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EWG News Roundup (11/30): EWG Talks Cosmetics Reform on Kardashian Show, Mapping Impacts of Hurricane Florence and More

In the News
Friday, November 30, 2018

On Sunday evening, EWG was featured on the latest episode of the E! show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” – where Kourtney Kardashian joined the team in DC to lobby Congress for common sense cosmetics regulatory reform. One of the major reasons Kourtney came to the nation’s capital was that she feels parents shouldn’t have to worry about the products they use on their children every day.

Later in the week, EWG published a joint analysis and map with our colleagues at Waterkeeper Alliance that detail the breadth of damage to industrial farming operations in North Carolina following September’s Hurricane Florence. We estimate that the storm flooded poultry operations housing 1.8 million birds, which became a public health risk to those living downstream.

 

In the aftermath of last week’s bombshell National Climate Assessment, a report produced by 300 federal scientists across 13 agencies detailing the economic and environmental devastation expected in coming decades due to climate change, both Trump and his team worked overtime to cast doubt on these deeply troubling findings.

“By now it’s the safest bet in town that when President Trump doesn’t believe something is true, it is,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “None of the president’s policy positions are grounded in facts, and his unfortunate decision to dismiss his own government’s alarming study further demonstrates his utter ignorance when it comes to the threats climate change presents to every American.”

Elsewhere in the Trump world, coal executive and cheerleader Robert Murray told Axios that the coal bailout he has championed since Trump entered office was not likely to happen. Saving the dying coal industry was one of President Trump’s key campaign promises during the 2016 election – but is now looking more and more like a massive deception.

And finally, the holiday season is in full swing – so whether you’re staying home or traveling, EWG has got you covered. Over on our Children’s Health site, EWG pulled together some helpful tips for parents on road-tripping safely with mobile devices and improving air quality in one’s home when winter is in full swing.

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

$12 Billion Bailout of Farmers

Associated Press: State farmers averaging $2,145 from farm bailout program

U.S. Department of Agriculture data obtained by the Washington non-profit Environmental Working Group shows the average payment for Wisconsin farmers from the Market Facilitation program is $2,145. The Journal Sentinel reports 11 farms received more than $50,000 each, while 237 farms got less than $100 and a few thousand more received an amount somewhere in between.

 

Reuters: Penny for your corn? Stingy trade-war aid irks US farmers

USDA officials did not answer Reuters' questions about how many farmers have applied so far for the corn trade aid. But government data gathered by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based lobby group, from public records requests shows the United States had paid farmers $1.9 million for 12,807 corn claims as of Oct. 31.

 

Los Angeles Times: California dairies and farms collect $10 million in trade-war aid

The beleaguered sector was by far the biggest recipient of U.S. Department of Agriculture “market facilitation” payments to California, according to the data, released in response to a public records request from the Environmental Working Group, a longtime critic of farm subsidies.

 

The New York Times: A $12 Billion Program to Help Farmers Stung by Trump’s Trade War Has Aided Few

Like any program offering free money, there are also opportunities to game the system. On Monday, the watchdog organization Environmental Working Group released a report that shows city residents who own shares in farms and relatives of farmers have been capitalizing on the bailout and that some farmers appear to have been paid large sums of money.

 

Washington Post: He’s an architect in Manhattan. He got $3,300 from Trump’s farm bailout.

The Environmental Working Group, a critic of the bailout, released information on Monday about 87,704 bailout payments worth a total of $356 million. The transfers were made between September and the end of October.

 

NPR – 1A: Farmers’ Growing Problem

And while farmers are feeling the pain, President Trump is feeling the love. Support for the president has risen or remained steady in major farming states. Will farmers stick with the president after the harvest, if the breadbasket only gets crumbs? GUESTS: Scott Faber, Senior vice president for government affairs, Environmental Working Group; former vice president, the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

 

The Hill: OPED – Trump’s farmer bailout flows to city slickers

We’re learning the first details of the Department of Agriculture’s bailout for farmers whose exports were hit by President Trump’s trade war. Department records show that more than 1,000 payments were made to “city slickers” who live in the nation’s largest cities, according to information the Environmental Working Group has obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

 

The Hill: Manhattan architect said he received $3,300 from Trump farm bailout: report

The Environmental Working Group, a critic of the bailout, released information on Monday showing that residents of cities have collected more than $1 million in payments from the government.

