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EWG’s News Roundup (3/16): Scrutinizing Stain-Resistant Carpets, Mining the Grand Canyon and More

In the News
Friday, March 16, 2018

This week, EWG launched our brand new EWG VERIFIED™ website. Be sure to check it to see if any of the personal care products you use made the cut, and learn what it takes for cosmetics to earn our verification.

EWG applauded California for proposing that carpets and rugs containing stain-resistant fluorinated chemicals, known as PFASs, receive extra scrutiny under the state’s Safer Consumer Products program. This first-of-its-kind move will allow Californians to buy safer alternatives and move the market.

Turning our attention to the Trump administration, a couple of its actions this week earned well-deserved scrutiny. First, we provided facts to counter the administration’s spin on nuclear energy. Then we responded to the news that noted climate-change denier Mike Pompeo was tapped to be America’s new top diplomat.

We also sounded the alarm on a possible Supreme Court ruling that would lift the moratorium on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. If the court rules in favor of mining, it would not only affect one of America’s most beloved national landmarks, but it would also imperil the drinking water for nearly 40 million Americans.

“If the Supreme Court decides in favor of the uranium industry, it could permanently scar a sacred landscape that is the jewel in the crown of America’s natural heritage, and threaten the drinking water of 40 million Americans from Los Angeles to Las Vegas,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “President Trump has shown total disregard for preserving natural resources and protecting public health, and if the court overturns the ban, the Grand Canyon could soon fall victim to his radical agenda.”

EWG also took time this week to look at three landmark studies with major implications for human health – one on lead exposure’s major health toll for adults, another on cancer risk from highly processed foods and still another that found there was zero evidence fracking could ever be done without harming public health.

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

PFCs in Cosmetics

Yahoo! Lifestyle: Teflon — the stuff in your nonstick pan — was found in 66 of your favorite beauty products

You’ve probably heard of Teflon before — the chemical is used in non-stick pans, and is pretty popular. While you expect that it will surface in your cookware, you probably don’t anticipate that it’ll show up in your beauty products. Unfortunately, a new report from the Environmental Working Group found that’s the case, and it’s more widespread than you’d think. Reprinted by Yahoo! News and Daily Magazine.

Treehugger: Is there Teflon in your cosmetics?

But like so many of those lab-made “miracles” meant to make our lives easier, PTFE came with a rather unpleasant side. As David Andrews, Senior Scientist and Carla Burns, Research Analyst for Environmental Working Group (EWG) write DuPont manufactured PTFE, or Teflon, for decades. Its production relied on another PFC known as PFOA. PFOA and its close chemical cousin PFOS, formerly an ingredient in 3M’s Scotchgard, were phased out under pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency after revelations that secret internal company studies showed they caused cancer and birth defects in lab animals, built up in people’s bodies and did not break down in the environment.

California and PFCs in Food Packaging

Chemical Watch: NGOs seek 'comprehensive' approach to FCMs in California

In comments to the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s  (DTSC) consultation, five NGOs – including the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Clean Water Action (CWA) – applauded the addition of food contact materials to the SCP draft 2018-2020 priority product work plan. "Given the universality of packaged food in the American diet and the waste stream, chemicals leaching from wrappings and containers pose a widespread threat," the groups said.

Cancer Defense Diet

EcoWatch: Study: Eating Highly Processed Foods Linked to Increased Cancer Risk

Diets high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes are known to reduce the risk of cancer, while those high in processed meats increase cancer risk. Learn about EWG's Cancer Defense Diet here.

California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act

RealClearPolitics: Commentary -- One Product Label for the Entire U.S.

The law was backed by more than 100 environmental and public health groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Women’s Voices for the Earth and the Environmental Working Group, as well as cleaning product giants such as ECOLAB, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser and SC Johnson. Both sides compromised after numerous meetings -- a clear sign of a successful negotiation.

Cleaning Products

Dr. Axe: Home Cleaning Products Bombshell: Exposure Equivalent to Smoking 20 Cigarettes a Day, Study Says

Environmental Working Group’s science review of the study provides some recommendations. If you are going to purchase store-bought cleaners, check EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaners to check out safety scores and choose a better product.

WFPG (Northfield, NJ): Spring Cleaning? Could Be Like Smoking A Pack A Day

Find out what products could be hazardous to your health. Check out a list of more than 2,500 products evaluated by Environmental Working Group or EWG.


