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EWG News Roundup (8/9): Mapping Harmful Algae Toxins, Back-to-School Cellphone Tips and More

In the News
Friday, August 9, 2019

This week, EWG released an interactive map and analysis that aggregates federal and state tests for microcystins, dangerous toxins common in outbreaks of blue-green algae. These toxins were found in hundreds of lakes, rivers and other bodies of water nationwide, yet authorities are doing little to notify and protect the public.

“The bottom line is, if you test for microcystins, you’ll probably find them,” said Soren Rundquist, EWG’s director of spatial analysis. “Hundreds of lakes and other resources Americans rely on for tap water and recreation are contaminated – sometimes even when there is no visible toxic algae bloom.”

A new report by The New Food Economy detected fluorinated chemicals, or PFAS, in compostable takeout food packaging at major food chains. Food has long been a route of human exposure to PFAS and EWG has called upon lawmakers to remove these chemicals from all food packaging.

On Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced legislation that would support voluntary conservation practices on more than 100 million acres of U.S. farmland – a measure that would help combat climate change.

And finally, over on our Children’s Health site, we laid out some simple tips parents can take to protect their kids from harmful cellphone radiation at school.

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

Mycrocystin Report

Politico: How the 2020 Democrats would overhaul farm policy

The blooms are plaguing every state in the continental U.S., the Environmental Working Group shows in this interactive map released today.

UPI: Gulf of Mexico's dead zone expected to grow

But the situation could worsen because, while the amount of fertilizer applied to America's cropland hasn't changed, the percentage of that fertilizer carried into the Gulf is expected to increase, said Craig Cox, senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources at the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by Slinking Toward Retirement and Breitbart.

Circle of Blue: Water News: The Stream, August 9, 2019: Toxic Algae Blooms Becoming More Common Across the United States

Using EPA data from 2007 and 2012, as well as state data from 2018, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) produced an interactive map showing lakes and rivers where microcystins have been detected in the contiguous 48 states.

FERN’s Ag Insider: Algae blooms linked to agricultural runoff choke waterways nationwide, says report

A new analysis from the Environmental Working Group reveals that state and federal testing of lakes and other bodies of water has found toxins from algae blooms in waterways in 48 states.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Study: Algae blooms threaten drinking water, recreation

The Environmental Working Group released a report Wednesday that found hundreds of lakes across the U.S. — including some in the Adirondacks — have levels of toxic algae that far exceed drinking water standards. Reprinted by The Malone Telegram (Northern Franklin County NY).

The Mashpee Enterprise (Falmouth MA): Santuit: Testing Grounds For A Global Problem

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that seeks to function as a national environmental watchdog, issued a report yesterday, Thursday, August 8, that stated that federal and state tests have found outbreaks of the blooms in hundreds of lakes, rivers and other bodies of water nationwide, “yet authorities are doing little to notify and protect Americans.”

Miami New Times: Almost Half of Florida Water Bodies Have Algal Blooms, and Climate Change Is Worsening the Problem

"We have a problem," says Soren Rundquist, the director of spatial analysis for the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. "Florida's warmer climate is naturally conducive to algal blooms." Reprinted by Democratic UndergroundBroward Palm Beach New Times (FL).

New Jersey Spotlight: Algal Blooms Fed By Chemical Runoff and Climate Change, Study Says

Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that campaigns on water quality and other issues, released research on Thursday showing that the harmful compounds, known as cyanotoxins, were found in lakes, rivers and other water bodies at above an EPA health guidance level in more than 10,000 samples reported by state authorities around the country in 2018.

VPM NPR (Richmond VA): Group Blames Warm, Wet Summer And Runoff For Toxic Algae Blooms

Today the Environmental Working Group released a national report that algae blooms have erupted in hundreds of lakes nationwide.

The report says warm weather, heavy rains and nutrient runoff have dramatically increased toxins.

WXXI News (Rochester NY): Group calls for national standar to monitor algal blooms

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit that looks at environmental factors affecting public health. Reprinted byWSKG (Vestal NY).

Department of Defense: Pentagon PFAS Task Force

WAMC (Albany NY): DoD Creates PFAS Task Force As Newburgh PFOS Issue Ages

Melanie Benesh is a legislative attorney with the nonprofit, nonpartisan Environmental Working Group. She says DoD action is long overdue.

Asbestos

Product Hunt: How Does Mesothelioma Affect Children and Young Adults?

Sadly, asbestos has been present in sure youngsters’s merchandise. The EWG Action Fund found traces of asbestos in a couple of totally different capacities.