 

POLITICO – Morning Agriculture: On Tap Today

The Environmental Working Group plans to release data on early recipients of USDA’s tariff-relief program, including names and dollar figures.

 

POLITICO – Playbook PM: Trade Wars
“A $12 Billion Program to Help Farmers Stung by Trump’s Trade War Has Aided Few,” by NYT’s Alan Rappeport: “Like any program offering free money, there are also opportunities to game the system. On Monday, the watchdog organization Environmental Working Group is expected to release a report that shows city residents who own shares in farms and relatives of farmers have been capitalizing on the bailout.

 

POLITICO – Morning Agriculture: Trade aid and city life
USDA records show that trade aid payments have been made to hundreds of people who live in urban areas. The Environmental Working Group said it’s evidence that the next farm bill should tighten payment limits for farm subsidies.

 

POLITICO – Morning Agriculture: Trade aid worth less than a cup of coffee

Data from the Environmental Working Group showed about 100 of the nearly 4,300 trade relief payments from USDA to Iowa farmers through October were less than $25; some farmers hauled in $5 or less. The Des Moines Register has the story.

 

Roll Call: Farm Aid Payments to City Dwellers Prompt Call for Limits on Program

The Environmental Working Group argued Monday that the data should prompt lawmakers working on a pending reauthorization of federal farm and nutrition programs to impose tougher standards to reduce the number of “city slickers” eligible for farm subsidies.

 

Associated Press: Recent editorials published in Iowa newspapers

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, reported that more than 1,000 people who live in the 50 largest cities in the United States got some of the nearly 88,000 payments the USDA had shipped out through the end of last month.

 

Des Moines Register: Dozens of Iowa farmers get less than $25 from Trump tariff assistance, data show

The Environmental Working Group said the rescue program fails to help “the farmers most threatened by his escalating trade war.” The group said the top 10 percent of bailout recipients have received 68 percent of all the money. And 1,000 big city residents have gotten checks.

 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Trump farm bailout checks coming to Wisconsin farmers vary from thousands to a few dollars

U.S. Department of Agriculture data, obtained by the Environmental Working Group, in Washington, D.C., shows the average payment for Wisconsin farmers in the federal Market Facilitation program was $2,145.

 

NC Policy Watch – The Progressive Pulse: Trump administration’s bailout for farmers slower than watching corn grow

Only $838 million of the $12 billion has been paid out, reported The New York Times, with just $1 million going divided among a few hundred North Carolina farmers as of Oct. 31, according to the Environmental Working Group.

 

Newsweek: Trump’s Farmers Bailout Money Went to More Than 1,000 Residents of Major Cities Following China Trade War

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a watchdog organization, found that 1,142 people in the country’s 50 largest cities received bailout payments from the Department of Agriculture. Nine residents of San Francisco, four residents of Los Angeles, five residents of New York City and four residents of Washington, D.C. received the funds, the report found.

 

Farm Bill

CNN: Congress weighs 'nieces, nephews' and 'first cousins' farm subsidies

The USDA states that management must be "critical to the profitability of the farming operation," but according to the Environmental Working Group, a simple conference call can prove "active engagement" and almost a quarter of farm subsidy recipients do not physically work on the farm they receive subsidies for.

 

Keeping Up With the Kardashians

Washington Post: ‘I have to look like a boss’: Kourtney Kardashian shows nerves before lobbying on Capitol Hill

The oldest sibling of the mega-famous clan admitted to viewers at the beginning of the episode that she wasn’t “the most political person” but said that having three kids made her more conscious of ingredients in products her family uses. To help her determine the safety of the contents, she said she uses an app from theEnvironmental Working Group, the nonprofit that invited her to Washington and is pushing for a revision of updated cosmetics testing laws.

  

The Daily Mail: Kim Kardashian tries to break the ice with Tristan Thompson during new episode of KUWTK

Fighting for change: Meanwhile, Kourtney Kardashian was off in Washington D.C. lobbying for cosmetic reform with the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The mom of three urged Congress to pass stricter legislation in regards to harmful chemicals in beauty products

 

New York Magazine – The Cut: Kim Kardashian West Knows How to Party, Okay?!

