Peer-reviewed studies published by EWG scientists

EWG scientists’ publication of in-depth peer-reviewed research significantly bolsters our authority in the scientific community and the power of our voice among consumer citizens, the media and on Capitol Hill. This page houses links to our research.

For a list of current EWG experts, please visit our EWG Experts hub.

2024 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2000-2018

February 2024

Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology: A pilot study of chlormequat in food and urine from adults in the United States from 2017 to 2023

Alexis M. Temkin (EWG), Sydney Evans (EWG), Demetri D. Spyropoulos and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

Chlormequat chloride is an agricultural chemical known as a plant growth regulator that was recently allowed into the U.S. food supply, when, in April 2018, the EPA set food “tolerances,” or allowable limits, for chlormequat in oats and other grains when they are imported into the country.

In animal studies, the chemical can cause developmental and reproductive effects such as reduced fertility, alterations to fetal development, delayed pubertal development, and harm to the male reproductive system. These findings raise concerns about the chemical’s potentially similar effects on human health. 

In this peer-reviewed Brief Communication, EWG scientists sought to investigate the presence of this chemical in both food and people in the U.S. Tests of 25 non-organic, or conventional,  oat-based products revealed chlormequat in 92 percent of products tested. Similarly, urine tests of 96 U.S. residents identified chlormequat in four out of five, or 80 percent, of the people tested. And samples from people collected in 2023 had higher concentrations and more frequent detections of the chemical, compared to samples from 2017 to 2022, indicating exposure could be on the rise. 

The findings from this pilot study show that changes to Environmental Protection Agency chlormequat regulations could be leading to an increase in chlormequat exposure in the U.S. population, with unknown implications for human health. The results call for more monitoring, through both animal and epidemiological studies, of chlormequat in food and people, as well as further investigation into the potential harmful effects of chlormequat exposure.




September 2023

Has the human population become a sentinel for the adverse effects of PFAS contamination on wildlife health and endangered species?

David Q. Andrews (EWG), Tasha Stoiber (EWG), Alexis M. Temkin(EWG), Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

PFAS contamination is global, as the chemicals are detected in wildlife species everywhere, from polar bears in the Arctic to ducks in Australia and fish in Ethiopia. 

Hundreds of human epidemiological studies have been completed that detail how PFAS exposure causes health harms throughout the body. Studies of PFAS harms to wildlife are comparatively sparse but those done to date document harm similar to that seen in people. This includes harm to the immune system, reproductive issues including reducing hatching success, high cholesterol, liver changes and impacts to the endocrine system.

In this peer-reviewed discussion paper, EWG scientists detail how humans have become sentinels for wildlife harm from PFAS exposure. The human research on PFAS health harms should be used to understand the impacts of exposure to wildlife and to enable measures to protect wildlife.

PFAS and industrial chemical pollution is an additional threat to endangered and threatened species along with habitat loss, climate change and pesticide exposure. Utilizing a comprehensive “One Health” approach that considers shared PFAS health risks across all species and the environment is needed to protect biodiversity. Wildlife conservation efforts and the regulation of PFAS and other industrial chemicals must consider the impact of using and releasing these substances into the environment.

At the time of publication of this paper,EWG updated our map of research studies documenting PFAS contamination in wildlife species globally. As of September 2023 the map contains over 220 studies documenting PFAS detected in more than 625 species.


OPEN ACCESS (through Nov. 15th):


September 2023

Volatile organic compounds emitted by conventional and “green” cleaning products in the U.S. market

Alexis M. Temkin (EWG)*, Samara Geller (EWG)*, Sydney Swanson (EWG), Nneka S. Leiba (EWG), Olga V. Naidenko (EWG), David Q. Andrews (EWG)

*These authors contributed equally to the study and should be considered joint first authors.

Frequent use of cleaning products and exposure to the volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that they can emit has been associated with the development of chronic respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, in adults.

Children’s health is also vulnerable to the impacts of cleaning products’ VOCs, with studies indicating that exposure during pregnancy and infancy is also linked to poor respiratory health, like wheezing and asthma.

