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EWG’s News Roundup (1/12): Radioactive Tap Water, Iowa’s Farm Runoff and 12 Months of Trump

In the News
Friday, January 12, 2018

This week, EWG released a groundbreaking investigation into radiation in drinking water nationwide. Radioactive elements were found in the water serving 170 million Americans. Using our national Tap Water Database, we pinpointed exactly where the cancer-causing contaminants were found across the country.

What’s worse is that while President Trump’s nominee for White House environment czar was head of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the commission was caught falsifying radiation data for Texas’ drinking water.  

“Putting someone in charge of [the White House Council on Environmental Quality] who deliberately falsified data to get around federal regulations is outrageous, and the fact that her deception left people at serious risk of cancer is even more alarming,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s vice president of government affairs. “The Senate should reject this radioactive nominee.”

EWG also released a case study diving into nitrate contamination in Iowa drinking water. Due to manure and fertilizer runoff from farms, which forms nitrate, many communities along the Raccoon River in Iowa find themselves with heavily contaminated drinking water. We laid out some simple conservation techniques that farmers could adopt to combat this runoff and protect vulnerable populations downstream.

On Monday, we kept a close eye on President Trump, who spoke at the annual American Farm Bureau Federation conference. We took a look at the Farm Bureau’s policy positions and found that it wades into a number of issues outside of agricultural policy – such as keeping confederate statues and opposing same-sex marriage.

With the one-year mark of the Trump presidency approaching, we took a look back at the many policies the administration enacted that wreaked devastating damage on public health.

We also reacted to the news that the Trump administration’s energy policies we’re being shaped by coal mining kingpin and major donor, Robert E. Murray. He sent his policy wish list to Vice President Mike Pence back in March.

Also on our radar this week were “natural” and “organic” claims on personal care products, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposed slashing of his agency’s workforce.

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

Radiation in Tap Water

CBS News: Radium water contamination most widespread in Texas, report shows

Watch the video here.

More than half of Americans could be drinking tap water tainted with a radioactive element. A new report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) finds more than 170 million people are exposed to radium in their drinking water. That could increase the risk of cancer. Reprinted by MSN and 87 affiliates.

Houston Chronicle: Texas has the most contaminated water in the country, according to new report

Texas has the most contaminated water in the country, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group. This finding was included in a report claiming more than 170 million Americans in all 50 states have been exposed to radioactive elements in their water.

Live Science: Is There Radium In Your Tap Water? New Map Can Show You

The map was made by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit advocacy organization in Washington D.C. that focuses on environmental issues and public health.

Newsweek: 170 Million Americans Have Cancer-Causing, Radioactive Elements in Their Drinking Water

The report, released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), gathered data from nearly 50,000 public water systems. The data revealed that between 2010 and 2015, more than 22,000 utilities in all 50 states had radium in their treated water, totaling 173 million people.

POLITICO – Morning Energy: Report – Toxic Drinking Water in All 50 States

The drinking water for more than 170 million Americans contains radioactive elements that may increase the risk of cancer, according to new analysis from the Environmental Working Group of public water test results from 2010-15. See this map that shows radium contamination nationwide and read the EWG report here.

MindBodyGreen: 8 Things You Need To Know Today (January 12, 2018)

Here's some news about your drinking water that you should know about. According to a new report by the Environmental Working Group, 170 million Americans are drinking tap water that contains "radioactive elements at levels that may increase the risk of cancer." The watchdog organization tested 50,000 utilities nationwide between 2010 and 2015. Yet another reason to make sure you're using a good filter.

Texas Observer: Report: Almost 25,000 Texans Are Drinking Tap Water With High Levels of Radium

Across the state, 38 utilities serving almost 25,000 Texans have radium levels above the EPA’s limit, according to a new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. Most of the water systems serve small towns and subdivisions that may not have the resources to install expensive equipment to treat the radium.

ThinkProgress: The radioactive history of Trump’s pick to advise him on environmental issues

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a research and advocacy organization, released a report on Thursday that concludes White should not be allowed to head the CEQ, based in large part on how she handled the regulation of radiation levels in water systems across Texas when she led the state’s environmental agency.

TruthOut: Embattled Trump Nominee Inadvertently Draws Attention to Radiation in Drinking Water 

Tap water used by 170 million Americans in all 50 states contains some level of radiation that may increase the risk of cancer at least marginally, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group analyzing state data from 2010 to 2015. Only a small percentage of water systems serving a total of 276,000 people in 27 states reported radiation levels exceeding federal limits, but environmentalists warn those limits are already too high and should be updated to improve water quality.

Wisconsin Gazette: Analysis: 170 million Americans drink radioactive tap water 

Drinking water for more than 170 million Americans in all 50 states contains radioactive elements that may increase the risk of cancer, according to an Environmental Working Group investigation released this week.

