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EWG News Roundup (2/7): California Bans Neurotoxic Pesticide, Endocrine Disruptors in Menstrual Products and More

In the News
Friday, February 7, 2020

This week California banned the sale of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, used on fruits and vegetables, which damages children’s brains and nervous systems.

“Removing chlorpyrifos from the toolbox of chemical agribusiness in California is the kind of aggressive action elected leaders must take to safeguard public health,” said EWG President Ken Cook, a Bay Area resident. “Gov. Newsom’s action means that farmworkers, children and other Californians will no longer be exposed to a dangerous chemical that can permanently impair the brain and nervous systems. If only President Trump’s EPA had listened to its own scientists and not blocked a federal ban of chlorpyrifos, millions of other kids would enjoy the same protections.”

EWG, along with a coalition of leading national environmental and consumer protection groups, sent a letter to lawmakers in Indiana, urging them to reject legislation that will make it difficult for electric utilities to shutter coal-fired power plants.

Two recent studies show menstrual care products may be a major source of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. EWG broke down the impact of these troubling findings.

And finally, EWG took a timely look into how the financial sector is finally waking up to the severe threats posed by climate change. Although some investment and insurance corporations seem to be taking the threat seriously, the banking sector is trailing behind when it comes to divesting in fossil fuels.

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

Chlorpyrifos

Washington Post: Trump has kept this controversial pesticide on the market. Now its biggest manufacturer is stopping production.

"Removing chlorpyrifos from the toolbox of chemical agribusiness in California is the kind of aggressive action elected leaders must take to safeguard public health,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, an activist group, said in a statement. “Farmworkers, children and other Californians will no longer be exposed to a dangerous chemical that can permanently impair the brain and nervous systems. If only President Trump’s EPA had listened to its own scientists and not blocked a federal ban of chlorpyrifos, millions of other kids would enjoy the same protections.”

Reuters: Corteva to stop making pesticide linked to kids' health problems

“Children and farm workers in California will no longer be exposed to this neurotoxic pesticide that can permanently impair the brain and nervous systems,” said Ken Cook, president of Environmental Working Group, an activist organization.

The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.): California bans common pesticide linked to brain damage in children

“If only President Trump’s EPA had listened to its own scientists and not blocked a federal ban of chlorpyrifos, millions of other kids would enjoy the same protections,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, on Thursday.

FDA Hearing on Testing Talc for Asbestos

Reuters: U.S. government experts, industry spar over asbestos testing in talc

Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, urged the FDA to endorse the more rigorous testing methods and said the agency should add a warning label to talc products so consumers are aware they may contain asbestos. 

USA Today: Is baby powder safe? Does it cause cancer? And how is it regulated?

Meanwhile, the Environmental Working Group's makeup database states that talc is mostly safe in cosmetics. As does skincare and cosmetics brand Paula's Choice, which says that talc in makeup "does not present a health hazard."

KWSN (Sioux Falls, S.D.): U.S. government experts, industry spar over asbestos testing in talc

“It’s time to end the honor system which has failed consumers for so long,” Faber said at the hearing. "Let’s not wait another 50 years to finally protect consumers."

Kellogg’s Phase-Out of Glyphosate

Food Dive: Kellogg to reduce glyphosate use in supply chain as EPA Oks weed killer

Applauding the decision was Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, which has commissioned lab tests on glyphosate food residues.

Food Ingredients First: US Environmental Protection Agency reaffirms non-carcinogenic status of glyphosate

“We applaud Kellogg’s for working with their suppliers to address the risks posed by glyphosate,” says Environmental Working Group (EWG) President Ken Cook in response to Kellogg’s initiative. 

Trump Administration

The Hill: Overnight Energy: Top EPA political staffer leaves for coal lobby | House committee gears up for vote to subpoena Interior | EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical

"Considering that he already works for a top coal lobbyist -- EPA chief Andrew Wheeler, who's gone from lobbying in the private sector to helping President Trump roll back clean-air regulations -- the on-boarding process at his new employer should be a breeze," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. 

Trump Administration Farm Bailouts

The Hill: USDA issues last batch of aid to farmers impacted by trade war

July study by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization, found that more than half of the first two payments went to bigger, wealthier farms.

Asbestos in Children’s Makeup

Billings Gazette (Mont.): Commentary: The carcinogens in kids’ products

In mid-January, the Environmental Working Group, a national nonprofit organization, issued an alert about this product, urging retailers, including Amazon.com, to "immediately pull these types of products from their websites."  

Cleaning Products

The Oprah Magazine: 22 Natural Cleaning Products That Work Wonders

This laundry detergent is recommended by the EWG as one of the safest, most non-toxic detergents for both humans and the environment, says Schulhof. 

Daily Herald (Chicago): Homeowners attempt to be more environmentally friendly

She often consults the Environmental Working Group's website when choosing laundry or cleaning products.

