EWG’s News Roundup (9/15): Chemical Industry Shill Eyes EPA and California Advances Public Health

This week, EWG exposed the close ties between President Trump’s nominee to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency and the chemical industry. The nominee, Michael Dourson, has spent much of his career greenwashing chemicals for companies, such as Dow and Monsanto, by dramatically downplaying the risks they pose to human health.

“If Mike Dourson is confirmed, the environmental health of every child in the country will be tossed aside, as he will almost certainly continue his work from inside EPA to greenwash chemicals and pesticides to protect the profits of the companies that make them,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Handing the keys to EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention to Dourson, who has spent a career opposing both, makes about as much sense as letting the CEO of Philip Morris run the American Lung Association.”

EWG also provided five troubling facts you need to know about Dourson, as well as deep-dives into Dourson’s work defending the producers of perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel, and Teflon, the nonstick chemical.

Some good news: We also took time this week to applaud lawmakers in California for two major legislative achievements.

First, the Assembly unanimously passed a major reform to the state’s childhood lead testing program. Later in the week, a sweeping cleaning product transparency bill was passed, which, if signed by Gov. Brown, would require cleaning product manufacturers to disclose the ingredients in their household and commercial products. Both bills are expected on Brown’s desk early next week.

For additional coverage on these stories and more, here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.

California Cleaners Bill

HAPPI: Cleaning Product Right to Know Act Moves Forward In California

According to Bill Allayaud, California Director of Government Affairs for the Environmental Working Group, “Having sat through many long but unsuccessful past stakeholder processes, it was very rewarding to have our two sides come together on the intricate details to craft a new law that will help protect the health of consumer and workers yet be workable for business.  We broke new ground while honoring pragmatic concerns.”

Michael Dourson

Politico – Morning Energy Newsletter: Group Slams Trump’s Chemicals Nominee

The Environmental Working Group released a report today arguing Michael Dourson, Trump’s nominee to run EPA’s chemicals division, has “consistently fought to weaken proposals to protect our families from dangerous chemicals, including chemicals linked to cancer, brain damage and reproductive harm.” Read it here.

Scott Pruitt and the EPA

Chemical & Engineering News: Cover Story - U.S. EPA’s chlorpyrifos decision spurs pushback

EPA also received a letter in June from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization. “EPA’s decision to allow the continued use of chlorpyrifos contradicts the agency’s own science and puts developing fetuses, infants, children, and pregnant women at risk,” the groups wrote.


Associated Press: Chemical company agrees to reveal more about discharges

For example, researchers are increasingly finding a likely human carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane in water supplies in North Carolina and dozens of other states. Public water supplies in the Cape Fear River basin around Fayetteville are some of the most contaminated with the industrial solvent in the country, with levels well above what the EPA considers to increase cancer risk, according to a report last week by Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization. Reprinted by 13 media outlets.

Governing: Drinking Water Isn't Safe for Millions of Americans

1,4-dioxane is an unregulated industrial solvent often found in shampoos, bubble bath, cosmetic products -- and tap water. Across the U.S., 7 million people in 27 states are drinking water with elevated levels of the chemical that the Environmental Protection Agency classifies as a "likely carcinogen," according to a report published last week by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group.

AlterNet: There's a Hidden Carcinogen Tainting Tap Water and Consumer Products Nationwide

Water supplies for more than 7 million Americans in 27 states are contaminated with an industrial chemical at levels higher than what federal scientists say poses a minimal lifetime risk of cancer, according to a new analysis by Environmental Working Group. Reprinted from EWG Rethinking Cancer blog.


The Kitchn: 5 Things You Should Know About BPA

Plastics marked with a #1, 2, 4, or 5 don't contain BPA and may be better choices, according to the Environmental Working Group. (No matter what type of plastic you're using, don't microwave food or drinks in plastic containers — even if they claim to be microwave-safe, as heat can break down plastics and release chemicals into your food and drink. And stop using plastics that become scratched.)

Treehugger: The problem with Mason jars

These chemicals are known hormone disruptors that leach into food that comes into contact with it, and even the BPA substitutes are not viewed favourably. You can read more about the concerns surrounding BPA and BPS in a report here, published by the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by True Viral News.

NBC4: WTMJ (Milwaukee, WI): I-TEAM: Cancer-causing chemical in local water supply

A group called the Environmental Working Group gathered all the numbers on water testing and found Grafton has almost twice the safe amount of 1,4 Dioxane in it's tap water. 


East Bay: A Chicken in Every Pot and a Cell Tower on Every Garage

Numerous environmental groups are opposing the bill, including the Environmental Working Group, Sierra Club CA, Nurses for a Healthy Environment, Environmental Options Network, The League of Conservation Voters, the Greenlining Institute, and the Environmental Health Trust.


Prevention: 19 Ways To Allergy-Proof Your Home

Check the safety of your cleaning products at Environmental Working Group's online database. No matter which cleaning products you use, always open the windows to keep the area you are cleaning well ventilated.

U.S. News & World Report: Toxic Pairings: 6 Serious Household-Mixture Mishaps

Vinegar is a favorite natural ingredient for people who concoct do-it-yourself cleaners. However, vinegar’s active ingredient is acid, specifically acetic acid, points out Samara Geller, a database and research analyst with the Environmental Working Group.

MSN: 8 Mistakes You’re Making Every Time You Wash The Dishes

Avoid soaps or detergents with bleach, triclosan, or other harsh antiseptics because they help create drug-resistant superbugs. Simple soap and hot water is enough to sanitize your dishes, especially in the dishwasher. Make sure to avoid borax, which can disrupt hormones, and 1,4-dioxane, which is a suspected carcinogen according to the Environmental Working Group. Originally published by Rodale’s Organic Life.