Business Standard: Water in Texas most contaminated across US: Report

Texas has the most contaminated water in the US, according to a report released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Common Dreams: 170 Million Americans Drink Radioactive Tap Water

Drinking water for more than 170 million Americans in all 50 states contains radioactive elements that may increase the risk of cancer, according to an EWG  investigation released today. Reprint of EWG news release.

EcoWatch: 170 Million Americans Drink Radioactive Tap Water

Drinking water for more than 170 million Americans in all 50 states contains radioactive elements that may increase the risk of cancer, according to an Environmental Working Group investigation released Thursday.

Inhabitat: Drinking water for 170 million Americans tainted by radiation

Up to 170 million Americans in all fifty states may be exposed to radiation-tainted drinking water. Using data from 50,000 public water systems, the Environmental Working Group found that more than 22,000 utilities reported the presence of radium in treated drinking water between 2010 and 2015.

The Kim Komando Show: How to tell if your water has cancer causing contamination

According to a report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG), over half of all Americans might be drinking tainted tap water. Over 170 million people have radium in their drinking water, which potentially increases the risk of cancer.

NPR: StateImpact Pennsylvania: Water study finds some Pa. radium levels exceed tough California limit

Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that advocates for clean water and other issues, said there were 466 Pennsylvania utilities where radium 228, a potential carcinogen, was above the California level when the water was tested in the first quarter of 2017.

CBS Austin: Residents of small Texas town avoiding tap water due to radioactive substance

“It has been associated with increases in bone cancer. So exposure to radium … even low levels, may increase the risk of cancer development,” said Alexis Temkin, with the Environmental Working Group.

CBS 2: KDKA (Pittsburgh, PA): Research Shows More Than 170 Million Exposed To Radium In Drinking Water

You can search for your zip code or zoom in on the Pittsburgh area. The site will then tell you all of the Environmental Working Group findings and whether the drinking water meets federal standards.

CBS 2: WFMY (Greensboro, NC): WFMY: What's Really In Our Tap Water?

A new report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) finds more than 170 million people are exposed to radium in their drinking water. That could increase the risk of cancer.

CBS 6: KAUZ  (Wichita Falls, TX): Study concludes Texas water has high levels of Radium contamination

Data from the non-profit environmental group EWG showed more than 3500 utilities serving more than 22 million people reported finding Radium in tap water across the Lone Star State. That's around 80% of the state's population.

CBS 12: WPEC (West Palm Beach, FL): Local radium levels in water examined, after national report

The report used data gathered by the not-for-profit Environmental Working Group, or EWG. The organization found 170 million people in our country are drinking water with high levels of the radioactive substance radium. Reprinted by 76 outlets.

CBS 47: WJAX (Jacksonville, FL): Action News Jax Investigates: Radium in local tap water

A new report from the Environmental Working Group found more than 170 million people in the United States are exposed to radium in their drinking water. Reprinted by FOX30.

Nitrates in Iowa Tap Water

AgriMarketing: Environmental Working Study Shows Iowa Continues to Struggle With Nitrates in its Drinking Water

Nitrate became more prevalent in Iowa drinking water between 2009 and 2016 because approaches that would have helped limit the flow were not applied consistently and only were done in limited areas. 

EPA and Scott Pruitt

Common Dreams: Pruitt Set to Slash EPA Scientists, Public Health Experts by Half

“There are certain people who should never hold any position where public health protection is a priority, and Scott Pruitt is one of them,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “After Pruitt saps EPA of its talented workforce, rebuilding the required expertise to protect air, water and human health from pollution could take decades.”

The Sunbury News: Toyota Urged to Reject Tainted ‘Partnership’ Claimed by Destructive EPA Chief

The Environmental Working Group is urging Toyota to reject a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), because EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s plan to “evaluate management practices” is cover for his real agenda of destroying the agency’s ability to do its job.

FERC Rejects Coal and Nuclear Bailout

EcoWatch: FERC Rejection of Coal and Nuclear Bailout Is Big Win for Renewable Energy

Federal regulators' rejection Monday of the White House's scheme to prop up the coal and nuclear power industries is a big win for electricity customers and renewable energy, said Environmental Working Group (EWG) President Ken Cook. Reprinted by EnvironmentGuru.

BPA in Food

Women’s Health: How Much Canned Food Is It Really Safe For You To Eat?

The Environmental Working Group, among others, is calling on the FDA to set a safe limit of exposure of no more than 1 part per billion (ppb). “Why do we continue to use a lining that poses potential concerns to human health? Pre-market safety testing, transparency in food labeling, and assurance that alternatives are in fact safer are critically needed,” says Galvez.