Awareness is increasing about the importance of clean indoor air not only to protect lung health, but also for overall healthy living. We spend two thirds of our lives inside, where emissions can be several times higher than outside.

EWG science’s team were interested in identifying and quantifying the amount of indoor emissions, in the form of VOCs, from everyday consumer products, starting with cleaning products. We tested 30 products covering different product types and categories like all-purpose, bathroom, stain removers, and floor cleaners, as well as air fresheners. The products were grouped as either conventional, green, or green and fragrance-free.

We found a wide range of numbers and concentrations of VOCs across cleaning products. The good news is that there was a low VOC option available for every cleaning product category. Green products had on average lower VOCs, especially green products without fragrances.

Our research shines a spotlight on how the cleaning products that we bring into our homes can affect respiratory health. The results also show the need for government regulations and industry stewardship standards on hazardous VOC emissions from consumer products, and more transparency about VOCs in products.

Note: EWG bought the products tested in the study between December 2019 and May 2022. The test results reflect the product formulations at the time of purchase. The products currently available on the market may not be the same formulations as the products tested. Some products tested may have been discontinued, or are no longer manufactured.

A September 2023 EWG review of products tested indicates that four products are no longer available on company websites, including Febreze One, Bamboo; Attitude Sensitive Skin Natural All-Purpose Cleaner with Colloidal Oatmeal; Babyganics Floor Cleaning Concentrate, Fragrance-Free; and Martha Stewart Premium Wood and Floor Cleaner.



January 2023

Environmental Research: Locally caught freshwater fish across the United States are likely a significant source of exposure to PFOS and other perfluorinated compounds

Nadia Barbo (Duke University), Tasha Stoiber (EWG), Olga V. Naidenko (EWG), David Q. Andrews (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study analyzed more than 500 samples of freshwater fish collected from across the U.S. and tested for PFAS by the Environmental Protection Agency. Fish are contaminated with such high levels of PFAS, predominantly PFOS, that a single serving of fish is equivalent to drinking PFOS-contaminated water for a month. Even infrequent consumption of fish with median contamination levels was calculated to have a significant impact on blood serum PFOS levels.

Exposure to PFOS is associated with numerous health effects, including immune harm, reduced effectiveness of vaccines, and cancer. PFOS is detected in the blood of nearly all people and at levels above what is considered safe.

Fish is regarded as a healthy and important source of protein, and these results are particularly concerning for vulnerable communities who rely on freshwater fish for sustenance and for those who consume local fish for cultural and social reasons.

Commercial fish samples purchased at grocery stores and tested by the Food and Drug Administration had levels 280 times lower on average than fish from rivers and streams and the Great Lakes.




January 2023

Environmental Science & Technology: Optimizing Chemicals Management in the United States and Canada through the Essential-Use Approach

Simona A. Bǎlan, David Q. Andrews (EWG), Arlene Blum, Miriam L. Diamond, Seth Rojello Fernández, Elizabeth Harriman, Andrew B. Lindstrom, Anna Reade, Lauren Richter, Rebecca Sutton, Zhanyun Wang, and Carol F. Kwiatkowski

A new approach to regulating and restricting the use of hazardous or concerning chemicals with non-essential uses is presented in this manuscript.

The focus of the essential-use approach is to restrict the use of chemicals with known concerns to those necessary for health, safety and the functioning of society. This novel approach would enable both businesses and governments to promote the use of safer chemicals and quickly restrict and eliminate the use of harmful chemicals such as PFAS.

Implementation of the essential-use approach is enabled by asking specific questions about the use of chemicals of concern, including whether:

  • the function of the chemical is necessary for the product
  • use of the chemical is the safest feasible option
  • use of the chemical is justified because such use in the product is necessary for health, safety or the functioning of society.

Answering no to any of these three questions indicates that a chemical use is non-essential and the chemical should not be approved, or it should be discontinued if it is currently in use.


