EWG News and Analysis
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EWG News Roundup (11/9): Voters Turn Back Trump’s Polluter Agenda, Eating Organic Slashes Cancer Risk, and More
As expected, the top news of the week was the midterm elections, in which voters across the nation issued a resounding rebuke of President Trump and his policies, including his pro-polluter agenda.
“President Trump was right,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “The election was a referendum on his presidency and policies, and the results are a disaster for his administration but good news for the American people.”
We also broke down a recent eye-opening study published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association that shows frequently eating organic foods could significantly reduce one’s risk of developing cancer. The study, which tested 70,000 participants over four and half years, showed that those who adopted organic habits had a 25 percent reduced cancer risk.
Here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.
Environmental Protection Agency
In a statement reacting to the ongoing absence of the page, Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), said the situation is alarming – but also in keeping with the tenure of acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler, who took over from Scott Pruitt a few months ago.
As for the EPA’s new landing page saying, “We want to help you find what you are looking for,” Environmental Working Group (EWG) president Ken Cook argued, “Apparently they don't want to help very much.”
The results of the midterm elections are a repudiation of President Trump’s pro-polluter agenda that could not have come at a more critical time for the health and well being of every American, said EWG President Ken Cook.
The $305 million in subsidies was released in a report by the Environmental Working Group, which gets its data from the Department of Agriculture. Reprinted by Michigan Capitol Confidential.
In light of the recent reports by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of finding traces of glyphosate in dozens of popular breakfast foods – especially those aimed at kids – two companies have committed to sharing the results of lab tests for the weed killer on their oat-based products.
Today we read in a report from the Environmental Working Group that there is Roundup to be found in cereals. Traces of glyphosate are found in mothers’ milk, according to a study commissioned by Moms Across America and Sustainable Pulse. Strange allergies and behavioral changes in children point to a lack of nutrients critical in formative years, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Two months after publishing its first series of tests, part two of an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study finds residues of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, in all General Mills’ Cheerios and PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats products sampled.
The amount of glyphosate used in Florida on orange groves, sugar cane fields and city streets is enormous. Over 3.5 million pounds per square mile of glyphosate was sprayed in Florida ,according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) between 2000 and 2012.
According to the results of laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group, the amount of the toxic herbicide glyphosate “exceeded the amount of both Vitamin D and Vitamin B12” in General Mills’ Honey Nut Cheerios. More glyphosate than Vitamin A was found in Quaker Oatmeal Squares.
The Detox Project website reveals “a third of organic oat-based products recently tested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) had trace levels of glyphosate.” Even so, Rowlands feels organic-labelled products are a better consumer choice than regular foodstuffs when it comes to minimizing consumption of pesticide residues.
Take cornflakes and muesli. Yes, these are made from field crops that are also sprayed with a glyphosate-based weed killer like Roundup. A 2018 Environmental Working Group report titled “Breakfast With a Dose of Roundup” noted that all but two of 45 products tested had oats with traces of glyphosate but that 31 of these showed alarming levels exceeding its own child safety standards.
Recently the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) released a report stating they had tested and found glyphosate residues in dozens of oat-based products, and a 2nd EWG report looking specifically at children’s cereals. Many farmers spray the chemical on a crop to dry it out and get an earlier and more consistent harvest. The brands referenced in the EWG article had leveled up to 1,300 parts per billion (ppb), while the EWG child-protective health benchmark for daily exposure to glyphosate in food is 160 ppb.
The suit states recent testing by the Environmental Working Group revealed that defendants' products contain glyphosate, a weed killer, with Quaker Old Fashioned Oats having the highest levels of the 45 products tested. The suit states the defendant do not disclose this information on the products' labels.
A second round of food testing11,12 by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) now reveals glyphosate is a staple contaminant in Cheerios breakfast cereals and Quaker Oats products. All 28 samples contained glyphosate; 26 at levels suspected to be harmful to children's health.
Have you experienced increased inquiries from worried consumers since a California jury ordered Monsanto to award $289 million to a groundskeeper with cancer and the Environmental Working Group’s glyphosate study of breakfast foods went public?
The amount of glyphosate that is used in Florida on orange groves, sugar cane fields, and on city streets is enormous. Over 3.5 million pounds per square mile of glyphosate was sprayed in Florida according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) between 2000-2012.
“This study provides more evidence suggesting pesticides in food may be harmful,” said EWG (Environmental Working Group) Toxicologist Alexis Temkin, Ph.D. “Low levels of synthetic pesticides, including those linked to cancer and other serious health problems, are found in some conventionally grown fruits and vegetables. Especially for those items, choosing organics is better for health as well as for the environment.”
Tariffs and Trade War
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced in July that it would spend up to $12 billion to alleviate the hit farmers are going to take on their crops this year—a move that Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group likened to a vote-buying scheme. Still, even that might not be enough to stave off a political backlash over the trade war.