EU Chlorpyrifos Ban

Common Dreams: European Regulators Praised for Declairing There Is ‘No Safe Exposure Level’ for Pesticide Tied to Brain Damage in Children

The announcement out of Europe was celebrated by Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook, who had decried the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's move.

Chemical & Engineering News: No safe exposure to chlorpyrifos, EU regulators say

“The EU is doing what the science demands: putting public health ahead of the narrow interests of the pesticide industry,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group, says in a statement.

Cleaners

Woman’s Day: Here’s Why You Need to Stop Using Dryer Sheets ASAP

The Environmental Working Group’s senior research and database analyst Samara Geller told Apartment Therapy that dryer sheets contain a potentially harmful chemical called quaternary ammonium compounds (QACS). Reprinted by Yahoo!.

Climate Change

Politico: Booker floats ‘nature-based’ climate strategy

Organizations backing the legislation include Farm Aid, 350.org, the Environmental Working Group, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council. and EarthCorps, among others. Reprinted by European News.

Salon: UN report: Change diet, land use to avoid climate apocalypse

“Changing diets is hard; changing how we farm to reduce emissions and store carbon is easy,” Scott Faber, a spokesperson for the Environmental Working Group Action Fund, told Salon in an email.

EWG VERIFIED™

Bucket List Publications: Growing with The Greenery Lab

EWG (Environmental Working Group) verified, the formulas are aimed to be a natural solution to rejuvenate hair growth.

Organic Market: The 10 key take-aways from the Sustainable Cleaning Products Summit in New York

The number of ethical labelling schemes for cleaning & home care products is increasing. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) gave details of its new EWG Verified standard for home care products, whilst an update was given on Green Seal and other standards.

Michelle Pfeiffer’s Henry Rose

Harper’s Bazaar: The Best Natural and Organic Perfumes

Actress Michelle Pfeiffer is paving the way for non-toxic scents vetted by the Environmental Working Group and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Women’s Health: The 15 Best Natural Nail Polishes That Won’t Wreck Your Nails

This study from Duke University and The Environmental Working Group proves that they may even make their way into your body. In the study, they had women paint their nails.

The Everygirl: Everything Our Editors Bought (and Loved) From Amazon This Month

I love that it’s [Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum] a 1 on the EWG Skin Deep scale, plus it’s also full of hyaluronic acid and ferulic acid — two of my other favorite skincare ingredients.

Joyous Health: How to Use Dry Shampoo and Why You'll Love it!

All ingredients [of Joyous Dry Shampoo] have the lowest rating (0-1) of toxicity on the Environmental Working Group’s database SkinDeep database.

Pittsburg Tribune-Review: Need information on safe cosmetics? Here are some resources

Another helpful resource, [esthetician Ovie] Marshall says, is ewg.com — the website of the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit activist group that does research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants and corporate accountability.

Diet Tips

Thrive Global: 6 Diet Tips That Meaningfully Impact the Planet and Your Health

Become involved in organizations that support the causes you believe in; some of my favorites are Environmental Working Group and Farm Sanctuary

Duke Energy

Charlotte Business Journal: Duke’s Record Up For Debate (subscription)

One week later, the Environmental Working Group put out a report titled Public Energy Enemy No. 1. That report, the group says, explains “why Duke, America’s biggest electric utility, is also the worst for the environment.” Reprinted by WSOC-TV(ABC/Telemundo Charlotte).

Farm Bailouts

Common Dreams: Viral Racism and the Politics of Distraction

A new report by the independent Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that the majority of his administration's recent $16 billion has gone to rich farmers, "exacerbating the economic disparity with smaller farmers."

AgNet West: Assistance Payments May Be More Evenly Distributed This Go Around

A recent study from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) indicated that the first round of aid payments appears to have been unevenly distributed, with more than half of the payments being received by the top ten percent of farms.

Bowling Green Daily News (KY): Auburn feedlot owner received nearly $500,000 for conservation

In Logan County, CRP payments totaled $53.9 million between 1995 and 2018, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit that researches and advocates on the issues of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants and corporate accountability.

The Chrinicle Herald: Bulk of Trump’s U.S. farm aid goes to biggest and wealthiest farmers: advocacy group

Highlighting an uneven distribution of the bailout, which was designed to help offset effects of the U.S.-China trade war, the Environmental Working Group said the top 1% of aid recipients received an average of more than $180,000 while the bottom 80% were paid less than $5,000 in aid.