Health and Medicine: Disinfecting wipes are loaded with pesticides

The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental organization, also advises the use of thymol – the active constituent in oil of thyme. Of course, frequent hand-washing is one of the most effective ways to control germs and the spread of infection. Reprinted by Before It’s News.


MindBodyGreen: Your Beauty Routine For Late Summer Is Here

Be in the know about harmful ingredients by checking out the Environmental Working Group: They often provide scores for ingredients based on their toxicity.

PopSugar: 10 Toxic Ingredients Pregnant Women Should Never Use in Their Beauty Routines

“We should avoid risky ingredients at all stages of our lives,” said Paul Pestano, a senior database analyst for the Environmental Working Group, an organization that researches and educates consumers about toxins in personal care products. “However, pregnancy may be a period in which women should be particularly careful.” Reprinted by MSN, NewsDog and The Weekly Challenger.

Reader’s Digest: The Scary Thing Nail Polish Does to Your Body 10 Hours After You Apply It

A study by researchers at Duke University and Environmental Working Group suggests that simply applying the polish to your nails could allow a dangerous compound called diphenyl phosphate (DPHP) to seep into your body. DPHP is created when your body metabolizes the chemical triphenyl phosphate (TPP), and scientists believe that TPP could disrupt hormones in people and animals. Reprinted by Lady Click, MSN and three other outlets.

The Business Record: Notebook - Salutations from Gwyneth Paltrow

I then noticed the email was distributed by the Environmental Working Group. Now I’m fairly sure I wasn’t the only one who got it.

Procter & Gamble Fragrance Disclosure

Chemical & Engineering News: P&G to divulge fragrance ingredients

By the end of 2019, P&G’s website will divulge fragrances for more than 2,000 products sold in the U.S. and Canada to “build greater trust in the quality and safety of all our products,” the firm says. The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that tracks ingredients in consumer products, applauded the move.

EcoSalon: What the New Procter & Gamble Fragrance Ingredient Disclosure Really Means

“This is a major victory for consumers. It will inevitably push the market towards greater transparency because companies can no longer hide behind the long-used excuse that fragrance disclosure is impossible,” Nneka Leiba, Director of Healthy Living Science at Environmental Working Group (EWG) said in a statement.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in ProduceTM

Women’s Health: 6 Ways Your Vegetarian Diet Might Be Sabotaging Your Weight Loss

For that reason, she recommends trying to stick with animal products that come from pasture-raised animals (because they're able to graze on grass and worms, as opposed to being fed pesticide-ridden corn and soy) and avoiding the "dirty dozen"—the Environmental Working Group's top 12 most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables.

Brandpoint: Advertorial - Four times you should choose organic when it comes to your child

As a child starts eating solids, many organizations such as The Environmental Working Group recommend always going organic when it comes to the “dirty dozen” such as apples, bell peppers, peaches, etc. to avoid pesticides. Reprinted by 401 media outlets.

CultureMap Dallas: A dietitian weighs in on when it's smarter to buy organic food

The Environmental Working Group has a "Clean 15" list that primarily includes fruits and vegetables with thick skins. This group consistently reviews pesticide data through ongoing testing of both conventional and organic products. The "Clean 15" foods typically have low pesticide contamination and are very comparable to their conventional counterparts.

The Daily Meal: Meet the Clean 15: The Fruits and Vegetables Least Likely to Poison You

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) devised their Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides by analyzing which fruits and vegetables have the lowest pesticide residues in grocery stores. They revise the list every year, ensuring that their recommendations remain updated with current farming practices. Reprinted by The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The San Diego Union-Tribune and seven other media outlets.

Internet Broadcasting: Which organic foods are worth the switch?

Switching to organic baby food is a critical change because infants are so susceptible to toxins, she says. In a study done by the Environmental Working Group, 16 different pesticides were found, in various quantities, in baby food made by the three major baby food producers. Reprinted by 33 media outlets.

EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

Huffington Post – Blog: We Tried 10 Natural Sunscreens: Here’s The Best

Regulations in the US are far less stringent than those in Europe. According to the Environmental Working Group’s 11th Annual Sunscreen Guide, nearly 75 percent of the more than 880 products examined didn’t live up to their claims or contained red-flag ingredients, like oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate.

Drinking Water

Cheapism: 18 Easy Ways to Create a Healthier Home

While whole-house filters and reverse-osmosis ones (which filter arsenic and perchlorate) can be expensive, there are plenty of inexpensive and effective water filters. Use the Environmental Working Group's tap water guide to find out what pollutants could be in your local water.

Dogster: Water for Dogs: The Type of Water Your Dog Drinks Matters

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit environmental research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., has found toxins lurking in tap water supplies throughout the country which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, can lead to a variety of adverse health effects, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems and neurological disorders.

Indiana Public Media: Report – Unregulated Chemical Above Health Limit In 5 IN Utilities

The Environmental Working Group found levels of the chemical 1,4-dioxane above health guidelines in five Indiana utilities. In a new report, the national environmental advocacy organization is raising concerns about the unregulated toxic chemical found in drinking water systems across the country.

Organic Authority: All Tap Water in the United States is Contaminated: Here’s How to Sip Safe

Is the tap water in your home safe? That’s what the Environmental Working Group has been working tirelessly to find out. Since 2009, the EWG has been assembling information on nearly 50,000 tap water systems across the country and has come to some startling conclusions.

Nonstick Chemicals

Water Online: Rhode Island Tests For PFCs In 30 Water Systems

A study released in June by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University in Boston shows PFCs are found in “drinking water for 15 million Americans in 27 states,” Time reported. The research project includes an interactive map highlighting where PFCs have been detected. Two detection sites are listed in Rhode Island.

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