Just kidding, she's trying to make us all interesting to look at by joining forces with the Environmental Working Group to reform cosmetics laws in America. Reprinted by Yahoo! Lifestyle.

 

LiveKindly: Kourtney Kardashian Lobbies to Get Toxic Ingredients Out of the Beauty Industry

Taking to social media to promote a recent episode of her family’s reality TV series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” the eldest Kardashian sister wrote: “On tonight’s episode of #kuwtk, I was in Washington DC advocating for better cosmetics laws with @EnvironmentalWorkingGroup. Right now, we can’t even buy the personal care products our families need without worrying about them containing harmful chemicals.”

 

New York Style Guide: Kourtney Kardashian Covers GQ Mexico’s December / January Issue

On Beauty: “I have been working alongside the Environmental Working Group to change beauty and personal care product laws and keep us safe.”

 

Thanksgiving

Minnesota Public Radio: Humankind documentary: Diet and Health

A Thanksgiving Eve documentary about food, nutrition and health. Physicians and nutritionists discuss what we know about the ways a healthful diet can increase your long-term well-being. Some physicians are taking a more proactive approach guiding patients to make better food choices. As we begin to prepare a celebratory meal for tomorrow, a Humankind documentary explores the connection between diet and health. We hear from Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group.

 

Trump Administration’s Climate Assessment

Common Dreams: 'Crime Against Humanity' and 'International Embarrassment': Trump Refuses to 'Believe' Climate Report

“Given what we know about the president's reading habits, I wonder if the report has any pictures,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, in response to Trump claiming he “read some of” the government's assessment. 

 

TruthDig: Trump Widely Denounced After Rejecting Latest Climate Report

“Given what we know about the president’s reading habits, I wonder if the report has any pictures,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, in response to Trump claiming he “read some of” the government’s assessment.

 

Trump Nominates Andrew Wheeler to Head EPA

Associated Press: Activists assail Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s nominee to lead EPA

“In normal times, a zealous fossil fuel apologist and the top official in charge of protecting children’s health from pollution would be two separate people with conflicting agendas,” said Ken Cook, president of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. “But this is the Trump administration, where a former top coal lobbyist could become administrator of the EPA.” Reprinted by the San Francisco Chronicle and 115 more times.

 

Associated Press: Trump: EPA’s acting chief will be named to post permanently

“In normal times, a zealous fossil fuel apologist and the top official in charge of protecting children’s health from pollution would be two separate people with conflicting agendas,” Ken Cook, president of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. “But this is the Trump administration, where a former top coal lobbyist could become administrator of the EPA.” Reprinted by 336 media outlets.

 

Washington Post: Trump plans to nominate Andrew Wheeler, former coal lobbyist, as EPA chief

“In normal times, a zealous fossil fuel apologist and the top official in charge of protecting children’s health from pollution would be two separate people with conflicting agendas,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. “But this is the Trump administration, where a former top coal lobbyist could become administrator of the EPA.”

 

EPA and Alexandra Dapolito Dunn

Chemical Watch: Senate schedules Dunn hearing amid potential EPA shifts

“Whether or not he’s confirmed by the Senate to be the next administrator, when [Mr] Wheeler’s time at EPA ends, more children will have been exposed to dangerous pollutants,” the Environmental Working Group (EWG) said.

 

POLITICO – Morning Energy: Trump Chemicals Policy Gets the Spotlight

But environmental groups say that's not reason enough to give Dunn's nomination a rubber stamp. “She is clearly a better candidate for the job than Michael Dourson, but until she demonstrates a commitment to clean up the toxic mess left by her predecessors, I think the jury's out,” Scott Faber, vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, told ME.

 

CAFOs and Hurricane Florence

EcoWatch: Hurricane Florence Flooded Poultry Operations Housing 1.8 Million Birds, Investigation Finds 

The heavy rains and high waters after Hurricane Florence flooded 35 industrial poultry operations in North Carolina housing an estimated 1.8 million birds, according to a new investigation by Waterkeeper Alliance and the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Reprint of EWG news release

 

Air Quality and Fires

MindBodyGreen: On Top Of The Wildfires, New Air Quality Concerns Arise In California

"The best way for those in the affected areas in California to minimize health effects is to limit exposure to the contaminated air—a feat that is much easier said than done," says Nneka Leiba, director of the Environmental Working Group's healthy living science program.