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Washington Post: A guide to the confusing and sometimes controversial ingredients in your cosmetics

Secondly, the Environmental Working Group and other advocacy groups have drawn attention to claims about paraben exposure being linked to endocrine disruption, cancer and skin irritations.

Nylon: Brow Lamination Is In Right Now – But Is It Worth It?

 I recommend cross-checking those ingredients with the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database before your appointment, just to make sure you're comfortable with the potential risks.

Martha Stewart: Your Guide to Natural Nail Polish

While there's no FDA-regulated definition for "natural," for anything from nail lacquers to shampoo, more and more companies are excluding chemicals with known or possible health effects from their formulations, says Carla Burns, research and database analyst at the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C.

EWG VERIFIED™ Revlon                   

Chemical Watch: Revlon launches first ‘EWG-verified’ cosmetic product globally

Cosmetics giant, Revlon, has launched an 'EWG-verified' makeup primer, making it the first global brand to bring a cosmetic product with that label...

Drug Store News: Revlon’s latest primer receives EWG verification

The beauty brand is launching PhotoReady Prime Plus Perfecting + Smoothing Primer — its first mass-market cosmetic product — that meets the Environmental Working Group, or EWG, clean beauty standards.

Finder: Revlon explores clean beauty: All you need to know about the new primer

The product is compliant with the standards of the Environmental Working Group, the lobbying organization focused on ingredient safety for consumer products.

EWG VERIFIED™ Herbal Essences

Premium Beauty News: Herbal Essences bets on sustainability with new plant-based ingredients and a recycling initiative

The line’s six shampoos are all free from what the non-profit organization the Environmental Working Group refers to as “chemicals of concern,” and all product fragrance components are disclosed on the packaging.

EWG’s Consumer Guides

Martha Stewart: 6 Ways to Detox Your Home

According to the Environmental Working Group, many everyday cleaners, beauty products, and home goods such as cookware often hide harmful chemical ingredients.

Flavors

CBS4: WCCO (Minneapolis, Minn.): Good Question: What Exactly Are Artificial Flavors?

They’re in everything from mac-and-cheese to salad dressing to bubbly water – natural flavors. After water, sugar and salt, natural flavors are the most common ingredient in processed food,according to the Environmental Working Group.

Glyphosate

Capital Press (Salem, Ore.): EPA review supports glyphosate safety

EPA’s decision “underscores that the Trump administration’s willful ignorance of science and abject fealty toward the chemical pesticide industry knows no bounds,” Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, said in a press release.  

The National Law Review: EPA Issues Interim Registration Review Decision for Glyphosate

In addition, EPA is considering a pending petition to prohibit preharvest use of glyphosate on oats, and to reduce the tolerance for glyphosate in oats, that was filed in 2018 by the Environmental Working Group and others. This petition is predicated on the potential carcinogenicity of glyphosate.  

Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change + Health

Medium: Carbon-Counting Out Food for a Healthy Earth

(Reprinted our graph)

PFAS Testing Report 

HuffPost: The Environmental Protection Agency Keeps Approving Dangerous Chemicals

The strategy makes it impossible for public health advocates and scientists to keep up with new PFAS, said David Andrews, senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group that tracks and studies PFAS contamination. Reprinted by Yahoo!

Los Angeles Times: ‘Our voices are not being heard’: Colorado town a test case for California PFAS victims

Ft. Carson, a sprawling Army base also near Fountain, halted its use of toxic firefighting foam in the early 1990s after the Army Corps of Engineers warned that PFAS was hazardous, according to internal Defense Department documents obtained by the Environmental Working Group, a research organization that has pushed for strict PFAS regulations.

The Guardian: The ‘forever chemicals’ fueling a public health crisis in drinking water

In short, “it’s nearly impossible to escape contamination”, said David Andrews, senior scientist for the Environmental Working Group.  

The Independent: The Americans who say ‘toxic soup’ tap water has given them cancer

It’s a hypothesis that has gotten renewed support this year with the release of a new study by the Environmental Working Group(EWG), which for the first time found the toxic PFAS chemicals in the drinking water supplies of dozens of US cities, including major metropolitan areas.

Port City Daily (Wilmington, N.C.) Temporary RO fill station solution brewing between Brunswick Schools, county

Emily Donovan, co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, first brought the idea to H2GO three years ago. Following the release of the Environmental Working Group study, in which she collected the Belville Elementary School sample, Donovan has continued to advocate, hoping the renewed political interest will turn into action. 

News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.): Our Opinion: Troubled waters

Even as the Trump administration beats a disturbing retreat on environmental protections, tap water across the United States is contaminated to a much higher degree than previously known, contends a new report from the Environmental Working Group.  

North Carolina Health News: New DEQ data show ‘staggering’ levels of PFAS in Cape Fear River basin

To put the DEQ data into perspective, the Washington D.C. based Environmental Working Group recently tested tap water at 44 locations in 31 states and the District of Columbia. 

