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EWG News Roundup (5/10): Expanding PFAS Contamination Crisis, Golden State Bans Brain Damaging Pesticide and More

In the News
Friday, May 10, 2019

This week, EWG updated our groundbreaking map and analysis of sites reportedly contaminated with toxic fluorinated chemicals, also known as PFAS. As of March 2019, at least 610 locations in 43 states are known to be contaminated, including drinking water systems serving an estimated 19 million people.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has utterly failed to address PFAS with the seriousness this crisis demands, leaving local communities and states to grapple with a complex problem rooted in the failure of the federal chemical regulatory system,” said Ken Cook, president of EWG, which has studied these compounds for almost two decades. “EPA must move swiftly to set a truly health-protective legal limit for all PFAS chemicals, requiring utilities to clean up contaminated water supplies.”

In good news out of California, this week Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration said it will ban the use of the brain-damaging pesticide chlorpyrifos. This is in stark contrast to the March 2017 decision by the Trump Environmental Protection Agency, which shelved a scheduled ban on the pesticide at the national level.

An explosive report by The New York Times this week revealed that top political employees at the EPA ignored calls by the agency’s scientists and lawyers to ban the toxic building material asbestos. Legislation has been introduced in Congress seeking governmental transparency in the use and health risks surrounding asbestos.

And finally, for all you last minute Mother’s Day planners, EWG pulled together a brunch menu, with recipes, so you can whip up breakfast for Mom to make the day extra special and healthy.

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

PFAS Chemicals in 610 Locations in 43 States

CBS News: New study claims 43 states expose millions to dangerous chemical in drinking water

A new report by the non-profit Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University finds people in nearly every state in the country are exposed to unhealthy drinking water. According to the researchers, 43 states have locations, including drinking water sites, contaminated with PFAS chemicals. Reprinted by MSN and CBS affiliates. 

McClatchy DC: New database: Water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe chemical levels 

More than 610 drinking water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe levels of chemical compounds that have been linked to birth defects, cancers, infertility, and reduced immune responses in children, according to a new database compiled by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University. Reprinted by The Charlotte ObserverFresno BeeKansas City StarMiami HeraldModesto BeeSan Luis Obispo TribuneSacramento BeeMSN and 49 other media outlets.

Daily Mail: Drinking water may contain dangerous chemicals linked to cancer and infertility in 43 states affecting up to 19 million Americans, new report finds

Researchers from the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University found 610 sources in 43 states that contained unsafe levels of man-made chemicals in water known as PFAS chemicals. These locations include public water systems, military bases, airports and even firefighter training sites and affect as many as 19 million Americans.

Detroit Free Press: Internal documents show 3M hid PFAS dangers for decades

And it's not just the Great Lake State's problem. In a new study, citing updated federal government data, the Washington-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group identified 610 sites in 43 U.S. states or territories known contaminated with PFAS, including drinking water systems serving 19 million people. Reprinted by MSN.

Detroit Free Press: Michigan AG Dana Nessel takes steps toward suing PFAS manufacturers

In a new study, citing updated federal government data, the Washington-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group identified 610 sites in 43 U.S. states or territories that are known to be contaminated with PFAS, including drinking water systems serving 19 million people. 

Detroit News: Report: Michigan has most PFAS sites in nation

The report's number is much higher because the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group includes sites like schools or apartment buildings where testing found levels of PFAS below the federal health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion — in many cases, showing minute traces such as 2 parts or 4 parts per trillion.

E&E News: Map shows PFAS contamination across U.S. (subscription)

The Environmental Working Group and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University found 610 U.S. locations that contain PFAS, compared with 94 the previous year. There are 43 states where the chemicals have a presence, according to the map. It shows PFAS in public water systems, military bases, airports, industrial sites and firefighter training facilities.

HuffPost: Study Finds Roughly 19 Million Exposed To Toxic Compounds In Drinking Water

As of March, highly toxic fluorinated compounds called PFAS were found in 610 locations, including drinking water sites and military sites, in 43 states, according to the study released Monday by Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. Reprinted by Yahoo! U.K.Yahoo! Singapore and Yahoo! N.Z.