PopSugar: Refresh Your Entire Beauty Routine With This 30-Day Detox Challenge
"There is really a lot at stake, especially when you consider that women use 12 products a day on average," says Tina Sigurdson, who supports consumer education on safe cosmetics for the Environmental Working Group. She recommends women stop and think about what we put on our skin, eyes, and mouth in order to avoid harmful ingredients that can disrupt normal hormone or other bodily functions. Your appearance and overall health will be better for it. But it's hard to know where to start.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

PopSugar: These Are the Safest Cosmetic Products For Babies, According to the EWG

If, like us, you've had passing (or serious) worries about the truly not pronounceable ingredients on the labels of your children's shampoos, lotions, sunscreens, and other products, you're not alone. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) worries about these ingredients — such as parabens, phthalates, and triclosan — as well and is looking to help consumers make more informed shopping decisions with its "Skin Deep Cosmetics Database."

Reader’s Digest: 14 Beauty Trends That Are Downright Dangerous

"They both are powerful, skin-soothing antioxidants that even out skin tone and fade dark spots, and have the safest rating on the environmental working group's skin deep ingredient database." Here are 15 tricks for naturally glowing skin. Reprinted by Insider.

Women’s Health: What Is A Lactic Acid Peel—And Will It Help Your Skin Look Younger?

If you're a vegan, you might want to skip this ingredient. While most lactic acids found in skin-care products come from beets, the Environmental Working Group notes that there is still a risk that it could be from an animal source. Use other, plant-based alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic or citric acid instead.

Herald Mail: Fauna & Flora Beauty's target market is the health- and environment-minded 

Anyone who cares about their health and the environment. Excellent for pregnant or nursing mothers looking to maintain their hair color and nails with products that are ammonia-free and safe from other toxic chemicals used in most salons. (Visit www.ewg.org/skindeep or www.thinkdirtyapp.com.)

NewsDog: 20 Best Nail Polish Brands That Are Toxin-Free

This is another of our favorite brands. It is also water-based, free from the three toxic chemicals, and has a low rating of EWG database. The nail paint collection is also available in 25 colors. One good thing about Honeybee Gardens is that it can be removed using vodka or rubbing alcohol. If you prefer an odor-free, chemical-free product which is beneficial for environment and your health, then this is for you!

Endocrine Disruptors

MindBodyGreen: This Common Hormone Disorder In Women Has Everything To Do With Blood Sugar Balance

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has a list of the 12 worst endocrine disrupters and where they are typically hiding in plain sight. Detox your life by switching to all-natural products and organic foods in every case possible. Take a look at my list of practical ways to make your life a cleanse and support your body’s natural detoxification process.


Beauty Independent: PurPicks Is A Review Platform Clean Beauty Fans Can Call Their Own (No More Scouring Stars On Amazon)

To be featured and appraised on the site, products must be certified by CertClean, Environmental Working Group, EcoCert or the USDA as organic.

Feelgood Style: Get Healthier Cosmetics and Beauty Products with EWG Verified

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has long been a source of both information and inspiration when it comes to creating a safer, healthier home. Their extensive databases cover cosmetics and body care, home cleaners, tap water, sunscreens and even food. For anyone looking to eliminate exposure to chemicals and clean up their products, their resources are invaluable.

Crop Insurance

Washington Post: Why do taxpayers subsidize rich farmers?

On the right, groups like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute are finding common ground with left-leaning groups like the Environmental Working Group. Even the Congressional Budget Office, which generally avoids policy prescriptions, has issued a report on how to reduce the costs of crop insurance.

Farm Subsidies

Farms.com: Legislature Discusses Budget, Tax Cuts

Erdman collected $170,000 in farm payments between 1995 and 2011, according to the Environmental Working Group. He said he sold his farm in 2012, and the records show no payments after that.

Food Policy

Food Tank: “How can we make food policy more relevant to politicians?” Interview with Oregon’s Alexis Taylor

Alexis Taylor, Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), will be speaking at the Inaugural Seattle Food Tank Summit, titled “Growing Food Policy,” which will be held in partnership with the Environmental Working Group, Food Action, Garden-Raised Bounty, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Seattle University’s Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability on March 17, 2018.  Reprinted by The Daily Meal.

Food Scores

MSN: The ugly truth about ‘natural flavoring’

The Environmental Working Group even found that among 80,000 food products studied, only salt, water and sugar appear on nutrition labels more often than natural flavor. In meaning nearly anything, it effectively means nothing.

Food Waste

Circa: Why this subscription box service is sending people ugly fruit

According to UNESCO and the Environmental Working Group, 1 in 5 fruits and vegetables grown in the US go to waste because of purely cosmetic imperfections. Whether it be discoloration, odd shapes, being too big, or even too small, millions of pounds of food are deemed unsaleable at the farm level and tossed — but that’s where Imperfect Produce comes in.