According to the Environmental Working Group, an organization that rates the safety of household goods and food, many fabric softeners contain harmful chemicals that can negatively impact our bodies, from aggravating asthma to irritating skin. Some experts link the BPA in fabric softeners to a higher risk of cancer.
Cosmetics – Skin Deep
Avoiding personal care products that contain phthalates may also help. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database provides a resource that consumers can use to learn if a product contains phthalates.
Check your body products. Our skin is our largest organ, and each day we lather on hundreds of chemicals that enter our blood and circulate throughout the body. Check the Environmental Working Group's website for a useful database of body products.
Check all your products or those you want to purchase on the skin deep database www.ewg.org/skindeep. The Environmental Working group has been able to maintain a beauty product database that currently includes over seventy-two thousand products. These products are rated from zero to ten where 0 = very safe while 10 = very bad product that needs to be thrown away in the garbage.
This Shampoo and Conditioner provides a system to seal the cuticle for ultimate shine, reduce hair porosity and smooth frizz. In addition to being Certified Organic, all Avalon Organics® shampoo and conditioner formulas are now Environmental Working Group Verified, which means they meet EWG’s strict criteria and feature the EWG VERIFIED™ seal on the front label.
Babo Botanicals’ formulations, which incorporate botanical ingredients, are certified by the Environmental Working Group and are ideal for families looking to protect and safely nurture their babies’ skin with reliable and authentic products.
EVENT – Invisible Disabilities Association Annual Gala
The Healthy Living Award was presented to international eco-sensitive designer Jillian Pritchard Cooke, founder of Wellness Within Your Walls. President/co-founder of Environmental Working Group Ken Cook was presented the Impact Award. U.S. Army Special Forces (Ret.) Tom Spooner, co-founder of Warriors Heart Treatment Center received the Invisible Heroes Award.
Healthy Living App
EWG’s Healthy Living” is a free app for testing skin products and food scores. We learned that our Neutrogena T/Gel shampoo is a cancer risk, but the Neutrogena Triple Moisture Shampoo is only an allergy risk. EWG.org, the home of the Environmental Working Group, also has guides on its website.
Peterson says when choosing organic produce, she looks to what the Environmental Working Group calls the “Dirty Dozen.” That is produce found with the highest levels of pesticide residue, based on USDA testing. Generally, those are foods that have thinner skins or skins that humans consume.
Aim to buy organic for the “Dirty Dozen”—the most pesticide-ridden produce, according to the Environmental Working Group, which includes strawberries, potatoes, and tomatoes—and go generic for the rest. Discount grocery stores like Aldi, Trader Joe’s, and Sprouts can be great places to buy from the corresponding “Clean 15” list, which includes avocados, asparagus, and broccoli.
This year is no exception, and once again, the dirty dozen list released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) places strawberries in the number one position for produce most contaminated with pesticides.
If your budget is tight, stick with conventionally grown produce (a 4-digit PLU number indicates pesticides) that is on the list of the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen — these produce categories have been found to have the lowest pesticide residue. The list for 2018 includes: avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbages, onions, sweet peas frozen, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplants, honeydew melons, kiwis, cantaloupes, cauliflower, and broccoli.
She suggests checking the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen. Updated every year, the list includes those fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues.
There is some guidance on this that is released by the Environmental Working Group - an American non-profit, non-partisan organisation that is dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Every year they release a list of fruit and vegetables that have been found to have the highest and lowest levels of pesticide residues - these lists are known as the 'dirty dozen' and the ‘clean fifteen’.
Tap Water Database – Nitrates
For agricultural communities, safe drinking water is a particular worry. Agricultural runoff can seep through the ground and pollute aquifers. Ninety-nine percent of rural communities drink groundwater, and many households rely on private wells. A recent report by the Environmental Working Group found that small farming communities are more likely to have polluted drinking water and simultaneously less able to pay for water treatment programs.
Tap Water Database – PFAS
“Water tests show that 110 million Americans have levels of PFAS in their water that the most cautious scientists call unsafe, according to the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that advocates for public health issues. At the same time, new studies show how the chemicals can cause harm even at tiny doses. As awareness spreads, 3M has been named in dozens of lawsuits, several this year alone.” Read more here.
Rapid City Journal: Regulation of foam's toxic chemicals a moving target
Other scientists see more cause for alarm. “The significance of the conflict between the ATSDR’s minimal risk level and the EPA’s health advisory is that yet another group of scientists have looked at the evidence and decided that the EPA levels are too high to protect public health,” David Andrews, Ph.D., a senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group, said in a news release.
Tens of millions of people in the United States rely on tap water containing unsafe levels of the compounds, according to the Environmental Working Group. Manufacturers, including DuPont and 3M Co., have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits over the issue.