EWG News Roundup (4/10): Mapping PFAS Discharges, COVID-19 Hand Care Tips and More

This week, EWG uncovered and mapped over 2,500 industrial facilities across the nation that could be discharging the toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS into the air and water. Using Environmental Protection Agency and New York State data, EWG identified 2,501 unique industrial sites that are known to produce or use PFAS, or that are suspected of using PFAS.

Late last week, President Trump rolled back Obama-era federal fuel efficiency standards, which will mean 1 billion or more additional tons of carbon pollution and more expensive gas. EWG wrote an open letter to automakers Toyota, GM and Fiat Chrysler, which are backing Trump’s rollback, pointing out that they broke their 2011 promise to take steps to meet the fuel economy goals in Obama’s rule.

“You are complicit in Trump’s reckless abandonment of the nation’s most significant initiative to combat the climate crisis and the public health impacts of tailpipe emissions,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Your support of the rollback in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is a shameless betrayal of American taxpayers that shows callous disregard for the future of the planet and the health of your customers.”

During the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds – which has the side effect of  dry and chapped skin. EWG provided some tips for folks that have taken their handwashing routines to the next level.

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

Children’s Health

Business Insider: I use this gentle baby balm to ease my toddler's skin irritation when her eczema flares up

On top of that, all of their products carry the Environmental Working Group's EWG Verified guarantee that they do not contain potentially harmful ingredients. Reprinted by World News

Briefing: New PFAS Polluters Map with Congressman Harley Rouda (D-Calif.) and Congressman Chris Pappas (D-N.H.)

E&E News: Study: More than 2,500 facilities could release PFAS

The Environmental Working Group reviewed EPA's Chemical Data Reporting rule, along with other databases, and found possible sites releasing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that have not been previously reported.

United Press International (UPI): Health-damaging PFAS 'forever chemicals' likely released at 2,500 sites

The Washington, D.C.,-based Environmental Working Group, a non-profit that advocates for clean air and water, on Thursday released an interactive national map of likely polluters. Reprinted by La Revue Gauche

USA Today: In California: Don't even THINK of canceling fishing

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group released an analysis Thursday identifying 2,501 industrial facilities likely releasing a lightly regulated class of toxic chemicals into the environment in Puerto Rico and every state — including about 100 in California. Reprinted by USA Today affiliates.

Palm Springs Desert Sun (Calif.): Likely toxic PFAS contamination found at 2,501 facilities around the U.S.

The Environmental Working Group released a new analysis on Thursday that identified 2,501 industrial facilities around the country that are likely releasing a lightly regulated class of toxic chemicals into the environment in every state and Puerto Rico.

TruthOut: As US Reels From COVID-19, the PFAS Pollution Crisis Is Quietly Growing

Nationally, there are 2,500 industrial manufacturing and chemical facilities that could be releasing PFAS into the air and water, according to a new dataset and map released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) on Thursday.

New Hampshire Public Radio: Report IDs New Potential Sources Of PFAS Pollution In New Hampshire

For the new analysis, the watchdog Environmental Working Group used government data to find facilities that likely use PFAS and already report other toxic discharges.

Trump Administration

2 Oceans Vibe (South Africa) Rolling Stone Names And Shames The Powerful Men Killing The Planet

He came to the EPA after spending years as a fossil-fuel-industry lobbyist. “Wheeler is the embodiment of the anti-regulatory ‘deep state’ in Washington,” Ken Cook, president of the nonprofit advocacy organization Environmental Working Group, told us in 2018. “He’s playing the long game. And that’s exactly what makes him so dangerous.”

Trump Administration Farm Bailouts

Faribault Daily News (Minn.): Stimulus aid to farmers shows what’s wrong with U.S. farm policy

Of the tens of billions of “Market Facilitation Payments” made during the past few years, the top 10% of recipients — the largest, most profitable industrial-scale farms in the country — got half, says the Environmental Working Group.

Cleaning Product

Reader’s Digest: 12 Things You Need to Clean After Returning from the Outside World

"When reaching for an antimicrobial cleaning product, it's important to consider that optimal effectiveness of disinfectants — typically a 99.9 percent reduction in particular pathogens—will only be achieved when used according to the label instructions," warns Samara Geller, senior research and database analyst for the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Reprinted by MSN

Healthline: How to Clean and Kill COVID-19, But Avoid Harsh Chemicals

The Environmental Working Group warns that cleaning product labels often don’t provide consumers enough information about ingredients to allow people to make informed decisions on which ones might harm their health.


Dermstore: 17 Most Common Labels on Your Beauty Products (and What They Really Mean)

“In beauty, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is the closest thing there is to the USDA,” she adds, noting that the EWG has a process that companies go through to get their products certified.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Huff Post: Squalene (And Squalane) Skin Care Products Dermatologists Recommend For Dry Skin

If you’re unfamiliar with squalene and what it does for your skin, the Environmental Working Group defines it as a compound that is a naturally occurring lipid in both plants and animals.

Real Simple: 6 Clean Beauty Brands Actually Worth Adding to Your Stash

And that’s not a bad thing—according to the Environmental Working Group, women use 12 personal care products per day on average, exposing themselves to 168 chemical ingredients.

