EWG News and Analysis
The latest from EWG’s staff of experts >>
EWG News Roundup (3/1): Monsanto Weedkiller in Pasta and Pizza, Coal Lobbyist Confirmed To Head EPA and More
This week, EWG dove into a recent Canadian study that detected Monsanto’s weedkiller glyphosate in a number of wheat-based products, such as pizza, crackers and pasta.
Those findings are consistent with the results of independent lab testing EWG commissioned last year, which found glyphosate in oat-based cereals. Recently EWG took to the streets to see how folks would react when finding out that a harmful weedkiller is in popular cereals, like Cheerios, that millions of Americans eat.
Over on Capitol Hill, the Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal and chemical industry lobbyist, as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
“It’s a sad day for public health and the EPA, but mission accomplished for the fossil fuel and chemical industries,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “They have longed for one of their own calling the shots at the agency, and now they finally have their man in Andrew Wheeler.”
Here’s some news you can use going into the weekend.
Andrew Wheeler Confirmed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator
"It's a sad day for public health and the EPA, but mission accomplished for the fossil fuel and chemical industries," Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement following the vote. "They have longed for one of their own to call the shots at the agency, and now they finally have their man in Andrew Wheeler."
“It’s a sad day for public health and the EPA, but mission accomplished for the fossil fuel and chemical industries,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement. “They have longed for one of their own to call the shots at the agency, and now they finally have their man in Andrew Wheeler.”
Scott Faber is senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group.
The Environmental Working Group’s Ken Cook said the confirmation marks “a sad day for public health and the EPA, but mission accomplished for the fossil fuel and chemical industries”. “They have longed for one of their own calling the shots at the agency, and now they finally have their man in Andrew Wheeler,” said the EWG president.
“It’s a sad day for public health and the EPA, but mission accomplished for the fossil fuel and chemical industries,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement to USA Today. “They have longed for one of their own to call the shots at the agency, and now they finally have their man in Andrew Wheeler.”
These counties are now also the top two counties for poultry operations, with 82 million chickens and turkeys, which produce 826,161 tons of manure each year, according to data from by Waterkeeper Alliance and the Environmental Working Group, which have a new report out on the expansion of poultry operations in the state.
North Carolina continues to make headlines for pollution caused by its heavy concentration of pig CAFOs, but the poultry industry is also a powerful force in the area. In fact, a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Waterkeeper Alliance found there are now more than twice as many poultry CAFOs in the state as there are pig CAFOs.11
Although Finish doesn't make their ingredient list easy to find, the Environmental Working Group lists sodium citrate as one of the detergent's water-softening ingredients. This is one dishwashing detergent that lives up to every bit of its hype.
When you consider a cleaner that’s meant to tackle the grease, grime, and other build-up left over from your cooked foods, the last word you’d think to describe it is toxic, however, oven cleaners are loaded with toxic chemicals so much so that the EWG warns against using many conventional brands. The highest concern of exposure to the chemicals used in most oven cleaners is cancer followed by asthma and respiratory conditions, skin irritation, and harm to the environment.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) exists to educate the public about harmful chemicals that are included in products, especially skin care and makeup. They recently launched the #BeautyMadeBetter campaign to inform Americans how many unsafe ingredients are allowed to be added into makeup and beauty products
Tom’s of Maine Rapid Relief Sensitive Toothpaste, Sensodyne and prescription-only Colgate PreviDent 5000 all contain potassium nitrate. The Environmental Working Group ranks this as a safe toothpaste ingredient. We could find no evidence that it impacts the prostate.
The Record Journal (Meriden, Conn.): Healthy Living: Tips for winter weather skincare
Many traditional skin care products contain harsh chemicals. Three chemicals that Catherine warns her clients to stay away from are sulfates, parabens, and propylene glycols. She recommends visiting the Environmental Working Group, which offers consumer guides to products and details a chemical breakdown of their ingredients.
These two popular sulfates are commonly found in shampoo and are added for their lathering and cleansing effect. "[They] create a lather or bubbles [and] remove dirt and oils from skin and hair,” Paul Pestano, a senior database analyst at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), tells Teen Vogue.
Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database
Mind Body Green: Hormones 101: How They Work & 7 Ways To Balance Them Naturally
Prioritize natural beauty and skin care products. In particular, you want to avoid parabens. These are chemicals found in cosmetics, shampoos, and other personal care products. They are also known to be hormone disrupters. The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database is a great resource for finding more natural beauty products.
Pick ones with short, legible ingredient lists that score well on EWG's Skin Deep database. Look for minimal, plastic-free, refillable packaging or zero-waste bars, if possible, or simplify further by using only baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Whatever you choose, use less of it – and ignore the outdated advice to “wash, rinse, repeat.”
EWG VERIFIED™ and Herbal Essences
EWG is the non-profit organization behind Skin Deep, a product database built to help consumers identify clean cosmetics and personal care items, making it a thorn in the side of many beauty companies that formulate with ingredients EWG has deemed harmful and hazardous. Nudged by focus groups who told P&G (Herbal Essences’ parent company) that EWG’s insights inform their beauty purchases, Herbal Essences extended an olive branch, bringing lab coats from both sides together to formulate two sulfate-free shampoos.
For nearly a century, few legislative steps have been taken to ensure that personal care products in the United States are safe. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an activist organization that specializes in research and advocacy in the area of toxic chemicals, this means that chemicals linked to cancer, damaging reproductive systems, and beyond, can easily wind up in the items we use every day.