 

Algal Blooms

Carbon Brief: Rising CO2 Levels in the Ocean Could Benefit Toxic Algae, Study Says

The U.S., meanwhile, has faced at least 510 reported cases of toxic blue-green algae since 2010, with 239 of these events occuring in the last year alone, according to the non-governmental organisation Environmental Working Group. Florida’s coastline is facing an additional threat from “red tide” algae, which has proven fatal to whale sharks, manatees and sea turtles.

 

Atrazine Contamination Report

Tennessean: Toxic herbicide detected in some Robertson County drinking water

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C., based organization,highlighted 10 water utilities that encountered spikes in 2017. The others are in Illinois, Kansas and Ohio — all states with sizable agricultural operations.

 

Water Online: Hormone-Disrupting Herbicide Widely Detected In Tap Water

“Atrazine is a herbicide commonly detected in drinking water that comes from cornfield and other agricultural runoff. It is a hormone disrupter that harms the male and female reproductive systems of people and wildlife,” Environmental Working Group writes on its website.

 

California’s Prop 65

Yahoo! Lifestyle: 'This product contains chemicals known ... to cause cancer': How to navigate Prop 65's scary warnings while toy shopping

Some of those potential harms, says Samara Geller, senior research and database analyst at the Environmental Working Group, “may be associated with cumulative exposure to small doses over time,” while “in other cases, including with certain endocrine disruptors such as BPA, exposure during critical windows of development may impact the growing brain or reproductive system in detrimental ways.”

 

Cleaning Products

Toronto Sun: Laundry: The universal chore

According to the Environmental Working Group, many dryer sheets are coated with chemicals, including quaternary ammonium compounds, which the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics calls asthmagens — substances that can cause asthma to develop in otherwise healthy people. Reprinted by The Cochrane Times-Post.

 

The Kitchn: What Is Rinse Aid and Should You Be Using It?

We also like Ecover Rinse Aid, which gets an A from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

 

Cosmetics

USA Today: Goop and others profit by shunning makeup chemicals. What do scientists say?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy organization that’s a leader of the clean cosmetics crusade, says that even if it’s impossible to directly prove these ingredients cause cancer, people should believe the most pilloried chemicals are bad for you based on reviews of research.

 

USA Today: The truth about talc, parabens and 8 other controversial makeup ingredients

CSC and EWG point to formaldehyde’s designation as a known human carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program and say health concerns include cancer.

 

Fashionista: 11 Beauty Products to Gift to the Natural Beauty Obsessive In Your Life

For folks who want to get more involved in Beautycounter's advocacy efforts, their website offers a list of non-profit partners like Healthy Child Healthy World and the Environmental Working Group. The list complements a newsletter from the brand that highlights the behind-the-scenes work it is doing to reform the cosmetics industry in U.S., which has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.

 

Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

The New York Times: Gregg Renfrew of Beautycounter on Toxic Chemicals and Getting Fired by Messenger

I was washing my children with a natural foaming oatmeal body wash by a name brand, but when I went on the Environmental Working Group’s database, it rated it an eight out of nine for toxicity. I thought I was using natural oatmeal body wash, and in fact I was putting toxins on my babies. 

 

Shape: Are Semi-Permanent BB Cream Tattoos the Next Microblading?

And the BB cream's ingredient list, translated from Russian, includes 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, which gets a high hazard rating from the Environmental Working Group. Even if you haven't jumped on the clean beauty bandwagon, you might want to think twice before embedding it into your skin. 

 

EWG VERIFIED™

Beauty and Well-Being: Beauty Begins with Mother Earth

Planted in Beauty is Cosmos Cosmetic Standard certified, which falls under ECOCERT’s certification umbrella. They are also EWG verified, Leaping Bunny certified and Vegan certified. As if this were not enough, one percent of all their proceeds is donated to 1% For The Planet.

