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EWG News Roundup (5/29): Manure Overload in Minnesota, Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ on Military Bases and More

In the News
Friday, May 29, 2020

This week, EWG released a report that shows how manure from 23,000 Minnesota animal feedlots threatens to overload nearby cropland with chemicals that can pollute lakes, streams and aquifers, including drinking water sources. EWG also mapped where 49 million tons of manure is applied to the state’s cropland as fertilizer.

“For the first time, we can clearly see the extent to which farmers are overloading land in Minnesota’s farm country with animal manure and fertilizer – and where the problem is the worst,” said Sarah Porter, senior GIS analyst with EWG and co-author of the report. “This new tool illuminates why water quality across the state is declining at an alarming rate.”

For the first time in 135 years, the U.S. consumed more energy from renewable sources than coal, according to new data from the federal Energy Information Agency.

“It’s basic economics,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Renewable energy is cheaper, cleaner and abundant. There is simply no way for coal to compete. And there is no Wall Street analyst who would risk their clients’ portfolio by investing in an industry in freefall.” 

EWG also looked at the toxic fluorinated compounds, known as PFAS, which contaminate military bases across the nation. Right now, the Department of Defense claims there are roughly 678 contaminated military sites ­– but the military is focusing on the two most ubiquitous PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFAS. New Freedom of Information Act data analyzed by EWG shows that at least eight different PFAS compounds have been detected in groundwater or drinking water or both at military bases.

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

Children’s Health

Dr. Greene: Chemicals and Pregnant Women: Taking Care of Your Unborn Baby

This study reminds me of the study I helped design and launch with the Environmental Working Group in 2005, where we found an average of 200 industrial chemicals already in babies at the moment of birth. Environmental chemicals weren’t just polluting air, soil, and water “out there” somewhere; they were polluting the innermost sanctum of the womb. 

Minnesota Manure Overload Report

The Guardian: Animal feedlots are a likely threat to drinking water in Minnesota, says report

In “almost all of Minnesota’s farm counties” the combined use of manure plus commercial fertiliser, is “likely to load too much nitrogen or phosphorus or both on to crop fields, threatening drinking water and fouling the state’s iconic lakes and rivers”, found the report by the US NGO, the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  

Star Tribune (Minneapolis): Manure, fertilizers overload parts of Minnesota with nitrogen, mapping project finds

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) report links nitrogen overload to the proliferation and concentration of large-scale livestock farms in Minnesota. 

Meatpacking Plants and COVID-19 Map

The Washington Post: The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. But workers are still getting sick — and shortages may get worse.

In Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, coronavirus cases linked to meat workers represent 18, 20 and 29 percent of the states’ total cases, respectively, according to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit advocacy organization. Reprinted by MSNSF GateHouston Chronicle, and 14 others 

Business Insider: A North Carolina hair salon banned Tyson workers as meat processing plants become coronavirus hot spots

Analysis by the Environmental Working Group released in mid-May found that counties with or near meat processing plants have almost twice the rate of known COVID-19 infections, compared to the national average. Reprinted by USA News Posts

The Hill: 11,000 coronavirus cases tied to three meat processors: report

Twenty-nine percent of South Dakota’s total cases are linked to processing plant workers, as are 20 percent of Nebraska’s cases and 18 percent of Iowa’s cases, according to the Environmental Working Group. Reprinted by LipstickAlley

New York Magazine - Grub Street: Horrifying Problems Continue to Plague the Meat Industry

According to the Environmental Working Group, counties with meatpacking plants report coronavirus infection rates twice the national average.

Agri-Pulse: Next meatpacking guidance may address testing of workers

Citing the Environmental Working Group, she said in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, "coronavirus cases linked to meat workers represent 18, 20 and 29 percent of the states’ total cases, respectively.” North Carolina “leads the nation with the number of meatpacking plants facing an outbreak — with the state Department of Health and Human Services reporting that at least 23 plants have outbreaks with more than 1,300 worker infections," she said.

