EWG’s News Roundup (9/8): Carcinogen in Tap Water and Cosmetics, Pruitt’s Henchman Playing God with EPA Grants

This week EWG released an eye-opening report finding the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in the tap water served to roughly 90 million Americans, as well as in personal care products. Concerned about potential exposures to the chemical? Consult EWG’s interactive map or our national Tap Water Database to see if it may be in your water. To find out if it may be in your cosmetics, use EWG’s Skin Deep® database.

On Monday, the Washington Post revealed that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has delegated the job of approving or disapproving billions of dollars in state grants to his press aide, John Konkus. He was formerly a Florida political operative for Trump. Roughly half of the EPA’s budget is dedicated to these grants, and it’s been reported Konkus is looking for any grant proposals that include “the double C-word” – code for climate change.

“Administrator Pruitt has given this former political operative a startling level of authority to play god with resources that could be used to clean up contaminated water in Flint or the chemical spill in Houston,” said EWG President Ken Cook said of the Washington Post story. “That is an enormous amount of power for someone who has no apparent expertise in public health or environmental protection, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise: neither does Pruitt.”

And we’re finding more and more stories about our National Tap Water Database, which sheds light on the contaminants that can flow from the tap. This week we dove into the dangers of chloroform in drinking water, boiled down the assortment of carcinogens coming out of our taps and touted our first-of-their-kind EWG Standards for water contaminants.

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


Mother Jones: Is Your Shampoo Poisoning Your Drinking Water?

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit focused on health and environmental research, analyzed drinking-water samples taken from local utilities across the United States and found 1,4-dioxane in 45 states’ water – affecting 90 million Americans.

Vice News – Tonic: Will Trump's EPA Address the Likely Carcinogen In Our Drinking Water?

Trace amounts of an industrial chemical and suspected carcinogen are hanging out in much of the nation's drinking water supply, per a report published Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization. The report suggests that the chemical often shows up in quantities that could be dangerous to long-term health—yet the current administration appears unlikely to take any action, experts worry.

ABC6: WRTV (Columbus, IN): National report questions safety of Columbus drinking water

The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report Wednesday which showed an industrial solvent, classified as a likely carcinogen, was detected in drinking water supplies for nearly 90 million Americans in 45 states. Reprinted by Network Indiana (WOWO).

Charleston Gazette-Mail: EPA rejected Dow Chemical’s Institute cleanup plan

Last year, the EPA said that 1,4-dioxane would be among the first chemicals that it would review under the provisions of the updated Toxic Substances Control Act, and on Wednesday the non-profit Environmental Working Group cautioned that the chemical has been found in tap water supplies that serve nearly 90 million Americans in 45 states. The report from EWG said that the chemical is classified as a likely carcinogen.

Chemical Watch: Study finds 1,4-dioxane in tap water in 45 U.S. states

The solvent 1,4-dioxane was found in samples from tap water supplies in 45 states, according to a study commissioned by the Environmental Working Group. The report states that more than seven million people in 27 states are served by public water systems where the average level of the chemical is higher than the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says poses an increased risk of cancer.

Earth Island Journal: Likely Carcinogen Contaminates Drinking Water of 90 Million Americans, Report Finds

According to a new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, the drinking water of more than a quarter of Americans — some 90 million people — tested positive for a likely carcinogen known as 1,4-dioxane between 2010 and 2015. And public water systems serving more than 7 million people in 27 states have average 1,4-dioxane concentrations that exceed the level U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said can increase the risk of cancer. Reprinted by TruthOut.  

Environmental Defense Fund: EDF Health Blog - Report: Widespread exposure to a risky chemical “blessed” by the Trump Administration’s nominee to head EPA’s toxics office

A report issued today by the Environmental Working Group documents that the industrial chemical 1,4-dioxane, a likely human carcinogen, is present in tap water used by nearly 90 million Americans living in 45 states.  For more than 7 million of those people (living in 27 states), the average level of the chemical exceeds the level set by the Environmental Protection Agency as presenting an increased risk of cancer, which is one among a number of health effects tied to the chemical.

Politico Morning Energy Newsletter: Report – Hidden Danger in Your Tap Water

The Environmental Working Group is out with a report today finding an industrial solvent likely to cause cancer — 1,4-dioxane — can be found in the tap water of 90 million Americans across 45 states. It concludes 2.5 million people in California; 1.2 million people in North Carolina and 700,000 people in New York are exposed to the chemical in quantities above the threshold thought to increase cancer risk. An interactive map of test data is available here.

