products

Best Homes and Gardens: 8 Easy Ways to Go Green with Your Kitchen Routine

It's wise to check labels on cleaning products for what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls signal words. Danger indicates the most harmful formulas, followed by warning and caution. To learn about its Safer Choice seal, see the EPA's website. For other terminology, check out the Environmental Working Group's Label Decoder.

Reader’s Digest: I Gave Away All My Toxic Cleaning Products—Here Are the Eco-Friendly Products I Got Instead

As reported by the Environmental Working Group, disinfectants that contain ammonium compounds have been linked to asthma and fertility issues; soaps with triclosan may affect thyroid function and cleaners made from ammonia or chlorine bleach are harmful to the environment and air you breathe.

Reader’s Digest: 30 Things You Need to Throw Out ASAP

From babies to grown adults, wet wipes are used on skin, tables, and pretty much every possible surface. They may be convenient, but the Environmental Working Group points out that the wipes can contain a cocktail of chemicals. Some contain a common preservative called phenoxyethanol that has been linked to eczema and respiratory health problems.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Allure: Here's Where to Get Your Favorite Beauty Products via Curbside Pickup

This plant-based product is so clean and safe that it actually met the impressively high standards of the Environmental Working Group.

Allure: The Best Natural and Organic Makeup Brands That Makeup Artists Actually Use

"'Clean beauty' is a much better term for the consumer as the products are non-toxic and still effective,” says King. "'Non-toxic' means free from undesirable ingredients listed by the Environmental Working Group. 

The Thirty: 8 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Hormonal Acne in Check

"Reduce your toxin burden as much as possible, especially the endocrine disrupters such as BPA, parabens, and phthalates," Kang suggests. "Don't forget these can be hidden in your cosmetics as well. The Environmental Working Group has a clean list for almost everything (e.g., cleaning products, cosmetics, food)."

Tree Hugger: The 9 Best Natural Mascaras of 2021

The formula also resists clumping and flaking, which is equally important when sporting larger-than-life lashes. It earns top marks from the Environmental Working Group for ingredient safety.

Vanilla Luxury: The Best Eye Creams, Serums, Masks and Eye Massagers to Combat Dark Circles, Wrinkles and Puffy Bags

If you’ve been on the lookout for a non-toxic, clean, vegan and cruelty-free brand, take a look at Yours skincare. Rigorously tested for safety and efficacy, Yours products have been rated safe by EWG and are environmentally sustainable.

Environmental Justice Advocacy

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service: Post from Community: U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin introduces American Opportunity Accounts Act

The American Opportunity Accounts Act is endorsed by the Black Millennial Convention, Center for Law and Social Policy… Environmental Working Group…

EWG VERIFIED™: Cosmetics

Mane Addicts: How to Upgrade Your Shower Experience From Anywhere by Using Shower Mists

Our whole line is about making your life easier with good-for-you products—we’re EWG verified!—that look good, smell good and actually work. It’s about you and what makes you feel free!

Food and Farmworkers

Successful Farming: USDA The Last Plantation

Even if Black farmers grew high-yielding crops, the USDA might not update program yields correctly, says Ken Cook, cofounder and president of the Environmental Working Group.


Consumer Reports: Solvay Impedes Research Into Unknown PFAS by Threatening Testing Lab With Legal Action

Last month, the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization, called on the EPA to levy civil and criminal fines of more than $430 million against Solvay, saying the documents indicated that Solvay had for several years failed to notify the agency about company studies showing health hazards of the PFAS, as required under federal law.

Industrial Fire World: Study Shows Almost All Fire Stations’ Dust Is From Unknown ‘Forever Chemicals’

The alarming findings raise concerning questions, said David Andrews, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. “What are these unknown PFAS?” Andrews said. “Why were the levels higher in the firefighters’ gear lockers and apparatus bays? The turnout gear used by firefighters may be a more important source of PFAS exposure for firefighters than previously known.”

Red Lake Nation News: MPCA, state agencies reveal a statewide blueprint to address PFAS

The Environmental Working Group applauds Minnesota’s effort to develop a comprehensive blueprint for addressing PFAS, but to protect the environment and public health, the state’s efforts to monitor, remediate and prevent PFAS contamination must go further and faster.”

Water Quality Products Magazine: Better Capex, Opex Options for PFAS Treatment

A recent report by the Environmental Working Group cites the latest statistics on PFAS’ reach into everyday American life — drinking water systems serving an estimated 19 million people, in at least 610 locations across 43 states are known to be contaminated with one or more of the thousands of known PFAS compounds.

PFAS in Water

Star Tribune (Minneapolis): With PFAS everywhere, Minnesota calls for big new crackdown on the 'forever chemicals'

In an interview, Jamie Konopacky, Midwest director for the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, said a core strength of Minnesota's plan is that it works on both the front and back ends of the pollution.

Organic Authority: The Reason PTFE Nonstick Pans Aren’t Safe: It Has Something to Do With Loose Regulations and Our Drinking Water

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University found last year that at least 610 drinking water sources in 43 states were contaminated with potentially unsafe levels of PFAS, estimating that more than 19 million people may be exposed nationwide.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Medium: Author Kate LaBrosse: How To Create A Fantastic Retail Experience That Keeps Bringing Customers Back For More

I know this can be an added expense for folks so if you’re on a budget, start with the EWG’s Dirty Dozen™, and buying humanely raised, no-hormone or antibiotic animal products.

Clean Eating: Which Diet Style Is Right For You?

What to eat: Organic fruits and vegetables when possible (especially the Dirty Dozen as defined by the Environmental Working Group ewg.org), grass fed meats, organic poultry, pasture-raised eggs, wild-caught, omega 3 rich fish like wild Alaskan salmon and wild Pacific halibut, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, legumes, and whole grains.

Eat This, Not That: What Happens to Your Body When You Eat The Same Foods Every Day

Check the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to see which foods are most likely to be contaminated, and choose organic whenever possible.

Tap Water Database

TreeHugger: The 7 Best Water Filters of 2021

You can also try entering your zip code on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Tap Water Database—this will give you information on the legal limits of various chemicals and where your local supply may exceed either those, or EWG’s science-based recommended limits.

OncoLink: 10 Tips for National Cancer Prevention Month

Sipping enough water every day is essential to overall health, but it is important to make sure the water you drink is clean and safe. Find out what contaminants are in your tap water (you can check the EWG’s Tap Water Database).

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