PEER-REVIEWED STUDIES PUBLISHED BY EWG SCIENTISTS
Asbestos Contamination in Talc-Based Cosmetics: An Invisible Cancer Risk
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.
Health and Economic Impact of Nitrate Pollution in Drinking Water: A Wisconsin Case Study
Co-authors from Clean Wisconsin
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.
Population-Wide Exposure to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from Drinking Water in the United States
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.
Current PFAS Disposal Practices Can Cause Environmental Contamination
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.
Scientific Basis for Managing PFAS as a Chemical Class
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.
OPEN ACCESS: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.estlett.0c00255
Analysis of Cumulative Cancer Risk Associated With Disinfection Byproducts in U.S. Drinking Water
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.
Application of the Key Characteristics of Carcinogens to Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances
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.
OPEN ACCESS: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/5/1668/htm
Application of the Food Quality Protection Act children’s health safety factor in the U.S. EPA pesticide risk assessments
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.
Cumulative risk analysis of carcinogenic contaminants in United States drinking water
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.
OPEN ACCESS: https://www.heliyon.com/article/e02314
Exposure-based assessment and economic valuation of adverse birth outcomes and cancer risk due to nitrate in United States drinking water
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.
Applying a cumulative risk framework to drinking water assessment: A commentary
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.
Environmental justice and drinking water quality: Are there socioeconomic disparities in nitrate levels in U.S. drinking water?
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.
Consumer Use of Sunscreens Containing Nanoparticles
Chapter 16, Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety: Risks, Regulation, and Management
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.
Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging
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.
OPEN ACCESS: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00435
The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban
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.
OPEN ACCESS: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp1788
Temporal Trends in Exposure to Organophosphate Flame Retardants in the United States
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.
Detection of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in U.S. Drinking Water Linked to Industrial Sites, Military Fire Training Areas, and Wastewater Treatment Plants
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.
Regional comparison of organophosphate flame retardant (PFR) urinary metabolites and tetrabromobenzoic acid (TBBA) in mother-toddler pairs from California and New Jersey
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.
NOT OPEN ACCESS: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412016302471
Nail polish as a source of exposure to triphenyl phosphate
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.
NOT OPEN ACCESS: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412015300714
Metabolites of Organophosphate Flame Retardants and 2-Ethylhexyl Tetrabromobenzoate in Urine from Paired Mothers and Toddlers
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.
NOT OPEN ACCESS: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/es5025299
Sources of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Urban Wastewater, in Oakland, California
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.
Biomonitoring of Industrial Pollutants: Health and Policy Implications of the Chemical Body Burden
Joseph W. Thornton, Michael McCally, Jane Houlihan
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.