 

Fracking Chemicals

DeSmog Blog: In Southwest Texas, the Fracking Industry Encroaches on Small Towns, Remote Wilderness, and Clear Skies

According to Environmental Working Group scientist Tasha Stoiber, “hazards from the chemicals used included irritation to eyes and skin; harm to the liver, kidney and nervous system; and damage to the developing fetus.” 

 

Monsanto’s Glyphosate

Care2: Orange Juice Tests High for Toxic Glyphosate

In another recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), all 28 samples of oat-based cereals tested were found to contain glyphosate. Some of the cereals found to include glyphosate include: Cheerios (multiple flavors), Quaker Oats (multiple flavors), Quaker Granola (multiple flavors) and Quaker snack bars (multiple flavors). Reprinted by Health Tips Blog.

 

Mercola: Good News: Dewayne Johnson Beat Monsanto. Bad News: He’s Dying

Let them know that you prefer foods without glyphosate residues — and are prepared to switch brands if necessary to find them. As Olga Naidenko, senior science adviser for children's health at the Environmental Working Group, told CNN, "We know it’s possible to grow oats and other grains without herbicides. 

 

Your Wellness: Orange Juice Tests High for Toxic Glyphosate

In another recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), all 28 samples of oat-based cereals tested were found to contain glyphosate. Some of the cereals found to include glyphosate include: Cheerios (multiple flavors), Quaker Oats (multiple flavors), Quaker Granola (multiple flavors) and Quaker snack bars (multiple flavors). Reprinted by Health Tips Blog.

 

Meat Eater's Guide to Climate Change + Health

Market Watch: From solar panels to changing your diet — 11 ways you can combat climate change 

Meat products are far and away the worst food products when it comes to the greenhouse gases stemming from their production, transportation and consumption,data from the Environmental Working Group found. Lamb is the worst culprit, causing 39.2 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions for every kilogram eaten. Comparatively, lentils produce less than 1 kilogram of carbon dioxide for every kilogram eaten. See Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health for more.

 

Pesticides

Environmental Health News: Chemicals on our food: When “safe” may not really be safe

 “A number of current legal standards for pesticides in food and water do not fully protect public health, and do not reflect the latest science,” said Olga Naidenko, senior science advisor to the non-profit Environmental Working Group, which has issued several reports looking at potential dangers of pesticides in food and water. “Legal does not necessarily reflect “safe,” she said. Reprinted by Nation of Change

 

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Well+Good: Wait, grocery store apples are HOW old?!

This vampire-esque lifespan is partly because of chemicals used on apples before arriving in stores, says Alex Formuzis, the vice president of communications at the Environmental Working Group. “Unlike some other produce, insecticides and fungicides are both applied to apples,” Formuzis says—up to 16 different kinds of pesticides in all. 

 

EWG's Guide to Sunscreens

Buzzfeed: 33 Splurge-Worthy Products That’ll Upgrade Your Entire Life

“I found this gem on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website. Do you know how hard it is to find a skin product that is safe from dangerous chemicals, gentle on sensitive skin, and that despite all this, still works effectively?”

 

Forbes: Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Best Gifts For Active Women

A great stocking stuffer for active people who spend lots of time outdoors in the sun - in warm or cold weather. Beyond Coastal makes “active” and “natural” formula sunscreens, and all receive high ratings from the Environmental Working Group. 

 

PFAS in Drinking Water

Asbury Park Press: Drinking water: 1.5M in NJ served by utilities that failed tests since Flint

“The concerns that people have are reflective of the bigger issue which is how we regulate industrial chemicals in this country," said David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. "We think much more could be done to protect drinking water sources.”

 

MLive: Businesses discharging PFAS into Michigan's waterways

“When companies are directly impacting downstream water and impacting health, I think the onus is on them to take action as fast as possible to stop ongoing contamination,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Work Group.

 

Salon: These unregulated, potentially dangerous chemicals are probably already in your bloodstream

The Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute maintain a map of PFAS contamination sites and detections across the country. (Credit: Environmental Working Group and SSEHRI at Northeastern University)

 

Water Quality Products: Investigation Finds Drinking Water Violations in New Jersey

“The concerns that people have are reflective of the bigger issue which is how we regulate industrial chemicals in this country,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group. “We think much more could be done to protect drinking water sources.

 

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