September 2022

Science of the Total Environment: Racial and Social Disparities in Ventura County, Calif., Related to Agricultural Pesticide Applications and Toxicity

Alexis M. Temkin (EWG), Uloma Igara Uche (EWG), Sydney Evans (EWG), Kayla M. Anderson (EWG), Sean Perrone-Gray (EWG), Chris Campbell (EWG), Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study analyzed more than 340,000 pesticide use records in Ventura County, Calif., for nearly 300 pesticides applied between 2016 and 2018, in combination with racial and social demographic data. Analysis shows a greater proportion of Hispanic, Black and Asian populations in areas of the county with the greatest pesticide use and toxicity, and areas with the lowest or no pesticide use were predominately populated by non-Hispanic white people.

High-pesticide-use areas were also associated with social vulnerability indicators like education level and linguistic isolation, further highlighting stark disparities in pesticide exposure.

Pesticide exposure has been associated with several adverse health effects, including cancer, neurotoxicity and impacts on reproduction and development. This is especially true for agricultural communities where residents may live near pesticide applications and farmworkers are exposed to pesticides on the job.

This study provides information to inform policies to protect public health and the populations that have the greatest burden of exposures and associated health risks.



October 2021

U.S. market finds lower in vitro SPF values than on labels and even less UVA protection

David Q. Andrews (EWG), Kali Rauhe (EWG),Carla Burns (EWG), Emily Spilman (EWG), Alexis M. Temkin (EWG), Sean Perrone-Gray (EWG), Olga V. Naidenko (EWG), Nneka Leiba (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study is an original research investigation of the efficacy of 51 sunscreens purchased in the U.S. and tested in a commercial laboratory. On average, sunscreens underperformed significantly when compared to the labeled SPF. The measured UVA protection was just one-quarter of the labeled SPF.

UVA radiation is linked to immunosuppression and carcinogenesis, so the current practice of prioritizing sunburn protection in products can detract from the goal of reducing health harm through balanced UV protection. These test results confirm the approach to evaluating sunscreens we use for our annual sunscreen guide . The manuscript provides more details about and suggestions for improving the efficacy of U.S. sunscreens through regulations that require strong UVA protection.



October 2021

AWWA Water Science: Identification of point source dischargers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the United States

David Q. Andrews (EWG), Jared Hayes(EWG), Tasha Stoiber (EWG), Bailey Brewer (EWG), Chris Campbell (EWG), Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study identified nearly 42,000 potential sources of the toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS that may be polluting surface water and drinking water in communities across the U.S. The most frequently identified facilities include solid waste landfills, wastewater treatment plants, electroplaters and metal finishers, and petroleum refiners.

PFAS pollution affects all communities, from the affluent to those near the fence lines of industrial facilities. This paper provides a framework for prioritizing for localized testing and identification those communities and water systems that may face greater risk.

The study bolsters EWG’s long-running calls for increasing PFAS testing, ending environmental releases of PFAS, cleaning up drinking water and setting strict PFAS regulations.



October 2021

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Community-level analysis of drinking water data highlights the importance of drinking water metrics for state, federal environmental health justice priorities in the United States

Uloma Igara Uche (EWG), Sydney Evans (EWG), Soren Rundquist (EWG), Chris Campbell (EWG), and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study provides a framework for how water quality data, community water system service area maps and demographic data such as race and ethnicity can help identify where cumulative cancer risks from polluted tap water plague communities already threatened by other environmental injustices.

Using California and Texas as case studies, the framework found that communities skewing more Hispanic or Black had a statistically significant increase in risk from cancer due to exposure to tap water contamination.

This framework is designed to demonstrate that it is both feasible and important to consider drinking water quality data when identifying communities with significant, urgent environmental quality issues.




September 2021

Environmental Research: A new approach to a legacy concern: Evaluating machine-learned Bayesian networks to predict childhood lead exposure risk from community water systems

Riley Mulhern, Javad Roostaei, Sara Schwetschenau, Tejas Pruthi, Chris Campbell (EWG) and Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson

This peer-reviewed study evaluated the correlation between lead contamination in drinking water and blood lead levels in children from birth until age 6 in Wake County, N.C.