Healthy Living: Home Guide

MindBodyGreen: Your Definitive Guide To Buying A Nontoxic Mattress

We spoke with Vallaeys and Tasha Stoiber, another industry expert over at the Environmental Working Group, to break down exactly what you need to know about mattresses if you care about sustainability and low toxicity. Stoiber, an EWG senior scientist and co-author of the group's Healthy Living Home Guide, recommends looking into mattress material first, cautioning against polyurethane foam for health and environmental reasons.

 PFCs in Food

Investigate West: Environmentalists struggled for success in Olympia in 2018

And there’s always Jiffy Pop stove-top popcorn. Concerned? Environmental Working Group advises what you already know about healthy eating — eat home cooking and cut back on greasy carry-out foods, as they often come in coated wrappers.

True Viral News: 9 Foods You Should Never Attempt to Eat

Several studies by scientists in Sweden indicate that PFCs have an adverse effect on your immune system. As described in a report on PFCs by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), PFOA was found to decrease all immune cell subpopulations studied, in the thymus and spleen, and caused immunosupression.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

ABC News (Australia): Are organic fruit and vegetables worth the extra cost? How to decide what to buy on a budget

If you're someone who's worried about chemical residue on food, you may have heard of the "dirty dozen", a list of fruit and vegetables which when farmed using conventional practices have the highest pesticide residues, put together each year by American non-profit organisation, the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Bel Marra Health: Why You Should Always Purchase These 12 Foods Organic

Much of the produce we eat has been treated with pesticides, which is why it’s encouraged to thoroughly wash your produce. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates consumer products each year to determine their level of chemicals and toxins and rates them based on safety for consumption.

The Colombian Post: 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Cucumbers

There are many ways you can enjoy cucumbers: raw in salads as a side with your meals, fermented as a pickle, or in vegetable juices. Choose organic over conventionally grown cucumbers, as cucumbers were ranked the 9th most contaminated food by the Environmental Working Group.


Metro Parent: Which Cereals Have the Most Sugar?

Pulling from that – as well as roundup of the 10 worst children’s cereals, by the Environmental Working Group from 2011 (in 2014 the group noted, “It found that not one on the 2011 ‘worst’ list had lowered its sugar content over the last three years)– we created our own top 10 list of offenders, based on sheer percentages of sugar. So hold onto your nutrition labels. Let’s find out where your kid’s favorite cereal ranks!

MSN: You’ll Be Shocked by How Much Sugar Is in These 25 'Healthy' Snacks

Cereals with marshmallows and chocolate puffs are obviously high in sugar, but just how much sugar may surprise you. The Environmental Working Group examined the sugar content of 84 cereals and found 54 of them contained more than 24 to 26 percent sugar by weight. Kellogg's Honey Smacks, at 55.6 percent sugar, was the worst. Cereal is also surprisingly high in salt.

EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens

Mom365: How to Protect Baby from the Sun

For your baby's ultra-sensitive skin, look for sunscreens that contain only inorganic filters such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and avoid those with chemical filters like oxybenzone. For help selecting the right sunscreen for your family, check out these recommendations from the Environmental Working Group's annual sunscreen guide.

Natural News: 4 personal care products you can pitch in the trash (and replace with something much better)

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) conducted research on nine FDA-approved sunscreen chemicals and found that several of them posed moderate to high toxicity concerns. Oxybenzone posed the biggest threat with one percent to nine percent skin penetration, and being detected in nearly every American and even found in mothers’ milk. It has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor and to cause relatively high rates of skin allergies. Octinoxate was also rated as a higher toxicity concern, also being found in mothers’ milk and affecting the reproductive system and the thyroid, along with a moderate skin allergy concern.  Both have widespread use in U.S. sunscreens.

Newsmax: How to Avoid Endocrine Disruptors

Eat organic produce when possible. If not available or if your budget won't allow it, choose from the Environmental Working Groups list to choose products with the least amount of chemical residue (https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/clean_fifteen_list.php)

Radiation in Tap Water

Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC): Groundwater monitoring around Duke Energy coal plants reveals widespread radioactivity

The Environmental Working Group recently released a study finding that the drinking water of more than 170 million Americans is radioactive enough to increase the risk of cancer.

Bottled Water

MSN: New Report Says Your Bottled Water Contains Unsafe Contaminants

Our data includes areas with “pollution potential,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the number of contaminants (such as chloroform, bromate, or trichloroacetic acid—all found to cause cancer) found in the local water, according to the Environmental Working Group. The “Dirty Water Score” was determined by calculating the number of contaminants found in the water of the city’s largest water utility, with greater weight given to those that exceeded the EWG’s health guidelines (established by a federal or state public health authority).

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