EWG News Roundup (9/25): EWG Calls for CDC Director To Resign, Farmer Bailout and Covid-19 Payments Flowing to Rich Farmers and More

This week, EWG President Ken Cook called for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield to step down. Cook cited overwhelming mismanagement of the Covid-19 crisis at the behest of anti-science political leaders as the reason for the director to leave his post.

“Never before has a CDC leader dragged the agency through such a series of manifestly deadly misstatements of science, willful communications blunders and life-threatening guidance flip-flops,” said Cook. “All at the behest of political leaders whose publicly avowed goal is to minimize the mortal danger the novel coronavirus poses to the American people.”

This week, EWG analyzed new data that shows the largest and wealthiest of farms have received the lion’s share of the $33 billion in payments handed out due to President Trump’s farmer bailout and Covid-19 assistance. 

A recent Purdue University study estimates that more than 125,000 farmworkers have been infected with Covid-19. The study found that some of the most affected states – Iowa, Tennessee and Missouri – have no mandatory protections in place to safeguard workers from the virus.

And finally, over on our Children’s Health site, EWG took a look at artificial sweeteners and what they mean for your child’s health.

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

Children’s Health

SunStar Davao (Philippines): Make-up safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mommies

W3ll People has successfully fused skincare and makeup for 13 years now. Their products are approved by the Environmental Working Group last 2016 which indicates the complete absence of toxic material. The chemicals used in some brands are cancer-inducing or carcinogenic.

EWG’s Call for the Resignation of Dr. Redfield, Head of the CDC

World Socialist Web Site: The CDC retracts its guidance that stipulated the airborne danger of the coronavirus

Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group, has recently called for the resignation of Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the CDC, for his politicization of the institution and acquiescing to pressures.

Farm Subsidies

Marketplace: Farmer aid agreement removes obstacle to federal shutdown negotiations

“So Congress has to allocate that funding if this is really going to happen,” said Anne Schechinger, an economic analyst at the Environmental Working Group.

Bloomberg: Richest Farms Reap Bulk of U.S. Agriculture Aid, Study Shows

In the 2018-2019 crop years, more than half of about $23 billion in payments from the Market Facilitation Program went to the top 10% of farms, according to the Environmental Working Group, a critic of agribusiness subsidies.

HuffPost: Lawmakers Don’t Have To Disclose Federal Loans. 2 Democrats Want To Change That.

In 2017, the Environmental Working Group found that more than 30 lawmakers from both parties and their immediate family members collected upward of $15 million in federal farming subsidies, while farm bill negotiations were ongoing.

Successful Farming: Very Large Farms Collect One-Fifth of USDA’s Coronavirus Payments

The Environmental Working Group, which monitors farm subsidies, said the largest 1% of farms in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) received one-fifth of disbursements, or nearly $1.1 billion of the $5 billion paid during June, the first month of CFAP.

Detroit Free Press: Despite tough times, Michigan's farmers say Trump has their back. Here's why

A recent study by the Environmental Working Group, using U.S. Department of Agriculture data, found that nationwide the top 1% of farms received 16% of Market Facilitation Program payments, to address the trade war, and 22% of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments, while the bottom 80% of farms received just 23% of the payments made under both programs.

Washington Examiner: Trump administration doling out billions to farmers before the election

“The Trump administration wants the farm subsidies to give a lot of money to his base of voters in rural areas less than two months before election,” said Anne Schechinger, senior economic analyst at the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy group. “It makes one wonder about the timing.”

The American Prospect: Ultra-Rich Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s Family Has Taken In $3 Million in Farm Subsidies

The information is listed publicly in a farm subsidy database maintained by the Environmental Working Group. The nonprofit collects records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through Freedom of Information Act requests and posts them to the database—because the government won’t.

Citizen Petition: FDA Needs to Consider Cumulative Effects of Food Chemicals

CNN: FDA must do more to regulate thousands of chemicals added to your food, petitioners say

The petition is currently supported by the Environmental Defense Fund…the Environmental Health Strategy Center, the Environmental Working Group, and Healthy Babies Bright Futures.

Body Burden

Insteading: 11 Steps to Minimize Indoor Pollutants and Live Greener

To understand the severity of this matter, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) commissioned laboratory tests to determine the effects of pollutants. The tests found as many as 232 chemicals in newborns in the study; the chemicals included mercury, fire retardants, pesticides, and Teflon chemicals.

COVID-19 and Farm Workers

(Reprinted from Associated Press) U.S. News & World Report: Small Minnesota Farmers Challenge Conventional Agriculture

In June, the DNR decided to not order a more in-depth environmental impact study. It decided that any potential impacts from the irrigation plan were minimal or could be managed through regulations. Connell joined an appeal of the department’s decision led by the Environmental Working Group and other clean water advocacy organizations.