Food Dive: How China’s halt on US agricultural imports impacts food and beverage

It also doesn't help that a recent Environmental Working Group report found most of $8.4 billion from the 2018 bailout package went to wealthy farmers.

The Gazette (Cedar Rapids IA): More trade aid for farmers possible, Trump says

An earlier analysis by the Environmental Working Group showed direct “trade aid” payments went to more than 563,000 participants in 2018 through April 2019.

Inquisitr: Nearly 100 Percent Of Trump Administration’s Federal Subsidies For Farms Went To White Farmers, Report Finds

The Grist reported that there were some other striking disparities with how funding was distributed, noting a report from the nonprofit Environmental Working Group that found the vast majority of subsidies went to the wealthiest 10 percent of farmers.

Lancaster Farming (PA): Tariff Relief a Big Chunk of Federal Aid in Pennsylvania

The numbers, which run through April 30, were obtained by the Environmental Working Group through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Milford Daily News (MA): Bump: What does ‘the Midwest’ mean?

The Midwest is more than happy to accept free stuff from the government, as Department of Agriculture data compiled by the Environmental Working Group makes clear. Reprinted by Wicked Local (Wakefield MA).

Natural Products Insider: All natural products imports from China face higher tariffs

The new bailout involves payout caps after last year’s $12 billion bailout suffered significant abuse, with foreigners and non-farmers drawing funds, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Telegraph Herald (Dubuque IA): Guebert: Dog days mean letting it lie

Also wanting to talk about it was Bloomberg News and the Environmental Working Group. EWG, you might recall, is the Washington, D.C., nonprofit research organization farmers love to hate because it keeps a running tab on farm program payments that each farmer — as well as each city dweller and member of Congress — receives. Reprinted by Lincoln Journal Star (NE)Aberdeen America (SD)The Courier (Waterloo IA)Journal Star (Peoria IL)The Mexico Ledger (MO); 7 other media outlets.

KIWA (Sheldon IA): Grassley Says USMCA Will Move Through House By September

The Senator also responded to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) database release of subsidy payments for the first round of the Trump Administration’s Trade Aid.

Glyphosate

Mercola: How do kids end up with higher levels of weed killer?

The average level of glyphosate in cereal samples was 360 parts per billion (ppb), which [Friends of the Earth] noted is more than twice the level set by Environmental Working Group (EWG) scientists for lifetime cancer risk in children. Reprinted by Healthglu

Veterans Today: Does Trump Get Paid to Give us Cancer? Trump’s War on America with Deadly Pesticides Will Kill Millions

The EPA actually raised the limits for glyphosate allowed in food in 2013 – perhaps because most American food wouldn’t pass inspection at safety levels set by watchdogs like the Environmental Working Group.

Healthy Cleaning

Woman’s Day: Here’s Why You Need to Stop Using Dryer Sheets ASAP

The Environmental Working Group’s senior research and database analyst Samara Geller told Apartment Therapy that dryer sheets contain a potentially harmful chemical called quaternary ammonium compounds (QACS). Reprinted by Yahoo! Lifestyle

Healthy Living

Goop: The goop Questionnaire: Nneka Leiba, the Environmental Working Group

Leiba leads the healthy living science team at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit that assesses the health effects of chemicals in cosmetics, personal-care and cleaning products, drinking water, and more. 

BC Living: Gifts That Give Back for New Parents and Babies

Their line of non-toxic products, which just received straight A’s in the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Living, make chores easier with colour-coded microfiber cloths.

Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change + Health

CNET: Impossible Burger 2.0: How does it taste, is it safe and where can you get it?

And according to the Environmental Working Group, the livestock agriculture process required for meat products releases those gases -- as well as manure, fuel and pesticides -- into our air and water.

MRSA in Meat

New York Times: Tainted Pork, Ill Consumers and an Investigation Thwarted

An analysis of government data by the Environmental Working Group, a research organization, found that 71 percent of pork chops at supermarkets in the United States carried resistant bacteria, second only to ground turkey, at 79 percent. Reprinted by Seattle TimesWorld NewsACQ MagazineUSA News HubACQ Magazine.

General Health: Antibiotics in Beef: Only 2 Out of 25 Burger Chains Receive “A” Rating

According to a 2018 analysis by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), more than 47,000 federal government lab tests of bacteria in supermarket meat found a rise in the already high number of ground beef contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. (11)

WRAL-TV (NBC Raleigh): Opinion Roundup: Mass shootings; budget games; billboard changes and more

An analysis of government data by the Environmental Working Group, a research organization, found that 71 percent of pork chopsat supermarkets in the United States carried resistant bacteria, second only to ground turkey, at 79 percent.

