Environmental connections to public health >>
EWG News Roundup (Oct. 21): Water Contamination, Food Policy and Conservation
Beginning this Friday, EWG will post news you can use – some of the recent media coverage featuring our content and spokespeople.
This week, we continued to see reports on three data-intensive projects focusing on threats to water.
The “Erin Brockovich” chemical contaminated the drinking water of more than 200 million Americans.
And a report from last summer mapped the locations of Confined Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, in North Carolina. Some of those CAFOs were severely impacted by Hurricane Matthew, putting water sources in the eastern portion of the state at risk of swine and poultry waste contamination. Yuck.
There were also a couple of articles on EWG’s new conservation database, which documents for the first time ever, how much money has been spent on programs to help farmers protect water, land and air from the impacts of large-scale agriculture.
Hurricane Matthew and CAFOs in North Carolina:
Together with the state’s chicken houses, North Carolina’s hog barns generate 10 billion gallons of fecal waste annually, “enough to fill more than 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools,” reports Environmental Working Group, much of it stored in open cesspools known as “lagoons.” Reprint of Mother Jones story.
Each year in North Carolina, hogs produce 10 billion gallons of feces and urine, enough to fill 15,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group in June. When extreme flooding occurs, not only do the animals risk drowning, but the waste lagoons face the potential of breaching (when the walls give way) or being inundated with water.
In North Carolina, state regulators exempt poultry CAFOs from public records disclosure, but earlier this year, environmental groups revealed there are about 3,900. They mapped them out for the public to see for the first time. (The state does disclose locations of cattle and swine CAFOs.)
Chromium-6 in Tap Water:
On today’s edition of “The Doctors”, the doctors discuss a recent new study that came upon the discovery relating to America’s water source that millions of people are drinking. According to the study done by the Environmental Working Group, and their research has determined that nearly 218 million American’s drinking water contains high levels of the chemical “chromium-6”, and is considered toxic to the human body.
But while our water is an infinite upgrade from untreated sewage, it's certainly not perfect, and not just in national-news-making situations like the tragedy in Flint, Michigan. In fact, it can be dangerous; a new study from the Environmental Working Group found dangerous levels of chromium-6 (the carcinogenic "Erin Brockovich" chemical) in drinking water that nearly 200 million Americans drink, from all 50 states.
EWG’s Conservation Database
The Environmental Working Group’s new database breaks down the allocation of federal funds for agriculture conservation. Reprinted by Yahoo!News.
“We’ve spent a lot of money, but a lot of the natural resource and environmental problems are getting worse, so what are we going to do?” asked Craig Cox, a senior vice president with the Environmental Working Group in Ames, Iowa.
Avoid Eating Pesticides in Food:
It’s nice to buy all organic, but if you’re watching your paycheck, pick your poison. The most simple way to do this is to check the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15. These lists break down which foods are the most important to buy organic (most laden with pesticides) and which are likely to be “cleaner” even if not organic.
Toxic Chemicals in Personal Care Products:
Health concerns about triclosan are not new, in 2014 a study released by the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences said it found that long-term exposure led to liver cancer in mice. In fact, many non-profit organizations including the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) have called for a complete ban of triclosan, not just in hands soaps. Reprinted by Yahoo! Finance.
There’s no way that cool aqua hue occurs naturally in toothpaste. The Environmental Working Group says that FD&C Blue 1 is a synthetic dye produced from petroleum, which can accumulate in the body over time. Reprint from Prevention magazine.
Craig Cox with the Environmental Working Group in Ames, Iowa, agrees that every field needs some sort of management. But he says voluntary measures don’t work.