Cleaning Products

Earth911: Eco-Friendly Products and the Trickle-Down Effect

Look for eco-friendly cleaning products with natural, biodegradable ingredients — you can consult with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Guide to Healthy Cleaning for verified cleaning products.

Consumer Products

Healthy: By Marlowe: 6 Reasons An Air Purifier is Worth the Money

EWG and other consumer health organizations recommend limiting the amount of carpet in your home, ventilating by opening doors and windows, especially within the first 72 hours of installation, or choosing natural materials like wool, bamboo or jute, which don’t have this off-gassing problem.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Forbes: How To Use Your Spending And Investing To Increase Your Civic Power

You can do a web search for activist or advocacy groups that are aligned with your values. For example, the Environment Working Group or EWG is considered to be a touchstone for concerned citizens looking for ways to vet personal care items.

Hello Glow: Here’s What You Need to Know About Hormones and Acne

Makeup, lotions, shampoo, and other beauty and skincare products contain toxic ingredients such as parabens, triclosan, and SLS. Check the products you’re currently using on the EWG Skin Deep website and swap them out for cleaner alternatives. Even better—make your own!

Who What Wear: 5 Sneaky Face-Wash Ingredients That Dry Out Your Skin—and What to Buy Instead

As the Environmental Working Group reports, that probability is high. Cosmetic and personal-care companies are "allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish" when formulating products, and "the U.S. government doesn't review the safety of products before they're sold," writes the EWG.


Camila Coelho: Meet Elaluz Skincare: Beauty Oil & All Day Beauty Water

The EWG Verified seal means that they meet the strictest standards for transparency and healthfulness as set by the Environmental Working Group, so you can be sure they’re free from the EWG’s chemicals of concern.

Kourtney Kardashian

Women’s Wear Daily: Kourtney Kardashian’s Poosh Virtual Wellness Festival to Offer Self-Guided Hypnosis, In-House Spiritual Coach

In April 2018, Kardashian teamed with the Environmental Working Group for a trip to Washington, D.C., where she helped brief staffers on the Personal Care Products Safety Act introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Susan Collins, which proposed updating the Food and Drug Administration’s over 80-year-old guidance on the beauty industry.

Nitrate Water Pollution

Los Angeles Times: Op-Ed: One water district is trying to make sure agriculture cleans up its own mess

One of the most pervasive forms of groundwater pollution is nitrate, a key component of farm fertilizer and manure. In 2017, water systems serving 10.9 million Californians were contaminated with nitrate at or above legal limits, according to a study published in June by the Environmental Working Group. 

PFAS Contamination of Military Installations 

Army Times: Are military efforts to clean up and replace toxic ‘forever chemicals’ cutting it?

But PFAS contamination has become a military-wide problem, with more than 700 military installations having either confirmed or suspected cases of contamination, according to the Environmental Working Group.

PFAS in Drinking Water

Consumer Reports and The Guardian: Why Dangerous 'Forever Chemicals' Are Still Allowed in America's Drinking Water

Indeed, PFAS have been detected in the drinking water of more than 1,400 communities in 49 states, according to research by the PFAS Project at Northeastern University in Boston and the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy organization that estimates that 110 million people may have tap water contaminated with the chemicals.

International Business Times: US Is Still Drinking Water With Dangerous 'Forever Chemicals'

The PFAS Project at Northeastern University in Boston and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has estimated that more than 100 million people may have had tap water contaminated with PFAS, said Consumer Reports.

PFAS and Endocrine Disruption

Water Online: New Study Finds Cause-And-Effect Between PFAS Consumption, Reproductive Issues

“The research team said the study is the first to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the filtration of drinking water containing high amounts of PFAS and better reproductive outcomes,” the Environmental Working Group explained.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Easy Health Options: How not to get breast cancer from your salad

Finally, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an excellent source of information. Their annual Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen produce lists will help you stay away from the fruits and vegetables more likely to be contaminated, in favor of those that are generally cleaner and free of pesticides.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Patch (Downers Grove, Ill.): ​C'est Moi skincare raises the bar

The Gentle Mineral Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is one of the highly rated as one of the Best Beach & Sport Sunscreen by The Environmental Working Group.

Tap Water Database

Patch (East Brunswick, N.J.): Environmental group says Perth Amboy Councilman is all wet

Perth Amboy Councilman Jelmin J. Caba, one of five mayoral candidates and also the city's Democratic Party chairman, accused critics of "trying to frighten voters with 'fake news' about water contamination," after another contender cited to a report from the Environmental Working Group that said there are at least 25 cancer causing contaminants in the city's drinking water.

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