New Colorado Gravel Mine

Longmont Times-Call: Gravel mine planned near new Longmont subdivision surprises home buyers

According to the Environmental Working Group, an activist group that specializes in research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants and corporate accountability, “mining, processing and transporting sand generates large quantities of silica dust, which is notorious for the damage it does to the lungs and respiratory system when inhaled. … Chronic or long-term exposure can lead to lung inflammation, bronchitis, and emphysema and produce a severe lung disease known as silicosis, a form of pulmonary fibrosis.” Reprinted by Market ScreenerDaily Camera

PFAS in Takeout Bowls

Daily Mail: Eco-friendly takeout bowls at Sweetgreen and Chipotle contain dangerous 'forever chemicals' linked to cancer and infertility

[The House PFAS bill] comes just two months after the Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University reportfound 610 sources in 43 states that contained unsafe levels of PFAS chemicals. Reprinted by BrinkwireExpress DigestAngle NewsHealth Medicine Network.

Romper: Chipotle & Sweetgreen’s Biodegradable Bowls Reportedly Contain Cancer-Linked Chemicals

David Andrews, a Ph.D. toxicologist and senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group told the publication: “The half-life of PFAS is on the order of four to five years on average.

She Knows: New Research Finds Chipotle and Sweetgreen Bowls Contain Chemical Linked to Cancer

“The supply chain for food packaging is awash in PFAS-coated paper that is exposing millions of Americans to these dangerous chemicals,” Environmental Working Group senior scientist David Andrews, PhD, has said.

2019 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Body and Soul: The organic foods a nutritionist wants you to splurge on

Vegetables and fruits should make up a large proportion of everyone’s diet and when it comes to these, The Environmental Working Group have a great guide for which foods contain the lowest and highest pesticide residue.

The Caldwell County News (Hamilton MO): 15 Interesting Facts About Organic Food That You Might Want To Know

If you are not able to afford Organic produce, don’t worry. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has made a list of the “Clean Fifteen” which are the fifteen conventionally grown produce items with the least amount of pesticide residue.

Chemicals News: Children exposed to pesticides have increased risk of autism

Choosing organic food can make a difference. The Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List is a good starting point.

Eating Well: Celebrity Chef Tom Colicchio Is on a Mission to End Hunger for Veterans

Six years ago, he and Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook co-founded Food Policy Action, an advocacy group that's focused on food safety, nutrition and hunger issues—particularly school lunch programs and hunger among veterans.

Mind Body Green: 9 Food & Health Pros Share Their Best Tips For Saving $$$ On Healthy Food

While buying organic is always best, sometimes it isn't in the budget. Sticking with the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists will help you save where you can on nonessential organic fruits and veggies.

Morning Call: When to buy organic

Every year, the EWG or the Environmental Working Group — an environmental advocacy organization — releases a list of the most popular 48 fruits and vegetables that they either vet for being "clean," or caution against non-organic consumption for being "dirty" with pesticides. Reprinted by Hartford Courant (CT).

The Suburban: Healthy Life: Eating organic on a budget

The lists may alter as time goes on, but according to the non-profit organization, Environmental Working Group, the 2019 lists include the following.

UC Berkeley Wellness: Love Kale, Hate Pesticides? Buy Organic

For the first time since 2009, this leafy green vegetable [kale] has made the nonprofit Environmental Working Group’s annual Dirty Dozen list, which ranks conventionally grown fruits and vegetables by the amount of pesticide residue on them after rinsing and peeling, as tested by the USDA and FDA.

Chrome-6 in Drinking Water

Yanko Design: The Vand Will Purify Your Shower-Water of Hard Chemicals as You’re Bathing

This cancer-causing chemical [chromium-6] best known for its role in the Erin Brockovich story, has been found at higher-than-recommended levels in the tap water supplying two-thirds of all Americans, according to a report from the Environmental Working Group, compiled by PBS.

PFAS in Drinking Water

Medium: PFAS: The Forever Chemical in Drinking Water?

According to recent data from the Environmental Working Group (AWG), Michigan and its Great Lakes have the most PFAS contaminated sites.

Cadillac News (MI): Plan, protocols in place for potential PFAS problems

Michigan isn't the only state dealing with PFAS issues but it is apparently one of the worst, according to a report released in the spring by the Environmental Working Group.

 

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