The analysis found that low blood lead levels in children may be attributable to drinking water in community water systems. The study noted that the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule action level for lead of 15 parts per billion, established in 1991, is not low enough to detect health risk.

The study concluded that a lower health-based threshold for lead in drinking water and enhanced assessment of population-wide water lead exposure are critical to improving policies, prevention programs and risk communication strategies that protect children from the harmful effects of lead.


August 2021

Nutrients: Packaged Foods Labeled as Organic Have a More Healthful Profile Than Their Conventional Counterparts, According to Analysis of Products Sold in the U.S. in 2019–2020

Aurora Meadows (EWG), Sydney Swanson (EWG), Thomas Galligan, Ph.D. (EWG), Olga V. Naidenko, Ph.D. (EWG), Nathaniel O’Connell (Wake Forest University), Sean Perrone-Gray (EWG), Nneka Leiba (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study by EWG reviewed the ingredient data for more than 80,000 packaged food products sold in the U.S. in 2019-2020 and found certified organic products to have a more healthful profile than conventional packaged foods. The certified organic packaged foods contained fewer ultra-processed ingredients and less added sugar and sodium. They also contained more potassium, a heart-healthy nutrient. In contrast, conventional packaged foods had much greater number of cosmetic additives and trans-fat ingredients.

This study is the first to systematically evaluate the differences in healthfulness between organic and conventional processed foods in the U.S. EWG analyzed data purchased from Label Insight, a Nielsen IQ Company, which covers 85 percent of food purchases in the U.S. EWG’s finding of the better nutritional profile of certified organic foods is significant because diets lower in ultra-processed foods, added sugar, sodium and trans-fats and higher in fruits and vegetables are associated with improved health outcomes.



July 2021

Environmental Health: Development of health-based exposure limits for radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices using a benchmark dose approach

Uloma Igara Uche (EWG) and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study by EWG, published in Environmental Health, recommends stringent health-based exposure standards for both children and adults for radiofrequency radiation emitted from wireless devices.

This study used incidence data from the 2018 National Toxicology Program Study, one of the largest long-term studies on the health effects of radiofrequency radiation exposure, to estimate an exposure limit that would adequately protect children and adults against adverse impacts associated with radiofrequency radiation exposure.

EWG’s analysis pointed to a whole-body Specific Absorption Rate, or SAR, limit of 0.2 to 0.4 milliwatts per kilogram, or mW/kg, for children. For adults, a whole-body SAR limit of 2 to 4 mW/kg was derived. These findings highlight the need for the Federal Communications Commission to update its outdated health standards for wireless radiation, last revised a quarter-century ago.



March 2021

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Investigating Molecular Mechanisms of Immunotoxicity and the Utility of ToxCast for Immunotoxicity Screening of Chemicals Added to Food

Olga V. Naidenko (EWG), David Q. Andrews (EWG), Alexis M. Temkin (EWG), Tasha Stoiber (EWG), Uloma Igara Uche (EWG), Sydney Evans (EWG) and Sean Perrone-Gray (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study by EWG found that food preservatives used to prolong the shelf life of Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies Treats, Cheez-Its and almost 1,250 other popular processed foods may harm the immune system. 

The study used data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxicity Forecaster, or ToxCast, to assess the health hazards of the most common chemicals added to food, as well as the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, which can migrate to food from packaging. EWG’s analysis showed that the preservative tert-butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, poses a risk to the immune system, according to data from animal tests and from non-animal tests known as high-throughput in vitro toxicology testing.



March 2021

Environment International: Do Flame Retardant Concentrations Change in Dust After Older Upholstered Furniture Is Replaced?

Kathryn M. Rodgers, Deborah Bennett, Rebecca Moran, Kristin Knox, Tasha Stoiber (EWG), Ranjit Gill, Thomas  M. Young, Arlene Blum and Robin E. Dodson

A collaborative study conducted by researchers at EWG and several other organizations found that replacing a couch, or even just swapping the foam in upholstered furniture, decreases the levels of flame retardants in household dust. In addition to EWG, project collaborators included Silent Spring Institute, Green Science Policy Institute, University of California at Davis, California Biomonitoring and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. This study provided further evidence that the new flammability standards for upholstered furniture in California and restrictions in other states help to reduce flame retardant levels in the home.