NJ.com: Cory Booker needs to connect with New Hampshire voters in his run for president. Could this big Jersey issue do the trick?

A study by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute found 43 PFAS-contaminated sites in New Jersey, behind only Michigan and California, That includes the older versions of the chemical found in water on or near Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, where they were used in the base’s firefighting foam.

NJ Spotlight: NJ Home to 35 Sites Where Two PFAS Chemicals Top New State Limits

Environmental Working Group, a national advocate for stricter limits on the chemicals, compiled PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) testing data from local water systems, an academic survey, and military authorities throughout the country, and presented it in a national map that was first published in July 2018. Reprinted by WSKG (Vestal, N.Y.) and WHYY (Philadelphia, Penn.).

POLITICO – Morning Energy: Mapping the PFAS Picture

The Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University are out with a new interactive map this morning showing 610 sites contaminated with PFAS across 43 states, including drinking water systems military installations and other industrial sites.

StateImpact Pennsylvania (NPR): PFAS chemicals have contaminated 17 sites in Pennsylvania, data shows

Environmental Working Group compiled PFAS reports from local utilities, the Department of Defense, and researchers at Northeastern University, and presented the information in a national map showing public water systems, military bases, civilian airports, industrial plants and dumps where contamination has been found at various times since 2013. Reprinted by WHYY (Philadelphia, Penn.) and WITF (Harrisburg, Penn.)

ThinkProgress: As EPA stalls, 43 states have water sites contaminated with toxic chemicals

New analysis published Monday by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Northeastern University finds that 610 water sources across the country contain PFAS. The water systems include drinking water sources that serve upwards of 19 million people, along with military and industrial sites, dumps, and airports. PFAS itself is found in everything from firefighting foam to rain jackets.

U.S. News & World Report: Report: Water Contamination Widespread Across U.S.

The map, a collaborative effort by Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, and Northeastern University's Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, documents toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS at publicly known pollution sites across the U.S., including public water systems, military bases, military and civilian airports, industrial plants, dumps and firefighter training sites.

The Weather Channel: 610 PFAS Contaminated Water Sites in 43 States Pinpointed in New Interactive Map

As many as 19 million people in 43 states may be exposed to harmful contaminants in their drinking water, according to the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University.

The Weather Channel: Millions in U.S. May Be Exposed to Contaminated Drinking Water [VIDEO]

More than 19 million Americans could have been exposed to contaminated drinking water, according to new data released by the the Northeastern University and the Environmental Working Group.

Yahoo! Finance: A look at the amount of states that have water filled with toxins

Research from the environmental working group and Northeastern University concluded that more than 600 water sources in 43 states contained unsafe substances linked to birth defects, infertility, and other behavioral issues. Yahoo Finance's Adam Shapiro and Julie Hyman discuss with the panel. Reprinted by Yahoo! LifestyleYahoo! News and Yahoo! Sports

InsideEPA: New findings show jump in sites with PFAS contamination (subscription)

New findings from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) say that, based on public data, the number of locations with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination has jumped from 172 locations identified last year to 610 locations, likely adding to the pressure EPA is under to regulate the chemicals.

Michigan Advance: Report: Michigan has most PFAS sites in the nation

Michigan has the most sites in the country known to be contaminated with the group of toxic chemicals known as PFAS, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group.

Military Times: Will this proposal help DoD’s water cleanup efforts?

Meanwhile, today, an advocacy group that says even those standards are “woefully inadequate” released its updated, interactive map showing PFAS contamination at 610 sites in 43 states. Of those on the Environmental Working Group’s list, 117 are military sites, including 77 military airports. Reprinted by NewsDog.

FOX News Radio: Is Drinking Water Safe in Miami-Dade County?

Drinking water in Miami-Dade County could contain too much of a cancer-causing chemical. The Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University recently studied the drinking water of more than 600 sources across 43 states. Reprinted by WFLAWFLZWJNOWMMB, and 24 other iHeartRadio stations in Florida.

California Chlorpyrifos Ban

The Washington Post: California to ban controversial pesticide, citing effects on child brain development

"Gov. Newsom has done what the Trump administration has refused to do: protect children, farmworkers and millions of others from being exposed to this neurotoxic pesticide," Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said in a statement.