North Carolina Health News: Not all in-home water filters completely remove toxic PFAS

North Carolina is said to have the third-worst problems with PFAS of any state in the country. The Washington-based Environmental Working Group released a study last month that found Brunswick County had the highest level of total PFAS from samples of tap water taken at 44 locations in 31 states.  

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel (W.Va.): Belmont County residents meet with state over cracker plant

Recent testing by the Environmental Working Group has revealed that both Cincinnati and Columbus already have dangerous levels of ‘forever chemicals’ like PFAS in their drinking water.”

Richland Source (Mansfield, Ohio): Brown: Protecting Ohioans’ drinking water

Last month, a new report from the Environmental Working Group found that drinking water contamination from PFAS chemicals is far more prevalent than we thought.  

Rocky Mount Telegram (N.C.): Make sure water is safe to drink

…according to a new report released on Jan. 22 by the Environmental Working Group.

The Times-News (Burlington, N.C.): Editorial: Protect nation’s drinking water

Tap water across the United States is contaminated by toxic chemicals to a much higher degree than previously known, according to a Jan. 22 report by the Environmental Working Group.

WBZ News Radio (Boston): Massachusetts Towns With Dangerous Drinking Water

The same dangerous chemical turned up in Danvers, Hudson, Mashpee, and Hyannis, according to the Environmental Working Group's annual drinking water database

89.3 WFPL (Louisville, Ky.): Ohio River Regulators Planning Riverwide PFAS Study

The Louisville Water Company and the Environmental Working Group have also detected PFAS compounds at low levels in Louisville drinking water.  

WHQR (Wilmington, N.C.): CoastLine: RO and GAC – How Local Governments Are Dealing With Unregulated Toxins In The Water

Earlier this year, we learned that Brunswick County has the most contaminated drinking water in the country, according to Environmental Working Group, a national nonprofit.

CBS Boston: I-Team: Some Drinking Water Is Making Massachusetts Residents Sick

PFAS compounds run through taps in several New England towns. When the I-Team searched the Environmental Working Group’s annual drinking water database, the chemicals turned up in Danvers, Hudson, Mashpee and Hyannis, where a firefighter training academy used the foam for decades.

Seafood Guide

Health: What Is a Pescatarian Diet—and Is It Healthy?

One reference I always share with clients is the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Consumer Guide to Seafood. After entering your weight, age, gender, and answering a few yes or no questions, you’ll see a chart, arranged from green to yellow and red.  

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Medium – Katie Couric’s Wake-Up Call: How to Ease Into a Plant-Rich Diet

When you can, avoid the most pesticide contaminated fruits and vegetables by consulting the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list and instead choose from the “Clean Fifteen” list featuring the least contaminated options www.ewg.org.

Philly Voice: Organic vs. non-organic: The pros and cons

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a list, known as the Dirty Dozen, of conventionally grown foods most likely to contain pesticide residue. To help reduce your exposure to pesticides, consider buying organic versions of these produce items: apples, celery, cherries, grapes, kale, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Eating Well: 7 Tips for Clean Eating

Choose organic produce where you can, focusing on buying organic foods from the EWG's Dirty Dozen list and cutting yourself some slack with the Clean 15 foods list.

EWG Guide to Sunscreen

The Seattle Times: Try Canada for cheaper generic antidepressants

We’d suggest looking for a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group rates these as safe and effective. 

The Augusta Chronicle (Ga.): People’s Pharmacy: Antidepressant price difference could be lifesaving

We’d suggest looking for a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredient. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group rates these as safe and effective. 

Mercola: Sunscreen Safety Questioned Yet Again

The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database is a good resource when evaluating your sunscreen choices. Dr. Mercola Sunscreen SPF 30 received the EWG’s highest safety rating in 2017.

Tap Water Database Update

Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.): Town of Wallkill seeks to prevent chemical buildup in drinking water

Between 2012 and 2017, the town of Wallkill’s water district had a TTHMs measurement of 58.1 parts per billion, which also equates to micrograms per liter, according to Environmental Working Group, a research advocacy group that promotes clean drinking water.

Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.): Village of Florida gets $3M to fix water

Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research and policy organization with offices around the country, keeps track of drinking-water standards and enforcement. Its website notes that the Village of Florida violated federal drinking-water standards from April 2016 to March 2019.

CBS9: WUSA (Washington, D.C.): Here's where the best drinking water in the country is

The Environmental Working Group's Tap Water Database allows users to type in their zip code to see the potential toxins in their tap water.

Nitrate in Tap Water

Santa Monica Mirror: Survival at the Edge of the Sea!

The Environmental Working Group released a study last week that shows contaminants in Santa Monica’s drinking water that are at 30 ppm for both Nitrates and Nitrites.

United-States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA)

The Daily Iowan: Yes, major green groups opposed new USMCA trade deal

In an email to The Daily Iowan, representatives from the Environmental Working Group, a nonpartisan conservation nonprofit, said the group has no official stance on the USMCA

 

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