November 2020

Environmental Health Insights: Asbestos Contamination in Talc-Based Cosmetics: An Invisible Cancer Risk

Tasha Stoiber (EWG), Sean Fitzgerald and Nneka S. Leiba (EWG)

In this peer-reviewed study, laboratory analysis commissioned by the Environmental Working Group detected asbestos in three out of 21, or 14 percent, of the talc-containing cosmetics products tested. The goal of the study was to bring attention to the prevalence of asbestos, a known human carcinogen, in cosmetics, highlighting the potential hazard posed to consumers, as well as the lack of regulations and standard screening methods for asbestos in talc designed to keep consumers safe.

The results of testing this small sample set were similar to recent tests by the Food and Drug Administration that identified asbestos in nine of 52 cosmetics samples tested. Yet there is no mandatory requirement for companies to screen cosmetics for the contaminant before sale; testing is voluntary.

These results, along with the known risks associated with asbestos exposure, highlight the need to require tests using the most sensitive analytical methods.



October 2020

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment: Health and Economic Impact of Nitrate Pollution in Drinking Water: A Wisconsin Case Study

Paul D. Mathewson, Sydney Evans (EWG), Tyler Byrnes, Anna Joos and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed analysis assesses cancer risk and adverse birth outcomes related to nitrate in community water systems and drinking water wells in Wisconsin. The direct medical costs for all studied health outcomes range from $23 to $80 million annually. The data indicate that nitrate concentrations are increasing overall. Simulations suggest that targeted mitigation efforts could result in health benefits that are comparable to more extensive statewide reduction efforts.



October 2020

Environmental Science & Technology Letters: Population-Wide Exposure to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from Drinking Water in the United States

David Q. Andrews (EWG) and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

A peer-reviewed study by scientists at the Environmental Working Group estimates that more than 200 million Americans could have the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS in their drinking water at a concentration of 1 part per trillion, or ppt, or higher. Independent scientific studies have recommended a safe level for PFAS in drinking water of 1 ppt, a standard that is endorsed by EWG.



July 2020

Chemosphere: Current PFAS Disposal Practices Can Cause Environmental Contamination

Tasha Stoiber (EWG), Sydney Evans (EWG) and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study, published in Chemosphere, discusses the latest research on current PFAS disposal options. The study concludes that the three approaches for PFAS waste management – landfilling, wastewater treatment and incineration – do not effectively contain or destroy PFAS. Through various pathways, waste disposal practices can move PFAS between disposal sites and ultimately back into the environment, disproportionately harming nearby communities. The study offers six policy recommendations for addressing the PFAS contamination crisis.



June 2020

Environmental Science & Technology Letters: Scientific Basis for Managing PFAS as a Chemical Class

Carol F. Kwiatkowski, David Q. Andrews (EWG), Linda S. Birnbaum, Thomas A. Bruton, Jamie C. DeWitt, Detlef R. U. Knappe, Maricel V. Maffini, Mark F. Miller, Katherine E. Pelch, Anna Reade, Anna Soehl, Xenia Trier, Marta Venier, Charlotte C. Wagner, Zhanyun Wang and Arlene Blum

Co-authors from North Carolina State University, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Green Science Policy Institute, East Carolina University, North Carolina State University, University of North Texas, Natural Resources Defense Council, European Environment Agency, Indiana University, Harvard University and ETH Zurich.

This peer-reviewed commentary provides the scientific arguments for why per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, should be regulated and managed as a class. PFAS chemicals are extremely persistent and do not break down. They accumulate in people and the environment, and are similar in their potent toxicity. Getting industry and governments to eliminate non-essential uses of this entire class of concerning chemicals is the most effective way to protect health.