Reprinted by SF Gate (San Francisco)

San Francisco Chronicle: California to block food pesticide that Trump’s EPA saved from nationwide ban

Ken Cook, president of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, said Newsom “has done what the Trump administration has refused to do: protect children, farmworkers and millions of others from being exposed to this neurotoxic pesticide.”

EcoWatch: California, Nation’s Top User of Chlorpyrifos, Announces Ban on Brain-Damaging Pesticide

"Governor Newsom has done what the Trump administration has refused to do: protect children, farmworkers and millions of others from being exposed to this neurotoxic pesticide," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement reported by The Washington Post.

Cumulative Cancer Risk Assessment

Circle of Blue: What’s Up With Water – Jakarta, Indonesia’s Sinking Capital

The Environmental Working Group study analyzed nearly 3,000 state water systems. It claims that the combined health impacts of contaminants such as arsenic and hexavalent chromium are likely to cause thousands of cancer cases.

Erie News Now: Study estimates 15,000 cancer cases could stem from chemicals in California tap water

Researchers from the environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group estimated that the contaminants found in public water systems in California could contribute to about 15,500 cancer cases there over the course of a lifetime.

Health Nut News: California tap water linked to thousands of cancer cases, study suggests

A new study from a team of scientists at the Environmental Working Group, has found that drinking California tap water could increase the number of cancer cases statewide by more than 15,000 over the course of a lifetime.

Pacific Standard: Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

A new study by scientists at the non-profit Environmental Working Group, published in Environmental Health, found that, over a 70-year time period, there will be an additional 15,000 cancer cases in the state as a result of tap water consumption

Patch: California’s Contaminated Tap Water Poses Cancer Risk: Study

The Environmental Working Group found that carcinogens and other toxic contaminants found in the community water systems could cause more than 15,000 cases of cancer statewide.

13 CBS Sacramento: Study Estimates 15K Cancer Cases Could Stem From Chemicals In California Tap Water

Researchers from the environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group estimated that the contaminants found in public water systems in California could contribute to about 15,500 cancer cases there over the course of a lifetime.

Duke Energy Report

Facing South: Gov. Cooper's appointments herald change for Duke Energy oversight

Based on a yearlong investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the analysis looked at all the states where Duke Energy operates as a government-protected monopoly with guaranteed profits, which besides the Carolinas are Florida, Indiana, and Ohio.

North American Clean Energy: Why Duke, America’s Biggest Utility, is also the Worst for the Environment – EWG

Duke Energy is the largest investor-owned electric utility in the U.S. But a new report by Environmental Working Group reveals another distinction: Its puny investments in renewable energy, schemes to penalize customers who want to go solar, and environmental record make Duke public energy enemy No. 1.

EPA Asbestos Memo

Common Dreams: 'Bombshell' Report: Internal Memos Show Trump EPA Ignored Agency Scientists' Calls to Ban Asbestos

Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), was among those who demanded action from federal lawmakers following the "bombshell" report.

Reprinted by AlterNetEcoWatch

EPA Glyphosate Finding

Genetic Literacy Project: EPA requests public comment on activist proposal to cut glyphosate tolerance in oats

The Environmental Working Group, which submitted the petition to the EPA after researching glyphosate’s presence in oat-based foods, says the chemical’s presence in food that children eat presents an unnecessary health risk.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis MN): EPA seeks public input on petition to limit glyphosate

The Environmental Working Group, which submitted the petition to the EPA after researching glyphosate's presence in oat-based foods, says the chemical's presence in food that children eat presents an unnecessary health risk.

Glyphosate Bill

Live Love Fruit: Glyphosate-Free Oats: New Bill Would Ban Pre-Harvest Weedkiller on Oats

“We applaud Rep. DeLauro for once again advocating on behalf of children’s health,” said Colin O’Neil, EWG’s legislative director.

Iowa Wells Report

The Courier (Waterloo IA): The highs and lows of Iowa’s Legislature

Last month the Environmental Working Group and Iowa Environmental Council reported thousands of private wells, particularly those less than 50 feet deep, are susceptible to contamination.