The Republic (Columbus, IN): City water tests exceed EPA level for contaminant

Environmental Working Group, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that works on environmental issues, released information Wednesday saying that more than a million pounds of 1,4 dioxane was produced in the United States, or imported here in 2015, and 675,000 pounds of the substance has been released into the environment nationwide.

Think Progress: EPA staffing nears lowest level in 30 years as environmental disasters pile up

The Environmental Working Group released a report Wednesday that shows the drinking water of nearly 90 million Americans is tainted with the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane. The EPA and its career staff are charged with working with local authorities to help mitigate drinking water contamination, the group said. 

Hurricane Harvey

Associated Press: Fecal matter, fuel, pesticides in the water spell more danger for Harvey victims

“It’s prudent to pump more chlorine and other disinfectants into drinking water systems in emergencies like this, to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and dysentery,” said David Andrews, senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization. But doing so poses its own risks, he said.

Procter & Gamble Fragrance Disclosure

Chemical Watch: Procter & Gamble to reveal all fragrance ingredients by 2020

Environmental Working Group president, Ken Cook, called the effort “the most sweeping fragrance ingredient transparency initiative to date. Because of the company’s sheer size and market share, P&G’s sweeping initiative could be the domino that triggers similar actions from the rest of the industry that has not yet embraced this level of transparency for fragrance ingredients.”

Scott Pruitt and the EPA

Salon: The EPA is getting political: A Trump campaign aide will now be signing off on grants

The Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of toxic chemicals, agricultural subsidies, and corporate accountability, released a statement denouncing the EPA’s chain of command.

Toxic Substances Control Act

Chemical Watch: EPA may progress proposed methylene chloride and NMP restrictions

“My interpretation is this probably means they are not dropping it,” agreed Melanie Benesh, a legislative attorney at the Environmental Working Group. But that does not mean the agency plans to act soon, she said, and “there is nothing to stop the EPA from weakening the proposed rule.”

Cosmetics Marked to Women of Color

Fashionista: What Backstage Beauty Prep is Really Like for Models of Color in 2017

The researchers at the Environmental Working Group found that black women have limited choices for healthy products marketed specifically to them — and these limited options could mean they're being exposed to more potentially hazardous chemicals.

Bug Repellants

GOOP: The Lyme Prevention Checklist

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has several insect repellant guides, which are helpful when considering different risks and scenarios (i.e. are you sitting on the back patio for a half-hour, going on a two-hour hike in a Lyme-prone area, or traveling while pregnant and worried about Zika?).


Health and Medicine: Commonly used cleaning products: A big threat to family health

Sodium laurel sulfate, a foaming agent, is a mainstay of many shampoos, liquid soaps and toothpastes. According to Environmental Working Group – a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment – SLS is a neurotoxin that may even be linked to cancer. Reprinted by Before It’s News.

Rodale’s Organic Life: 19 Ways To Allergy-Proof Your House For A Healthy Home

Whenever possible, clean with safer, alternative cleaning solutions, such as baking soda or a mixture of vinegar and water. 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.

Crib Mattresses

The Wirecutter: The Best Crib Mattresses

To better understand the concerns of environmental advocates, I followed up on these interviews by calling Tasha Stoiber, PhD, a senior scientist at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, and Bobbi Wilding, deputy director at Clean and Healthy New York, an organization that’s reviewed what’s inside crib mattresses. Reprinted by Long Island Tech News.


MindBodyGreen: The Best Organic Skin Care According To Your Skin Type: An MD Explains

Some newer, cosmetic-specific certifications have potential to become industry leaders for healthy standards: The National Safety Foundation has one, as well as the Environmental Working Group. Keep an eye on this arena as it develops over the next couple of years. Reprinted by True Viral News.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Chispa!: Controlling the Environments Impact on Women’s Health; From ‘Dirty Dozen’ to BPA

Whenever you can afford to do so, choose organic foods. This is particularly true of the infamous “dirty dozen,” a list compiled each year by the Environmental Working Group of the twelve most heavily contaminated crops. The list typically includes apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, peaches, nectarines, potatoes, snap peas, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, and kale/collards.

Rodale’s Organic Life: 14 Foods These Health Experts Will Never, Ever Eat

Opt for organic strawberries. The Environmental Working Group, which analyzes U.S. Department of Agriculture pesticide-residue data, found an average of 8 different pesticide residues on chemically grown strawberries. 

Women’s Health: These 5 Delicious Dinners Give A Whole New Meaning To The Term ‘Clean Eats’

Pesticides have no place on the menu, period. Enter: the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15, the conventionally grown crops that measure lowest in pesticide residues. We've combined them in dishes so flavorful, you'll make our headline a reality.

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