April 2020

Agronomy: Using a Spatially Explicit Approach To Assessing the Contribution of Livestock Manure to Minnesota’s Agricultural Nitrogen Budget

Sarah A. Porter (EWG) and David E. James

In this peer-reviewed study co-authored by scientists at the Environmental Working Group and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a novel geographic information system model was developed to examine the impact of manure from animal farms on the surrounding landscape and ecosystems. The study applied the model to the state of Minnesota, assessing how the field application of manure from animal feedlots, combined with commercial fertilizer sold for agricultural uses, can transfer too much nitrogen to the fields. Excessive nitrogen loading in soils and fields leads to nitrate pollution of groundwater and surface water, which can harm human health and local environmental quality.



March 2020

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Analysis of Cumulative Cancer Risk Associated With Disinfection Byproducts in U.S. Drinking Water

Sydney Evans (EWG), Chris Campbell (EWG) and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study develops new drinking water benchmarks. The study is a side-by-side comparison of risk assessment methods. The study estimates cancer risk from drinking water disinfection byproducts, using both animal and human studies.

The analysis draws on comprehensive water contaminant occurrence data in EWG’s Tap Water Database and recently released data from EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 4 dataset. It offers a compelling argument for assessing the cumulative risk of both regulated and unregulated contaminants and highlights the value of using human data in health risk assessments.


March 2020

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health: Application of the Key Characteristics of Carcinogens to Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Alexis M. Temkin (EWG), Barbara A. Hocevar, David Q. Andrews (EWG), Olga V. Naidenko (EWG) and Lisa M. Kamendulis

This peer-reviewed study examined publicly available data for 26 different per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances, also known as PFAS, and assessed whether these chemicals exhibit activity similar to known carcinogens. We found that all of the evaluated PFAS can affect processes associated with cancer development. Every PFAS chemical evaluated showed at least one of the key characteristics of carcinogens, and up to five different key characteristics of carcinogens were associated with the most studied PFAS. Such an assessment can help advance the development of health-protective standards for this class of toxic chemicals.




February 2020

Environmental Health: Application of the Food Quality Protection Act children’s health safety factor in the U.S. EPA pesticide risk assessments

Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study brings attention to the landmark Food Quality Protection Act, which requires the Environmental Protection Agency to protect children’s health by applying an extra margin of safety to legal limits for pesticides in food. EWG’s investigation, published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health, found that the EPA has failed to add the mandated children’s health safety factor to the allowable limits for almost 90 percent of the most common pesticides.



September 2019

Heliyon: Cumulative risk analysis of carcinogenic contaminants in United States drinking water

Sydney Evans (EWG), Chris Campbell (EWG) and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study, which draws on comprehensive water contaminant occurrence data in EWG’s National Tap Water Database, is the first nationwide cumulative cancer risk assessment of carcinogenic contaminants in drinking water. This analysis shows that more than 100,000 lifetime cancer cases could be due to 22 carcinogenic chemicals in tap water. The majority of this risk is due to the presence of arsenic, disinfection byproducts and radioactive contaminants at levels at or below current legal limits.



June 2019

Environmental Research: Exposure-based assessment and economic valuation of adverse birth outcomes and cancer risk due to nitrate in United States drinking water

Alexis Temkin (EWG), Sydney Evans (EWG), Tatiana Manidis, Chris Campbell (EWG) and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

This peer-reviewed publication provides the first national analysis of the impact of nitrate contamination based on the latest epidemiological research and EWG’s Tap Water Database. Our analysis suggests that nitrate pollution of drinking water may be responsible for 2,300 to 12,594 cancer cases a year and cost Americans an estimated $1.5 billion for health care.




May 2019

Environmental Health: Applying a cumulative risk framework to drinking water assessment: A commentary

Tasha Stoiber (EWG), Alexis Temkin (EWG), David Andrews (EWG), Chris Campbell (EWG) and Olga V. Naidenko (EWG)

Peer-reviewed study that calculates the cumulative cancer risk from drinking water contaminants found in California based on the research in EWG’s Tap Water Database. In total, drinking water could be causing more than 15,000 excess cases of cancer, most of it coming from water that is legal to drink.