The Gazette (Cedar Rapids IA): Letters to the Editor: Where is the outrage about Iowa water quality?

*While the letter doesn't name EWG it's clearly referring to our report.*

The Gazette (Cedar Rapids IA): The pros and cons of water quality strategies in Iowa

“It’s so much cheaper to prevent the pollution than cleaning it up on the drinking-water side,” said Sarah Graddy, spokeswoman for the Environmental Working Group, based in Washington, D.C.

The Gazette (Cedar Rapids IA): Water comes up empty at the Statehouse

On the same day the Policy Project released its study, the Environmental Working Group reported that thousands of private drinking water wells in Iowa have nitrate levels above the federal standard for safe drinking water.

Globe Gazette (Mason City IA): Cerro Gordo wells often contaminated, but rarely tested

A recent study released by the Environmental Working Group and the Iowa Environmental Council showed as many as 290,000 Iowans rely on private wells for their household drinking water, yet only 55,000 wells have been tested for nitrates and/or bacteria in the last 16 years.

Iowa Farmer Today: Reports: Iowa water quality declines, underfunded

A joint report released by the Environmental Working Group and the Iowa Environmental Council analyzed state records from 2002 to 2017.

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier: The highs and lows of Iowa’s Legislature

Last month the Environmental Working Group and Iowa Environmental Council reported thousands of private wells, particularly those less than 50 feet deep, are susceptible to contamination.

Iowa Public Radio: Researchers Find Disease-Causing Parasite, Bacteria In Northeast Iowa Waters

This strain is different than the “indicator bacteria” that public water systems typically test for, and which was detected in thousands of private wells in a recent survey by the Environmental Working Group.

Michelle Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose Launch

People: Michelle Pfeiffer tried to capture her dad’s cologne with first fragrance

The Dangerous Liaisons actress has just unveiled her Henry Rose line of perfumes, with the unisex scents carefully designed to be both Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Cradle to Cradle certified, in line with her desire to promote health, transparency and sustainability.

Reprinted by Yahoo!

Asbestos

Medical Health News: Michigan Asbestos Diseases and Death Statistics

Per the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a total of 896 Michigan residents have died from mesothelioma between 1999 through 2008.

EWG's Guide to Bug Repellents

Bustle: The 4 Best Mosquito Repellent Sprays

Picaridin-based products are good for those with sensitive skin, because it's less likely to irritate or trigger allergies, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

A Little Bit of Momsense: Better, Cleaner Beauty

The first thing I did was check the products on EWG’s Skin Deep data base to determine what their review of the ingredients list was.

Orlando Advocate: EarthTalk: Is there a link between hair dye chemicals and cancer?

A good place to start is the “Hair Color & Bleaching” section of the free online Skin Deep database, launched in 2004 by the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) to provide information on the ingredients of common household cleaning and health and beauty products—and to highlight potential hazards and health concerns.

The Politic: Hair Politics: How discrimination against Black hair in schools impacts Black lives

Databases such as the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database for Black Hair Care place hair relaxers anywhere from 4 to 10 on a scale of least hazardous (1) to most hazardous (10).

Food Additives

Winsight Grocery Business: Organic Responsibility for Retailers

Now there is a fight being led by a number of environmental and health organizations, including the Environmental Working Group and the Environmental Defense Fund, who have been calling on the FDA to ban perchlorate for use in food—to be more specific, in the packaging of food, which is allowed to be used for organic foods.

Food Scores

The Points Guy: Turn Down the Turtle: 5 Ways to Eat Ethically While Traveling

The Environmental Working Group’s Food Scores database is also helpful for assessing the sustainability of more than 80,000 products.

Dryer Sheets

KRCA 3 (Sacramento CA): This is why you should stop using dryer sheets

The Environmental Working Group’s senior research and database analyst, Samara Geller, told Apartment Therapy that dryer sheets contain potentially harmful chemicals called quaternary ammonium compounds. 

Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

Mercola: how to Avoid Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

While the list of known EDCs is extensive, and the list of possible EDCs even more so, a dozen of the worst and most widely used ones, identified by the Environmental Working Group in 2013, include…Reprinted by Health Nut News

Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health

Market Watch: Peak veganism? This food scientist wants you to try ‘tasty’ locust ice cream and maggot sausages

Meat is the worst food product for producing greenhouse gases due to its production, packaging, transportation and consumption, data from the Environmental Working Group concluded.

