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Environmental connections to public health >>

EWG News Roundup (4/7): Drinking Water Worries, Pesticides and Who’s Really Feeding the World?

Friday, April 7, 2017

According to a new nationwide Gallup survey, Americans are really worried about contaminants in their drinking water. Nearly two-thirds of Americans have “a great deal” concern about pollution of tap water, and 57 percent worry “a great deal” about pollution of the nation’s rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Concern hasn’t been this high since 2001.

EWG is conducting its own survey asking Americans about which drinking water contaminants they’re most concerned. Please take a few minutes to let us know.

As you likely know, last week the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency caved to pressure by the pesticide lobby to allow conventional agribusiness to continue using chlorpyrifos, despite irrefutable scientific evidence that shows how exposure, even at the smallest levels, can harm children’s brains. We’ve compiled a list of fruits and vegetables that contain the most chlorpyrifos residue – but no level of chlorpyrifos is safe for kids.

And EWG’s Feeding the World report is back in the headlines and busting the myth that Big Ag is feeding the world. Turns out, three-quarters of the world’s food is grown by small, family farms.

Here’s some news you can use as you begin your weekend.

Chlorpyrifos

EcoWatch: EPA Scraps Scheduled Ban of Widely Used Pesticide Known to Harm Kids’ Brains

“The chance to prevent brain damage in children was a low bar for most of Scott Pruitt's predecessors, but it apparently just wasn't persuasive enough for an administrator who isn't sure if banning lead from gasoline was a good idea,” said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook. “Instead, in one of his first major decisions as head of the EPA, like a toddler running toward his parents, Pruitt leaped into the warm and waiting arms of the pesticide industry.”

International Business Times: Alarming measles outbreak in Italy blamed on anti-vaccination populist movement

There was outrage in the US this week after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied a petition to ban the pesticide, despite known links to brain damage in young children. “The notion that we should continue to use a pesticide linked to autism because it's needed to feed the world is an outrageous, ridiculous statement,” Scott Faber, the Vice-President of the Environmental Working Group.

Feeding the World

The Conversation: Healthy soil is the real key to feeding the world

While conventional industrialized agriculture feeds the developed world, most of the world’s farmers work small family farms. A 2016 Environmental Working Group report found that almost 90 percent of U.S. agricultural exports went to developed countries with few hungry people. Reprinted by  Phys.org, Scientific American, Seattle Post Intelligencer and 60 more news outlets.

Food

CNN: How to pick the healthiest fish for your plate

If you're looking for a fish that meets all three criteria, the Environmental Working Group's Consumer Guide to Seafood and the Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector both provide comprehensive information. Version printed by The Conversation.

The Daily Meal: Crete Cook Cultivates Sustainable Sanctuaries

This includes the amazing teachers in our CCS Network, Peliti.gr, your Food Tank, Seed Freedom Movement, Pesticide Action Network, Center for Responsible Technology, Environmental Working Group, Food Democracy, Moms Across America, and many other groups around the world. Reprinted by Food Tank.

Eat This, Not That: The Unhealthiest Breads on the Planet

The Environmental Working Group notes that because there are so few studies on its potential health risks (which include asthma, allergies, and cancer), azodicarbonamide should be removed from the food supply. We recommend you remove this bread from yours.

Philly.com: Why phosphate additives will be the next taboo ingredient

Olga Naidenko, an Environmental Working Group senior science adviser, is concerned that the prevalence of phosphorus additives in all types of packaged foods has led to the average American consuming more phosphorus than is recommended.

Frozen Food

Mom.me: EWG Releases the Best Frozen Foods to Buy for Your Kids

Last week, the Environmental Working Group released some tips for parents to help them make smart decisions when shopping in the frozen food aisle, and they gave a shout-out to these five foods.

Shopper’s Guide

ABC 33: WYTV (Youngstown, OH): The Dirty Dozen

Every year, the Environmental Working Group, or EWG, releases a list called the Dirty Dozen, which is composed of the twelve foods that have the highest amount of pesticides and chemicals on them.

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Dirty Dozen and Clean 15: Which produce are likely to contain pesticides

The Environmental Working Group has designated two lists for produce: One has the fruits and vegetables most likely to contain pesticide residues (the Dirty Dozen), and one has the fruits and vegetables least likely to contain pesticide residues (the Clean 15). The Dirty Dozen are ranked by levels of pesticides, with 1 being the highest. Reprinted by five other media outlets.

The Cheat Sheet: It’s a Waste of Your Money to Buy These 15 Organic Fruits and Vegetables

The Environmental Working Group releases a list each year of fruits and veggies you should always buy organic. Those are known as “The Dirty Dozen,” thanks to their high likelihood of exposure to and absorption of pesticides. On the other end of the spectrum, the group recommends if you’re going to choose non-organic, you should look at “The Clean 15.” These fruits and vegetables might contain trace amounts of pesticides, but overall they’re not very harmful and worth buying non-organic.

Real Simple: Here Are the Fruits and Veggies With the Most Pesticides – Hint: the answer is not avocado

Fruits and vegetables are often considered an important component of so-called clean eating—but have you wondered how clean your produce actually is? Well, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), some items like peaches, nectarines, and potatoes might be more contaminated than you realize.

Sunscreens

CBS8: WVLT (Knoxville, Tenn.): Safer sunscreen shopping tips

One other concern about sunscreens - Environmental Working Group has noted that those popular sprays you see around the pool all summer, are not what we should be inhaling in our lungs. Plus, they could give lighter coverage - so there is a recommendation to stay away from sprays.

PopSugar: 10 Safe Sunscreens For Kids (Including Some You Can Find at Your Drugstore)

The Environmental Working Group's recommendations for the best sunscreens for tots — products that do not contain potential hormone disruptors — is considered the definitive list of safe options. According to EWG Senior Scientist David Andrews, it's inactive ingredients like retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) and oxybenzone that parents need to look out for. "By and large, the ones that do well in our database are the ones that are mineral-based products with a higher percent of zinc oxide, as well as some of the products with titanium dioxide," he said.

Water

The Huffington Post: Americans’ Fears About Water Pollution Hit A 16-Year High

Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research at the Environmental Working Group, said the situation in Flint is just one example of a water quality concern likely weighing on Americans’ minds. A report released last year found that 5.2 million Americans’ drinking water supplies are tainted with cancer-linked synthetic chemicals

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