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EWG’s News Roundup (11/3): Greener Homes, Taxpayer Dollars Flow to Industrial Farms and More

Friday, November 3, 2017

This week, EWG released our Healthy Living: Home Guide – a user-friendly tool that explains, material by material, how home building and maintenance can affect people’s health.

“To protect their health at home, consumers should have as much information as possible,” said Tasha Stoiber, an EWG senior scientist and lead author of the guide. “This new guide really allows people to do their homework. Potential health hazards come from paints and finishes, furniture, carpets, cabinetry, and products under the kitchen and bathroom sink. These products and materials can release toxic chemicals into the air that also accumulate in household dust, which may lead to a host of health problems.”

EWG also released the latest update to our Farm Subsidy Database. The subsidy data included now spans from 1995 to 2016. It’s no surprise that we found some of the most profitable industrial farms in the country receive the lion‘s share of taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Also this week, scientists from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released a study that found women who consume more pesticide-laden produce have more difficulty conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy than those who avoid produce high in pesticide residue. We analyzed this groundbreaking study and gave our prospective.

And, we couldn’t go a week without more controversy from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. First, Pruitt cut a deal with Monsanto and other agrochemical giants to allow the toxic, crop-damaging pesticide dicamba to continue being sprayed on fields nationwide. Later in the week, The Washington Post reported that Pruitt will be heading down to a luxury resort in South Carolina next week to speak at the at the board meeting for the largest chemical industry trade group, the American Chemistry Council. No doubt, this is an opportunity for Pruitt to unwind, relax and receive some well-deserved praise from the chemical polluters he’s done so much for since taking control of the EPA.

“He’ll get a warm reception,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “After all, until Scott Pruitt came along, chemical companies held the worst reputation for environmental integrity in America.”

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

EWG’s Healthy Living: Home Guide

Builder: How to Choose Green Building Materials for a Healthy Home

The Environmental Working Group today released the Healthy Living Home Guide which takes a deep dive into the building materials that create a home. Here, BUILDER takes a look at some of the top tips from the EWG and the do's and don'ts of choosing products for each category.

Well+Good: Are Toxic Chemicals Lurking in Your Home?

Today, the Environmental Working Group released its Healthy Home Guide to provide consumers the tools they need in order to be a savvy resident—because, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air indoors can be two to five times more polluted than the air outdoors (yeah, I was surprised too).

Rodale’s Organic Life: The Air Inside Your Home Is At Least Twice As Polluted As Outside—This Guide Shows You Exactly What To Do

Did you know that as Americans, on average we spend 90 percent of our time indoors? Did you also know that the air inside our homes is at least 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outside, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

EWG’s Farm Subsidy Database

Politico: EWG database now reflects 2014 farm bill

EWG, which is pushing for eliminating subsidies for wealthy operations, said in a statement that the new data “once again confirms that the lion’s share of farm subsidies for ‘covered commodities’ like corn and soybeans are flowing to the nation’s largest and most successful farm operations.”

AgriMarkerting: Environmental Working Group Releases Updated Farm Subsidy Payment Database

The Environmental Working Group has updated its farm subsidy database with information from 2015 and 2016, reflecting programs enacted as part of the 2014 farm bill. 

Idaho Statesman: They broke labor rules. We gave them $8M in farm subsidies and 8,000 foreign workers.

They and their payments make up a tiny sliver of Idaho’s big and small farms, dairies, forestry companies, beekeepers and ranchers. Last year alone, Idaho farms got $155 million in subsidies, according to the Environmental Working Group, which gathers subsidy records from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has pushed for reform of subsidy programs.

Nonstick Chemicals in Drinking Water

Bucks County Courier Times: Is the EPA missing PFC water contamination across the country? One expert says yes.

That number is strikingly close to a 15 million person estimate generated in a June 2017 analysis from Northeastern University and the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, which tallied up areas of known contamination nationwide.

Asbury Park Press: NJ first to set limits on dangerous chemical PFOA

The Environmental Working Group released a report this summer that showed, among other findings, PFOA was more prevalent in New Jersey tap water than any other state.

Nitrate in Drinking Water

EnvironmentGuru: How Much Nitrate Is in Rural America’s Water?

Read the full story in In These Times. On July 26, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) announced the launch of the their Tap Water Database: “Starting today, the vast majority of Americans can learn about every potentially harmful chemical in their drinking water and what scientists say are the safe levels of those contaminants.

Breast Cancer

U.S. News & World Report: The Sneaky Breast Threats Around You

 Developed by the Silent Spring Institute, the app provides simple, evidence-based tips on how to reduce exposure to a variety of harmful chemicals in your home. The Environmental Working Group offers tips on how to reduce toxic exposures in your home, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides advice on how to limit your exposure to chemicals at home, work and play. Reprinted by MSN.


The Hill: Top Lobbyists 2017: Grass roots

Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group

The Environmental Working Group is coordinating with allies to oppose President Trump’s policies, keeping its main focus on areas like toxic chemicals, agriculture and human health.