COVID-19 Infrastructure Legislation

Inside EPA: House Lawmakers Eye Possible 5th COVID-19 Bill For Water Infrastructure

Scott Faber, the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) senior vice president for government affairs, told the call that a fifth COVID-19 bill “could provide a historic investment in drinking water infrastructure.”

Municipal Sewer & Water: How Likely Is Infrastructure Spending Amidst COVID-19 Outbreak?​

In related news, the Environmental Working Group recently applauded U.S. House of Representatives leaders for its Moving Forward Framework which makes investments into drinking water pollution a priority.

EPA Rollback of Auto Emissions Standards

Politico - Morning Energy: Trump threatens OPEC, Russia with tariffs

The activist organization Environmental Working Group published an open letter today to the CEOs of three automakers that have backed the Trump administration's rollback Obama-era vehicle fuel economy standards. Reprinted by Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition

Food Scores

Eat This, Not That!: 100 of the Worst Foods Linked to Cancer

In 2015, the Environmental Working Group found potassium bromate in eighty-six store-bought baked goods, including some brands of store-bought breakfast sandwiches. Steer clear of these ultra-processed products. Reprinted by MSN


Star Tribune (Minneapolis): Readers Write: Minnesota Orchestra in South Africa, allegations against Keith Ellison, the role of the press, chemicals in cereal

The letter writer cites 160 parts per billion in a 2-cup serving as the “child protective limit” recommended by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which claims several oat cereals had up to nine times that amount.

Insect Repellent 

Bustle: The 5 Best Sand Flea Repellents

IR3535: This is an active ingredient that can also be effective against biting flies, (like sand fleas) plus mosquitoes, deer ticks, and body lice. IR3535 is deemed safe by both the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the EPA.

New PFAS Military Map

Military Times: Here’s the latest count of suspected bases with toxic “forever chemicals” in the water

There are nearly 700 military installations with either confirmed or suspected ground water contamination caused by fire-fighting foam using in vehicle and aircraft mishaps, according to new data released Thursday by the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by 10z US Politics

Nitrate in Minnesota Tap Water

Morrison County Record (Central Minn.): Non-profit releases study mirroring ongoing concerns over water quality

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit group of researchers, compiled 23 years of data which showed evidence of their growing concern that Minnesota drinking water is becoming contaminated with nitrates.

PFAS Tap Water Contamination

NJ Spotlight: NJ Adopts Strict Standards on Two Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water

Environmental Working Group, a leading national advocate for PFAS regulation, also welcomed New Jersey’s move.

Burlington County Times: New Jersey approves drinking water standards for toxic PFAS chemicals. Will legal battles follow?

Among them was the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. Reprinted by The Intelligencer (Doylestown, Pa.)Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.); other USA Today affiliates

Great Lakes Now: PFAS News Roundup: Indianapolis and Rhinelander find PFAS, PFAS testing and projects stalled due to COVID-19

The long-lasting “forever chemicals” also known as PFAS showed up in Indianapolis tap water at a level of 15 parts per trillion, according to a study by the Environmental Working Group, a national research and advocacy organization.

Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.): PFAS update: Locals respond to Chemours action plan

The Environmental Working Group has updated its map of military sites with such confirmed or suspected contamination, including two suspected sites in Southeastern North Carolina.

Seafood Guide

City Lifestyle Washington: Cast Iron Skillet Salmon

Fish is a low-fat quality protein and a healthy choice for dinner. But making choices about which fish to eat can get confusing. Here is a chart from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that identifies which fish are best to eat. EWG is an American activist group that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agriculture, toxic chemicals and drinking water pollutants to name a few.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Eating Well: Celery Juice: The Health Benefits, Side Effects and Science Behind the Trend

Celery is also on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen list of most-contaminated produce when it comes to pesticide residue.

Eating Well: How to Lose Weight on a Budget

If organic is important to you, the Environmental Working Group has identified the foods that are most contaminated (that you should consider buying organic), as well as the produce that is cleanest and most free of pesticides (that you can buy conventional).

Green Matters: 2020’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Are Here, To Help You Shop for Pesticide-Free Produce

Every spring, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes an updated Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, better known as the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

My Fitness Pal: Experts Debate: Should You Buy Organic?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) provides a Dirty Dozen list, which shows the 12 fruits and vegetables that use the most pesticides and herbicides to grow, such as strawberries, spinach and kale. These are still within ‘safe’ levels regulated by the government, but I’d advise always buying organic if you can to lower your exposure.

One Green Planet: Homemade Vitamin C Powder Made From Organic Orange Peels

This Homemade Vitamin C Powder is made from the peels of organic oranges. Why organic? According to the Environmental Working Group, citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are among the produce with the highest pesticide residue.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Marie Claire: The Best SPF-Filled Moisturizers That Won't Disappoint

It also earned a number-one rating by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) in its annual sunscreen guide, so you know it's good.

Easy Health Options: 6 common sunscreen chemicals aren’t safe even by FDA standards

So, before you purchase another bottle of sunscreen, I recommend looking at the Environmental Working Group’s safe sunscreen database to find an option that protects you from the sun without putting you at risk for other health concerns.

Tap Water Database

Environmental Health News: ‘Them plants are killing us’: Inside a cross-border battle against cancer and pollution

The Michigan tannery site was remediated in 2007, but data obtained by non-profit organization the Environmental Working Group shows the area still has unhealthy amounts of chromium-6 in its drinking water. Created in collaboration with The Narwhal.

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