California Court Halts Pesticide Spraying

East County Magazine: Court Rejects California’s Blanket Approval for Pesticide Spraying

“This ruling acknowledges that widespread spraying of neurotoxic chemicals across diverse areas of our state without adequately looking at immediate exposure problems for humans is bad enough, but also accounts for the impacts on our streams and lakes and the organisms that live there and that these waters often end up in our taps,” said Bill Allayaud, California director of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group.

EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning

VICE – Tonic: Will an Air Purifier Actually Help With Allergies?

What are the major sources of indoor air pollution? Even pollutants from air fresheners can react with ozone and form compounds like formaldehyde. (In one test commissioned by the Environmental Working Group, Febreze air fresheners released 89 air contaminants.)

Skin Deep®

Well+Good: The beginner’s guide to reading a beauty product label

“The label lists ingredients based on concentration,” says Paul Pestano, senior database analyst at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit organization that provides information and research on every ingredient you could think of in its Skin Deep database. “The first ingredient is the one that has the most amount in the product, whereas the last one listed has the least.”

Mogul: Top 5 Wellness Trends in 2018

Thanks to the Environmental Working Group and their Skin Deep Database, we not only know more about the ingredients in our products, but we are voting with our dollars and demanding more all-natural products in our beauty products.

Crop Insurance Subsidies

Star Tribune: Minnesota farmers, food stamp users have much on line in next farm bill

Critics see crop insurance as a massive giveaway to corporate farming interests, and a coalition of interest groups from the left-leaning Environmental Working Group to the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute has raised familiar calls to scale back spending on the program. Last month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report offering recommendations on saving money in the $9 billion-a-year crop insurance program. Reprinted by GOPUSA.

Farm Subsidies

Reason: Deregulatory Successes Point to Direction for Trump Administration

That dissenting Iowa farmer correctly noted that many of his regulation-hating neighbors happily benefit from farm subsidies and bio-fuel mandates--billions upon billions of dollars transferred from other Americans over the years, as tracked by the Environmental Working Group. The Farm Bureau may dislike rules mandated on its members by D.C., but it's a firm advocate of the idea that "we need more ethanol, not less, and living up to Congressional mandates is the place to begin." Reprinted by Before It’s News.

EWG’s Consumer Guide to Seafood

Reader’s Digest: 8 Foods Cancer Docs Try to Never Eat

On average, farmed salmon has 16 times the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in wild salmon, four times the levels in beef, and 3.4 times the PCBs found in other seafood, the Environmental Working Group reports.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

PopSugar: 15 Foods Experts Say You Don't Have to Buy Organic If You're on a Tight Budget

With widespread knowledge about the benefits of shopping organic as well as the dangers of pesticides, it's hard not to feel guilty when reaching for nonorganic groceries to save money. Luckily, the following produce items — deemed the Clean 15 by the Environmental Working Group — are perfectly safe and healthy to eat when grown nonorganically.

Eating Well: Organic—or Not? Is Organic Produce Healthier Than Conventional?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, pored over the results of nearly 51,000 USDA and FDA tests for pesticides on 44 popular produce items and identified the types of fruits and vegetables that were most likely to have higher trace amounts. Most people have no problems eating conventionally grown produce but if you feel strongly about pesticide residues, the EWG’s list below should help you shop.

Mercola: Go Organic

If you must choose between which products to purchase organic, I recommend prioritizing organic animal foods and then using the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) “Dirty Dozen” list for produce, which are among the most heavily contaminated with pesticides and therefore the most important plant foods to buy organic.

National Tap Water Database

Arkansas Online: Tyson investors to review water plan

Two years earlier, meat production was blamed for rising nitrate levels, a known carcinogen, in more than 1,800 water systems serving 7 million Americans, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Care2: Why You Should Pass on the ‘Raw Water’ Trend

Even though most Americans enjoy high quality tap water, an Environmental Working Group study in March of 2017 found exposed some unsettling realities about our drinking water: Water supplies in 42 states contained traces of chemicals that the EPA has not established safety standards for, as well as a further 119 contaminants that the EPA does control for.

Nonstick Chemicals in Tap Water

Michigan Live: Michigan abruptly sets PFAS cleanup rules

"While we commend Michigan's efforts to act, the state could have gone further to protect health," said David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. Andrews said New Jersey is moving ahead with drinking water standards of 14- and 13- ppt for PFOA and PFOS respectively, and a safe level of exposure may be less than 1-ppt. A bill in the Michigan house has proposed a 5-ppt standard.  

Water Online: NH Lawmakers To Consider 12 Water-Related Bills This Month

New Hampshire has at least five PFC contamination sites, according to a research project by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Northeastern University in Boston. The project includes an interactive map highlighting where PFCs have been detected. 


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