TEDWomen 2017

PR Newswire: TEDWomen 2017 Conference Opens in New Orleans

A number of brands and organizations have partnered with TEDWomen 2017 to share ideas and foster an atmosphere of innovation.  This year's partners include: The Boston Consulting Group, Brightline Initiative, Bumble Bizz, IBM, Logitech, Westpac Group, BNY Mellon, Environmental Working Group, The Harnisch Foundation, Louisiana Economic Development, Google's Made with Code and Snap Inc., Morgan Stanley and P&G. Reprinted by Spoke and 71 other media outlets.

Pesticides, Pregnancy and EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

CNN: Study ties pesticides in foods to reduced fertility in women

The researchers found that, compared with women who ate less than one daily serving of high-pesticide-residue fruits and vegetables, those who ate 2.3 servings or more had 18% lower probability of getting pregnant and 26% lower probability of giving birth to a live baby.

Yahoo!: You’ve been washing apples wrong

They are one of the most commonly listed items on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list, so ensuring you remove residual pesticides is important.

The Philadelphia Inquirer: High-Pesticide Produce Not the Best Recipe for Fertility

For more on pesticide levels in produce, visit the Environmental Working Group.

The Daily Mail: Want a baby? Go organic! Pesticide-covered food may be linked to infertility - but washing your groceries won't help, study finds

Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a list of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits and vegetables. For 2017, its 'dirty dozen' included (in order): 

MSN: 9 Healthy Snacks Celebrities Love—Plus How to Make Them Even More Nutritious

Apples are a star source of fiber and antioxidants. The cheese provides protein, which helps support metabolism, balance blood sugar, and boost satiety. As for the type of apple to crunch on? "I would recommend organic apples, since this fruit is on the Environmental Working Group's dirty dozen list—produce with the most pesticide residues," Sass points out. "And go for 100% grass-fed organic cheese, which contains more healthy omega-3 fatty acids.”

The Vancouver Sun: What's the best way to wash pesticides off apples?

Apples are repeat offenders on the Environmental Working Group’s(EWG) “Dirty Dozen” list. For 2017, they placed fourth – after strawberries, spinach and nectarines – on the register of produce with the highest load of pesticide residues.

EWG’s Skin Deep®

Happi: Come Clean

“By taking these steps, SC Johnson will help millions of consumers be smarter about chemicals in cleaning products that have the potential to cause allergic skin responses. And SC Johnson is once again raising the bar for other companies. This level of transparency is sweeping across other industries and is rapidly becoming the new normal for companies, like SC Johnson, who place a premium on giving consumers more, rather than less, ingredient information,” said Ken Cook, president and co-founder of EWG.

Viva Glam: Is Your Nail Polish Toxic? The Five, Seven, and Eight-Free Brands You Should Know About

Research by Duke University and the Environmental Working Group came up with the conclusion that chemicals found in nail polish and TPHP, which has been found to disrupt endocrine, is messing up with polish-wearers’ bodies.

EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

The Brisbane Times: Tom Brady's 'particularly unusual' advice about preventing sunburn

Rather, they are seeking alternatives they believe to be safer, be it a mineral/physical sunscreen instead of a chemical one or a sunscreen that doesn't contain certain ingredients. Specifically, oxybenzoneretinyl palmitate and methylisothiazolinone have all been called out by the Environmental Working Group as being "high hazard" ingredients.

Salon: Astronomers discover exoplanet where it rains sunscreen

(The nonprofit watchdog group Environmental Working Group actually recommends titanium dioxide sunscreen as one of the safest.) What scientists detected in Kepler 13Ab’s atmosphere was technically titanium oxide, as opposed to the sunscreen-component titanium dioxide, mainly because the temperature under which the atoms fused yielded a slightly different molecule with one less oxygen atom.

EWG’s National Tap Water Database 

The San Diego Union Tribune: State water board scraps restrictions on toxic metal

In a 2016 study, the Environmental Working Group found that Pala and Camp Pendleton had the highest levels of hexavalent chromium in San Diego for the years 2013 through 2015, while Oceanside and Poway showed the lowest.

Earth Island Journal: Tyson Foods Linked to Largest Toxic Dead Zone in US History

A recent report by Environmental Working Group found that more than 200 million Americans — over half of the people in our country — are exposed to contaminated drinking water due to fertilizer pollution. The estimated clean water costs to taxpayers are over $2 billion per year.

EWG's Consumer Guide to Seafood

Newsmax: 7 Foods That Can Cause Cancer

According to the Environmental Working Group, farmed salmon has about 16 times the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in wild salmon. In addition, farmed fish doesn't contain as much heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids as wild salmon.  


Ravalli Republic: Tester co-sponsors asbestos ban bill in Senate; Daines elects to wait on further research

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said Thursday, "We have a president who has routinely dismissed the risk of asbestos, and he has appointed a former chemical industry lobbyist and a scientific consultant for chemical companies as the top officials in charge of regulating toxic chemicals. We're way beyond the fox guarding the henhouse. We're talking about the fox being hired to do henhouse design/build, including the security system. Reprinted by The Billings Gazette and three other outlets.

EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning

WebMD: Are Green Cleaners Better For You??

“People aren’t going to use products over and over if they’re not getting the stains off, if they’re not breaking up the soils,” says Samara Geller, a database and research analyst with the Environmental Working Group, or EWG. “They have been demonstrated to be just as effective at tackling various cleaning chores as traditional cleaning products.”

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