BPA in Store Receipts

The San Diego Union-Tribune: Commentary: Why e-receipts are beneficial to environment, public health

According to the Environmental Working Group and the Centers for Disease Control, these typically low-wage workers have 30% more BPA or BPS in their bodies than others who do not have regular contact with paper receipts.

2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Albuquerque Journal: Group releases list of cleanest, dirtiest

Now, alas, comes some bad news. It is on Environmental Working Group’s 2019 Dirty Dozen list, an annual ranking of the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

CNN: Sunscreen enters bloodstream after just one day of use, study says

"The sun is the real enemy here," said Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, or EWG, an advocacy group that publishes a yearly guide on sunscreens.

CNN: Choosing a sunscreen that won’t harm you – or the environment

Nneka Leiba, director of healthy living science at the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group that puts out a yearly guide to sunscreens, agreed: "Zinc oxide is definitely the gold standard."

Reuters: High levels of sunscreen ingredients end up in the bloodstream -study

David Andrews, a senior scientist at the nonprofit health and environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group, called for thorough testing of sunscreen ingredients.

USA Today: Sunscreen seeping into you[r] blood? This is the safest kind to use, experts say

Sunscreens with those ingredients, especially oxybenzone, should be avoided, says Nneka Leiba, the director of healthy living science at the nonprofit advocacy group, the Environmental Working Group, but alternatives exist. Reprinted by Cincinnati EnquirerRecord Searchlight (USA Today network)Daily Magazine; other USA Today network affiliates

Business Insider India: The best sport sunscreen you can buy

Another Amazon reviewer also appreciated that this is "among the safest choices for sunscreen," saying, "I am outdoors daily and purchased this product because it is one of the safer sunscreens according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG)."

Business Insider: Putting on sunscreen may cause chemicals to seep into your bloodstream after just a day. That doesn’t mean you should stop using it.

"Oxybenzone was absorbed into the body at about 50 to 100 times higher concentration than any of these other three chemicals they tested," Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), told CNN.

Goop: 6 Reasons to Make the Shift to Mineral Sunscreen

Still other active ingredients in chemical sunscreens—like retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A that FDA data says may speed the development of skin tumors and that the EWG rates a 9 out of 10 on its Skin Deep scale of toxicity—remain a very real threat (when you see SPF formulas making anti-aging claims, they usually contain retinyl palmitate)

Sunscreen Additives

Raw Beauty Co.: HARMFUL INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Watch out for Retinyl palmitate or retinol in daytime skin products and particularly sunscreen. According to Nneka Leiba, M.P.H., is EWG’s director of healthy living science “Thirty percent of the sunscreens we see have retinyl palmitate,”.

PFAS in Drinking Water

Carolina Eastern Inc: ‘Forever Chemicals’ Ruin Dairies

"There's no official drinking water limit right now," said David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group.

The Detroit News: Report: Michigan has most PFAS sites in nation

The report's number is much higher because the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group includes sites like schools or apartment buildings where testing found levels of PFAS below the federal health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion — in many cases, showing minute traces such as 2 parts or 4 parts per trillion.

Politico: Morning Energy

The Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University are out with a new interactive map this morning showing 610 sites contaminated with PFAS across 43 states, including drinking water systems military installations and other industrial sites.

State Impact Pennsylvania: PFAS chemicals have contaminated 17 sites in Pennsylvania, data shows

Environmental Working Group compiled PFAS reports from local utilities, the Department of Defense, and researchers at Northeastern University, and presented the information in a national map showing public water systems, military bases, civilian airports, industrial plants and dumps where contamination has been found at various times since 2013.

The Tribune (San Luis Obispo CA): New database: Water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe chemical levels

More than 610 drinking water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe levels of chemical compounds that have been linked to birth defects, cancers, infertility, and reduced immune responses in children, according to a new database compiled by the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University. Reprinted by McClatchy (Washington DC)The News & Observer (Raleigh NC)

 

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