Fracking investigations expand
In June 2011, Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu recruited a panel of supposedly independent experts to advise him on fracking and the natural gas industry -- and EWG promptly discovered that six of the seven had current financial ties to the industry. EWG’s letter to Chu expressing concern was joined by more than 100 national, state, and local organizations in 13 states. EWG organized a similar letter to Chu from 60 New York state elected officials and a third letter from 28 prominent scientists.
In July 2011, EWG published “Cracks in the Façade,” uncovering an EPA document that contradicted industry claims that hydraulic fracking operation had not contaminated groundwater,
In December 2011, EWG’s report “Drilling Double Speak” chronicled how gas drilling companies routinely warned their investors of a litany of possible disasters such as leaks, spills, explosions, bodily injury and even death from hydraulic fracturing but regularly failed to mention these risks when pressing landowners to sign leases for drilling rights.
Safe Cosmetics Act introduced
In May 2011, Rep. Jane Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act, calling for stricter federal regulation of cosmetic ingredients. EWG worked with the office of Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) on a Senate version of the bill.
Losing Ground report spotlights farm soil erosion
On April 13, 2011, EWG launched “ Losing Ground,” a seminal report that chronicled how farm belt soil erosion was dramatically underestimated. The report gained widespread attention.
Brazilian Blowout hair-straightener exposed as unsafe
In April 2011, EWG released an analysis showing high formaldehyde content in Brazilian Blowout and other top brands of hair straighteners and published FDA consumer incident reports of hair loss, corneal abrasions and vomiting. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a national health advisory to salon workers and owners. EWG filed a petition with the FDA pressing for product warning labels.. In the fall of 2011, the cosmetics industry itself acknowledged that formaldehyde in hair straighteners was not safe and distanced itself from makers of hair straighteners. The attorney general of California and Brazilian Blowout reached a legal settlement in which the company agreed not to use formaldehyde in its products without a warning label. And in November 2012, he California Superior Court in the County of Los Angeles, issued an order that required the maker of Brazilian Blowout to stop selling its product in California and prove its reformulated hair straightener met state aiir quality standards
Sulfuryl Fluoride petition granted
On January 10, 2011, EPA granted a petition filed by EWG, Beyond Pesticides, and Fluoride Action Network to end of the use of sulfuryl fluoride, an insecticide and food fumigant. This act marked the first time EPA has granted all objections to a petition under the “reasonable certainty of no harm” standard of the Food Quality and Protection Act. Our petition prompted the January 7, 2011 decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to reduce its recommended maximum level of fluoride in tap water from 1.2 to 07 parts per million, a 42 percent decrease.
Vitamin A finding supported
EWG’s 2010 sunscreen guide, we warned that retinyl palmitate, a form of Vitamin A found in two-fifths of U.S. sunscreens, could possibly accelerate development of skin tumors when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight. The industry widely attacked EWG’s warning. In January 2011, a key independent science advisory panel of the National Institutes of Health confirmed EWG’s analysis.
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