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EWG News Roundup (11/15): Deadly Cleaning Products, Trump EPA’s ‘Unlawful’ Action on Chemical Safety

In the News
Friday, November 15, 2019

Last week, a restaurant worker in Massachusetts died after being overcome from fumes after two cleaning agents were accidentally mixed together – a reminder of the serious risk to people when certain chemical-containing cleaning products are mixed. EWG provided helpful household tips for handling cleaning products.

“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and co-workers of this gentleman,” said Samara Geller with EWG. “No one should be put in a situation where simply coming to work and doing their job could result in serious injury or even death from toxic cleaning products. But this is a persistent issue that triggers tens of thousands of illnesses and poisonings each year in the U.S.”

A federal court ruled this week that the Trump Environmental Protection Agency acted “unlawfully” when it refused to consider the “legacy” uses of toxic substances like asbestos and lead when reviewing health risks under a revamped Obama-era chemicals safety law.

“This court decision underscores how, almost from day one, the Trump administration has not only bent but also broken federal chemicals law to benefit industry,” said EWG Legislative Attorney Melanie Benesh.

And finally, a report by The New York Times this week shows that the Trump EPA has sought to dramatically limit the scientific and medical research considered when the agency crafts new chemical, air and drinking water standards.

Here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.

Trump's Farmer Bailout

Bloomberg: Democrats Blast Trump Trade Aid as Favoring Southern Farmers

More than half of the Trump administration’s first-year market facilitation payments went to just 10% of the recipients in the program, according to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group of records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Reprinted by Yahoo!Farm Progress

The Washington Post: Americans are losing their taste for dairy milk. There’s a lesson in that.

At the same time, subsidies and price supports have attempted to protect producers from volatile prices (both for their product and for inputs such as feed), to the tune of $6 billion between 1995 and 2019, according to the Environmental Working Group, which tracks farm programs. The 2018 cost of the main dairy safety-net program was almost $254 million; Congress sweetened it somewhat in the farm bill adopted last year. Reprinted by New Canaan Advertiser (Conn.)

Civil Eats: Government Bailouts Are the Only Thing Bringing Farm Incomes Up

Based on the Environmental Working Group’s Farm Subsidy Database, in 2018, all farm subsidies, including subsidized crop insurance, went to just 31 percent of U.S. growers.

Progressive Farmer: Washington Insider – Wednesday

More than half of the administration’s first-year market facilitation payments went to just 10% of the recipients in the program, according to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group of records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Arkansas Democrat Gazette (Little Rock): Democrats criticize farm program

More than half of the Trump administration's first-year payments went to just 10% of the recipients in the program, according to an analysis by the Environmental Working Group of records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Reprinted by Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette (Fayetteville)

BPA in Consumer Products

Natural News: Chemicals used in common consumer items linked to higher obesity and Type 2 diabetes risk: Study

Although lots of products these days bear labels flaunting their BPA-free status, the Environmental Working Group reports that more than 16,000 products are currently on the market containing BPA. Reprinted by Chemicals.News

EWG VERIFIED™

Amber Romaniuk (Podcast): Episode #209 How Emotional Eating Impacts Liver Health, Signs Your Liver May Be Stressed and Ways to Create a Healthier Liver

Lowen’s is PETA certified cruelty free and all products have been thoroughly evaluated by the Environmental Working Group, most of which carry the EWG Verified logo, establishing Lowen’s as an industry leader in transparency, environmental impact and safety.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Beauty Matter: Landmark Cosmetics Reform Bill Introduced In Congress

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimates that the average adult uses 12 personal care products each day, exposing themselves to 168 unique chemical ingredients.

Before It’s News: Tylenol in Pregnancy Doubles Risk of Autism

The Environmental Working Group has a great database to help you find safer personal care products. I also offer one of the highest quality organic skin care lines, shampoo and conditioner, and body butter that are completely natural and safe.

Byrdie: From Reversing Aging to Shrinking Pores, 6 Things Your Skincare Ingredients Aren’t Actually Doing

Another option she suggests is to check out the Environmental Working Group. "They have logged thousands of products, checked their ingredients, and can offer you insight about what’s safest to use on your skin," she says.

Delaware Today: Why Green Beauty is Essential for Health

The Environmental Working Group, a U.S. nonprofit specializing in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants and corporate accountability, hypothesizes that parabens—chemical preservatives in everything from shampoo to shaving cream—mimic estrogen and can lead to diseases like cancer.

Mercola: Tylenol in Pregnancy Doubles Risk of Autism

Switch over to natural brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants and cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group has a great database32 to help you find safer personal care products.

Natural Products Insider: Marketing personal care products

Research from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that the average woman uses 12 products with 168 chemical ingredients daily, while men use six products that contain about 85 ingredients.

Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors

Dr. Axe: How Endocrine Disruptors Destroy Your Body + The Dirty Dozen to Avoid

With more than a thousand potential hormone disruptors out there, Environmental Working Group scientists created a list of the 12 most damaging and prominent endocrine disruptors to avoid…

Duke Energy

Casper Courier: Duke Energy: ‘Net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050

The Environmental Working Group said it was, “far from a serious commitment to embracing renewable sources of electricity and combating the climate crisis.”

EPA's Chemical Risk Reviews

Courthouse News Service: EPA Can’t Ignore Past Uses of Chemicals in Risk Reviews

The petitioners who challenged the EPA’s rules include Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Environmental Health Strategy Center, Environmental Working Group, Learning Disabilities Association of America, Sierra Club and Union of Concerned Scientists, among others.