Daily Mail (U.K): Cases of meat plant workers with coronavirus soars from 3,700 to more than  15,000 in a month - as experts warn meat supply could drop by a THIRD and prices could spike by 20%

In Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, coronavirus cases linked to meat plants account for 18, 20 and 29 percent of the states' total cases, respectively, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy organization. Reprinted by What’s New 2 Day

Lincoln Journal Star (Neb.): Local View: Meat-processing workers deserve better

In fact, a study from the Environmental Working Group has found that Nebraska and Iowa have the highest number of meat-industry related COVID-19 cases in the country.

Trump Administration Farm Bailout

The Fence Post: House members urge Pelosi, McCarthy to use CCC to help farmworkers

Farmworker Justice President Bruce Goldstein and Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook in a joint news release both praised Panetta for his leadership and said they supported the legislation.

Reason: Is Record USDA Farm Aid Another Permanent 'Temporary Solution'?

This week, the Environmental Working Group criticized the farm bailout, noting "most of the money won't go to small family farmers but to the largest and wealthiest farms, which need the money the least."  

Algae Blooms

Township Journal (N.J.): As our lakes reopen, NJ must do more to protect them

A report from the Environmental Working Group last year showed levels of cyanotoxins in lakes, rivers, and other water bodies across the country at levels higher than EPA health guidelines.

Reprinted by Sparta Independent (N.J.)

Asbestos in Talc-Based Cosmetics

Global Cosmetics News: Tests Find Asbestos in Make-Up Palettes Sold via Amazon and Ebay

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) in Washington, D.C., commissioned the testing as part of a wider assessment on the safety of children’s products and released the results to the public. 

Pharma Intellegence: J&J’s Baby Powder Announcement Renews NGO Calls For Industry, FDA To End Use Of Talc In Cosmetics

The Environmental Working Group and US PIRG suggest that beauty and personal-care firms should avoid using talc in loose powders, if not all cosmetic products, and that the US FDA should consider banning the ingredient due to the potential for asbestos contamination, among other concerns.

Cleaning Products

Sacramento Magazine: The Dirt on Laundry

As for those notorious “tough-to-remove” stains, the Environmental Working Group details how you can make your own removers using such ingredients as lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide.

Lexington Herald-Leader (Ky.): As we use disinfectants to stop coronavirus transmission, we also have to weigh the risks

Finally, Environmental Working Group has a very useful database of over 2,500 cleaning products, their ingredients, and health/environmental concerns.

The Healthy: 12 Things You Need to Clean After Returning From the Outside World

"When reaching for an antimicrobial cleaning product, it's important to consider that optimal effectiveness of disinfectants — typically a 99.9 percent reduction in particular pathogens—will only be achieved when used according to the label instructions," warns Samara Geller, senior research and database analyst for the Environmental Working Group (EWG). "Too often, one or more key disinfection factors are overlooked by the user."

Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database

Mind Body Green: Crystal Deodorant: What's The Deal With This Antiperspirant Alternative? 

This is not a widely studied ingredient (even though most groups, including the Environmental Working Group, deem it safe), and thus we don't know how effective they are outside of anecdotal evidence.

Medium: Everyday products are full of harmful chemicals. Can green chemistry lead the way to safer alternatives?

Nneka Leiba, vice president for healthy living science at Environmental Working Group (EWG), says she’s seen “monumental changes in the last five years” in the personal care sector. “Companies have avoided some ingredients, some of the worst ones, like paraben, phthalates and formaldehyde,” she says, adding that “they may still have other ingredients of concern.”

The Zoe Report: The Best Cream Bronzers To Try This Summer If Powder Formulas Just Aren’t Your Thing

“Clean,” non-toxic makeup has made major strides over the past couple of years, but sometimes, it still falls a little short. That’s not the case with this W3LL People bronzing stick, which is free of parabens, phthalates, fragrance, and verified by the Environmental Working Group for non-toxic health and safety.

Bug Repellents

Pulse: Is DEET Actually Bad for You? Here's What to Know.

R 3535: The Environmental Working Group suggests that this provides good protection against ticks. While it does protect against mosquitos, the EWG suggests it may offer a bit less protection from these than other repellents do. Reprinted by Men’s Health

Food Scores

Business Insider: The best canned, jarred, and preserved seafood to eat and cook beyond just tuna

Your best bet is to compare and contrast the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch's full list of recommended species (the MSC can be helpful, too, but maintains slightly looser regulations around fishing methods) and the EWG's database of scores for canned fish.

Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change + Health

Good Housekeeping: Everything You Need to Know About the Pescatarian Diet

Better for the environment: According to the Environmental Working Group, the carbon footprint of tuna and salmon is significantly lower than cheese or meat.

Reprinted by MSN

PFAS Military Map

Detroit Free Press (Mich.): Restrictions expanded near former Wurtsmith air base after PFAS found in most wildlife

report last month by the Washington-based nonprofit Environmental Working Group, using Department of Defense data, found 678 military facilities nationwide with known or suspected PFAS contamination in the ground or water. Reprinted by Stars and Stripes

PFAS Tap Water Contamination

Florida Today: Father urges Congress to fund filters to remove Air Force Base cancer-causing fire-foam chemicals from drinking water

"In this case, industry has known at least since the '60s that these substances were toxic," said Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group's senior vice president for government affairs. Reprinted by MSN

Water Online: EPA Decides Perchlorate Regulation Isn't Necessary

“The science on perchlorate is very clear: It harms infants and the developing fetus,” said Olga Naidenko, senior science adviser for children’s environmental health at the Environmental Working Group, according to The Hill. “Instead of taking action to lower the levels of this rocket fuel chemical in drinking water, the administration’s plan will endanger the health of future generations of kids.” 

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Healthy Directions: 5 Causes of Chronic Inflammation and How to Prevent Them

Preventing environmental exposures: Buy organic (especially foods in the EWG’s “Dirty Dozen”)

Kiwi Magazine: The 2020 “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15”

Every year the Environmental Working Group analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FDA to highlight foods that test positive for the most and the least amounts of pesticides—known as the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15.” 

KAKE (Wichita, Kan.): What grocery shopping was like the year you were born

The Environmental Working Group released its first “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists in 2004 to help concerned consumers avoid pesticides in their foods, according to Rachel Koning Beals of MarketWatch.

EWG Guide to Sunscreens

Today: Is your sunscreen toxic or a hormone disruptor? Ingredients, studies spark debate

It’s understandable why consumers would be confused, said Nneka Leiba, vice president of healthy living science at the Environmental Working Group, a watchdog nonprofit based in Washington. Reprinted by MSN.

Prevention: 15 Best Moisturizers With SPF for Every Skin Type, According to Dermatologists

This silky moisturizer earned a high rating from the Environmental Working Group. Thanks to its top-notch ingredients (most of which are organic), like aloe vera, cocoa seed extract, and niacinamide, your face will feel calm and hydrated without skimping on broad spectrum protection.

WebMD: Consumer Reports Ranks Top Sunscreens for 2020

A new report from the Environmental Working Group recommends consumers avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone because of a lack of safety data. Reprinted by Medscape.

Marin Mommies: Find the Most Effective Sunscreens with EWG's 2020 Sunscreen Guide

Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group's 14th annual Sunscreen Guide is available to help sort the good sunscreens from those that won't help much or are actually harmful to our health. Reprinted by Blogarama

Mindful Momma: Non-Toxic Sunscreen to Protect the Whole Family

Fortunately advocacy groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) have evaluated thousands of sunscreens for safety and created a ratings scale that allows us to make safer choices. Each year the EWG comes out with a Sunscreen Guide, which is definitely worth a read.

WZOZ 103.1 (Oneonta, N.Y.): Your Guide to the Best and Worst Sunscreens of 2020

The Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens is a fantastic website that breaks down each type of sunscreen and its individual benefits.

Fox 13: WTVT Tampa Bay (Fla.): Sunscreen report: SPF above 50 likely not providing more protection

EWG is an advocacy organization that just released a review of more than 1,300 products containing SPF.

WAFB 9 (Baton Rouge, La): What’s really in a bottle of sunblock anyway?

“In particular, we are concerned about ingredients like oxybenzone, which is common in ingredients,” said Dr. David Andrews, the senior scientist for Environmental Working Group. 

WKYC (Cleveland): How to pick the best sunscreen on the market

A research group called the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has just released its guide to finding the best sunscreens on the market. 

 

 

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