January 2019

Environmental Health: Environmental justice and drinking water quality: Are there socioeconomic disparities in nitrate levels in U.S. drinking water?

Laurel A. Schaider, Lucien Swetschinski, Christopher Campbell (EWG) and Ruthann A. Rudel 

Co-authors from Silent Spring Institute

Peer-reviewed study conducted by the Silent Spring Institute and Environmental Working Group found that Hispanic communities are disproportionately exposed to the fertilizer chemical nitrate in their drinking water. This research was based on the EWG’s Tap Water Database, the authoritative source for consumers, journalists and researchers who want to know about contaminants in the nation’s drinking water.


December 2018

Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety: Consumer Use of Sunscreens Containing Nanoparticles

Chapter 16, Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety: Risks, Regulation, and Management

Maxine J. McCall, Brian Gulson and David Andrews (EWG)

Co-authors from Macquarie University and CSIRO Agriculture and Food

This article summarizes the use, regulations and safety relating to nanoparticles in sunscreen. In summary, mineral sunscreens, including those using nanoparticles, have a good safety profile and can reduce UV exposure. For more information, consult the EWG sunscreen report.

August 2018

Environmental Science & Technology Letters: Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging

Laurel A. Schaider, Simona A. Balan, Arlene Blum, David Q. Andrews (EWG), Mark J. Strynar, Margaret E. Dickinson, David M. Lunderberg, Johnsie R. Lang and Graham F. Peaslee

Co-authors from Silent Spring Institute, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, University of California at Berkeley, EPA, Hope College, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, University of Notre Dame

This peer-reviewed paper found that nearly half of the food wrappers tested, including ones from nearly every major fast food company, contained PFAS. The chemical PFOA, formerly used to make DuPont’s Teflon, was found on a number of samples. This paper was published 15 years after EWG wrote to the CEOs of nine national chains urging them to stop using PFAS.



June 2017

Environmental Health Perspectives: The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban

Rolf U. Halden, Avery E. Lindeman, Allison E. Aiello, David Andrews (EWG), William A. Arnold, Patricia Fair, Rebecca E. Fuoco, Laura A. Geer, Paula I. Johnson, Rainer Lohmann, Kristopher McNeill, Victoria P. Sacks, Ted Schettler, Roland Weber, R. Thomas Zoeller, and Arlene Blum

Co-authors from Arizona State University, Green Science Policy Institute, University of North Carolina, University of Minnesota, Medical University of South Carolina, Health Research Communication Strategies, State University of New York, California Department of Public Health, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, ETH Zurich, Science and Environmental Health Network, POPs Environmental Consulting, University of Massachusetts Amherst

This peer-reviewed scientific consensus statement urged an end to the widespread use of triclosan and triclocarban in consumer products. Triclosan is a chemical that EWG has advised consumers to avoid, and EWG testing in 2008 detected triclosan in the urine of all 20 teen girls tested. This publication calls for an end to the indiscriminate use of antimicrobials.



February 2017

Environmental Science & Technology Letters: Temporal Trends in Exposure to Organophosphate Flame Retardants in the United States

Kate Hoffman, Craig M. Butt, Thomas F. Webster, Emma V. Preston, Stephanie C. Hammel, Colleen Makey, Amelia M. Lorenzo, Ellen M. Cooper, Courtney Carignan, John D. Meeker, Russ Hauser, Adelheid Soubry, Susan K. Murphy, Thomas M. Price, Cathrine Hoyo, Emma Mendelsohn, Johanna Congleton (EWG), Julie L. Daniels and Heather M. Stapleton

Co-authors from Duke University, Boston University School of Public Heath, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Epidemiology Research Group, Duke University Medical Center, North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The concentration of organophosphate flame retardants and plasticizers detected in people increased considerable between 2002 to 2015. For one flame retardant, BDCIPP, a breakdown product of a known carcinogen, TDCIPP, the concentration in people increased fifteenfold.