Farm Subsidies Database
Pinal has received more federal farm subsidies than any other Arizona county — $571 million from 1995 to 2017, according to a database kept by the Environmental Working Group. The Shedds were among them, gaining nearly $2 million from a program that pays farmers when cotton prices fall too low. Reprinted by Pinal Central.
The loophole, as it were, is that for nonorganic foods, the regulations do not restrict the dozens of other ingredients like preservatives and solvents that can go into a so-called natural flavor. Ultimately, “there does not seem to be much of a difference between natural and artificial flavors,” said David Andrews, a scientist at the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization. Reprinted by Eco Chiild’s Play.
Healthy Living: Home Guide
To improve your air quality and support your health, try replacing air fresheners, cleaning products, hygiene products, carpets, and mattresses with green alternatives. The Environmental Working Group has a comprehensive list of recommendations for all categories.
Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health
Evolving Wellness: 15 Reasons Why You Want to Reconsider Eating Meat
The Environmental Working Group has an outstanding report that illustrates how different food choices impact our climate. By now it is no surprise to most people that animal agriculture is destroying the environment in multiple ways.
When it comes to a side-by-side comparison, beef is more damaging to the planet than cheese and other dairy products. A 2011 report released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) titled “Meat Eaters’ Guide to Climate Change + Health” revealed that cheese generates the third-highest greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), behind lamb and beef. The majority of emissions occur during the production phase.
Last August, glyphosate was found in dozens of popular oat-based breakfast foods like Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal and Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, according to a report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. Makers of the foods EWG tested said they operate within U.S. government safety guidelines and shrugged off the group’s findings. Reprinted byMorning Star.
In 2018, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered traces of glyphosate, the most widely used agricultural pesticide in the world, in dozens of Quaker, Kellogg's, and General Mills products, including cereals like Cheerios and Lucky Charms.
For instance, between 2008 and 2013, wild bees declined 23 percent in the U.S., particularly in the Midwest, Great Plains and the Mississippi valley, where grain production, primarily corn forbiofuel, nearly doubled during the same period.4 Further, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), more than 8 million acres of grassland and wetlands have been converted to corn from 2008 to 2011.5
Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
Buy organic food for your family whenever possible. Sign up for a CSA share to make it more affordable, or ask for seconds at the farmer's market. Buy frozen organic produce if it's cheaper, and consult the EWG's Dirty Dozen list that ranks popular produce from most contaminated to cleanest.
FDA Proposed Rule on Sunscreens
Despite repeated calls for action from watchdog organizations, most prominently the Environmental Working Group, the FDA hasn't updated its stance on sunscreen safety in more than 40 years. Even more shocking are the details of the proposal: Of the 16 different active ingredients in sunscreens currently on the market, the FDA deemed only two as being safe to use: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
The Environmental Working Group has advocated against one chemical ingredient particular. “For a decade, EWG has worked to raise concerns about sunscreens with oxybenzone, which is found in nearly all Americans, detected in breast milk, and potentially causing endocrine disruption,” David Andrews, Ph.D., senior scientist at EWG, said in a statement.
“These tests are critically important,” says David Andrews, a senior scientist at Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization focused on consumer health, during a press call this week, “longer term cancer studies are essential to evaluate the long term impacts.” As such, because they are time intensive, he says, it is possible that an extension will be needed before final decisions are made.
You can also take a deeper dive on the subject by checking out last year's report by the Environmental Working Group on the best and worst sunscreens. Reprinted by Mom.me.
The Environmental Working Group welcomed the proposal. Senior scientist David Andrews particularly lauded the FDA’s call for more data on oxybenzone – an ingredient which, along with octinoxate, has been the subject of local bans in Hawaii and Key West, Florida.
While there are sunscreens on the market that boast an SPF 100, Scott Faber, the senior vice president for government affairs at Environmental Working Group, says these products have “bamboozled” consumers into believing they’re getting extra protection from the sun when they’re not, NY Post reports.
PFAS in Drinking Water
“While we are encouraged by this effort to understand the extent of PFAS contamination in these communities, we strongly urge CDC and ATSDR to widen the program to include other places struggling with this growing crisis,” Dr. David Andrews, senior scientist with Environmental Working Group, said in news release on Monday.
There are a lot of Oscodas out there, left out of the federal exposure assessment, with the same questions and concerns, said David Andrews, senior scientist at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group based in Washington. "There are many more than just eight impacted communities," he said. "It’s imperative on the agencies that this lays the groundwork for much more widespread testing, and to ensure that the results of this study are helpful for other impacted communities."
The NGO Environmental Working Group has pushed for urgent action on the "emergency" of PFAS contamination. EWG senior scientist David Andrews said the group is encouraged by the agencies’ efforts, but it "strongly urge[s] CDC and ATSDR to widen the program to include other places struggling with this growing crisis."
David Andrews, a Senior Scientist with the Environmental Working Group – which has been publicizing PFAS contamination across the country for over a decade – says the study should be expanded to states like Michigan and North Carolina where PFAS has been a public issue. “So that the community can better understand how they’ve been exposed to these chemicals and ultimately what the health impacts may be,” Andrews said.
In May 2018, the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that supports research and education on public health concerns related to environmental exposures, released an estimate that as many as 110 million Americans may have PFAS compounds in their drinking water.