Farm Subsidies

Fox 9 KMSP (Eden Prairie, Minn.): Green Acres: Minnesota farmers get $1 billion in subsidies, but checks also go to ‘city slickers’

Ann Weir-Schechinger is a senior economic analyst for the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a public policy nonprofit that’s been analyzing farm subsidies for 20 years.

Kourtney Kardashian

Your Tango: 21 Sarcastic Quotes From Kourtney Kardashian That Prove She’s Got It Together, With Or Without Her Sisters

Kourtney went with Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), to discuss the Personal Care Products Safety Act and fought for stricter makeup laws.

New Jersey PFAS Report

Labor and Employment Blog: PFAS – It’s Everywhere in New Jersey

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), which have been identified as carcinogens, have been reported in 570 water systems, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analysis of water utility data from NJDEP. Reprinted byJD Supra

NJ Spotlight: What Happened to New Jersey’s Drinking-Water Watchdog?

In early November, the Environmental Working Group, a national clean-water advocate, said PFAS chemicals were found in more than 500 New Jersey water systems, according to data gathered from the DEP. 

Perchlorate Lawsuit

Food Quality & Safety: Chemical in Food Packaging is Dangerous, Environmental Groups State in FDA Lawsuit

Other plaintiffs in the case include the Center for Food Safety, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Environmental Defense Fund and Environmental Working Group.

PFAS in Consumer Products

Press Herald (South Portland, Maine): Households are awash in ‘forever chemicals’

Organizations such the Environmental Working Group, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and Toxic-Free Future recommend avoiding nonstick cookware altogether. That’s because even newer versions marketed as PFOA-free could contain the shorter-chain chemical cousins that they maintain have not been proved safe. Reprinted by Lewiston Sun Journal (Maine)Central Maine TodayPortland Press Herald (Maine)

PFAS Regulation

The Highlander (University of California, Riverside): Weak regulation means that the chemical contamination in California’s water supply will not be resolved anytime soon

This is clearly not an “emerging” contaminant because, since 2013, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has tested for contaminants in drinking water sources. Instead of enforcing policy, they would rather recommend water utilities to notify the public if the levels of the chemicals reached a combined 70 parts per trillion. 

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Mercola: Pesticides Found in 84% of Fruit

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) also releases their "Dirty Dozen" list for produce, which are among the most heavily contaminated with pesticides.

World Health: The Ongoing Debate For Going Organic

The Environmental Working Group also releases their report on the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen every year of produce that has the most heavily and least contaminated pesticides content, which is based on annual reports from the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program and has revealed that 99% of sample produce contained pesticide residues that the EPA controversially labels as being compliant, but the “EWG believes that these federal standards are insufficient.” 

Fox 21 (Colorado Springs, Colo.): Healthy Grocery Shopping 101 with nutritionist Carmen Ohling

Grab the Environmental Working Groups Guide to Buying Organic Produce Here: https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Women’s Health: Here’s What You Need To Know About Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide Sunscreens

If you’re using one of those convenient spray sunscreens, try holding your breath or breathe out when applying. Inhaling the nanoparticles of zinc or titanium in the spray can be harmful to lungs, says the Environmental Working Group.

Tap Water Database Update

St. Joseph News-Press (Mo.): Report finds low-level contaminants in water supplies

The Washington D.C.-based Environmental Working Group recently released its research on tap water quality for systems across the nation, including Missouri.

The California Aggie (UC Davis): Davis continues to struggle with water contamination problems

But the Environmental Working Group (EWG) contests that the legal limits are too lenient. 

The Community Voice KS (Kan.): Almost All KS Tap Water Is Too Contaminated to Drink, Group Says

The water coming out of your tap might meet legal standards, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to drink — at least according to the Environmental Working Group, an environmental advocacy nonprofit.

SC Times (San Clemente, Calif.): City, Local Agencies Dispute Claims of Cancer-Causing Contaminants Found in Tap Water

In its most recent update to the Tap Water Database, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that primarily between 2015 and 2017 San Clemente’s drinking water contained nine contaminants with the potential to cause cancer. 

PFAS in Tap Water

Great Lakes Now: PFAS at Niagara Falls airbase

That’s according to a report issued in early October by the Environmental Working Group, based on data procured from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense.

Providence Journal (R.I.): R.I. may enact more stringent drinking water standards

And another advocacy organization, the Environmental Working Group, says the threshold should be 1 ppt in total for all PFAS chemicals.

NBC 2 (Fort Myers, Fla.): Best PFAS Water Filters

Several studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group have found that PFAS chemicals are found in public water systems across the US.

Toxic Algae Blooms 

Chicago Tribune: The shallowest Great Lake provides drinking water for more people than any other. Algae blooms are making it toxic – and it’s getting worse

An analysis of aerial photographs and state permit data identified 775 hog, cattle, dairy and poultry operations in the Maumee River watershed in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan in 2018 — a 42% increase since 2005, according to a report by the Environmental Law and Policy Center and the Environmental Working Group, nonprofit advocacy groups.

Cleveland Plain Dealer (Ohio): Ohio not alone among Great Lakes states struggling to solve algal bloom threat

Ohio stands out among efforts in Great Lakes states to control HABs, according to Anne Weir Schechinger, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group.

Umbilical Cord Blood Study

Mercola: Chemicals Largely to Blame for Skyrocketing Male Infertility

In a 2005 study, the Environmental Working Group found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants in the umbilical cord blood of infants born in the U.S. Tests detected a total of 287 chemicals from pesticides, consumer products, food packaging and environmental waste, including BPA, flame retardants, PCBs and even DDT.

 

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