August 2016

Environmental Science & Technology Letters: Detection of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in U.S. Drinking Water Linked to Industrial Sites, Military Fire Training Areas, and Wastewater Treatment Plants

Xindi C. Hu, David Q. Andrews (EWG), Andrew B. Lindstrom, Thomas A. Bruton, Laurel A. Schaider, Philippe Grandjean, Rainer Lohmann, Courtney C. Carignan, Arlene Blum, Simona A. Balan, Christopher P. Higgins and Elsie M. Sunderland

Co-Authors from Harvard University, Environmental Protection Agency, University of California at Berkeley, Silent Spring, University of Rhode Island, Green Science Policy Institute, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Colorado School of Mines

This peer-reviewed study correlated PFAS contamination in water with manufacturing plants, military fire-training areas and wastewater treatment plants. Drinking water served to 6 million people had PFOA and PFOS above the EPA health advisory value. EWG has since developed a map of PFAS contamination and estimates that up to 110 million Americans could have PFAS contaminated water.


July 2016

Environment International: Regional comparison of organophosphate flame retardant (PFR) urinary metabolites and tetrabromobenzoic acid (TBBA) in mother-toddler pairs from California and New Jersey

Craig M. Butt, Kate Hoffman, Albert Chen, Amelia Lorenzo, Johanna Congleton (EWG) and Heather M. Stapleton

Co-authors from Duke University

In this peer-reviewed study, young children had higher levels of two flame retardants, one known to cause cancer in animals and one suspected endocrine disruptor, than their mothers. For those children living in California, the levels were higher than for children in New Jersey.



October 2015

Environment International: Nail polish as a source of exposure to triphenyl phosphate

Emma Mendelsohn, Audrey Hagopian, Kate Hoffman, Craig M. Butt, Amelia Lorenzo, Johanna Congleton (EWG), Thomas F. Webster and Heather M. Stapleton

Co-authors from Duke University, Boston University School of Public Health

Triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP was detected in the body of every woman after using a nail polish containing the chemical. This chemical is incredible common and was identified in nearly half of all nail polishes in the EWG’s Skin Deep database.



August 2014

Environmental Science & Technology Letters: Metabolites of Organophosphate Flame Retardants and 2-Ethylhexyl Tetrabromobenzoate in Urine from Paired Mothers and Toddlers

Craig M. Butt, Johanna Congleton (EWG), Kate Hoffman, Mingliang Fang and Heather M. Stapleton

Co-authors from Duke University

Testing was conducted to assess the exposure of young children and their mothers to flame retardants chemicals. The flame-retardant metabolite DPHP was detected in the urine of 95 percent of adults and 100 percent of children. On average children had higher levels of flame retardants than their mothers.


February 2009

Quantification of U.S. Marine Fisheries Subsidies

Renee Sharp (EWG) and U. Rashid Sumaila

This peer-reviewed study analyzed the types of subsidies paid to the fishing sector by various levels of the U.S. government, based on a detailed accounting of individual subsidy programs. According to the research, federal and state fuel subsidies for the fishing fleet and fisheries research accounted for the vast majority of fisheries subsidies between 1996 and 2004, with total subsidies amounting to $6.4 billion. Fisheries subsidies encourage fishing, which is likely to result in the depletion of the nation’s fishery resources.


November 2008

Science of The Total Environment: Sources of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Urban Wastewater, in Oakland, California

Jennifer Jackson and Rebecca Sutton (EWG)

This peer-reviewed study analyzed the sources of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in urban wastewater in Oakland, Calif. The study reported that phthalates, the antibacterial soap ingredient triclosan and the plasticizer BPA were present in wastewater samples, suggesting a need for minimizing the environmental contamination caused by these substances.


July 2002

Public Health Reports: Biomonitoring of Industrial Pollutants: Health and Policy Implications of the Chemical Body Burden

Joseph W. Thornton, Michael McCally and Jane Houlihan (EWG)

Peer-reviewed study documented how biomonitoring of industrial chemicals in human tissues and fluids has shown that everyone carries a “body burden” of synthetic, potentially toxic chemicals in their bodies, blood, fat and other tissues. The study highlights how biomonitoring research can help advance public health goals.