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EWG News Roundup (6/25): Nitrate Contaminates Farm Country Drinking Water, $10 Billion Settlement in Monsanto Weedkiller Case and More

In the News

Thursday, June 25, 2020

This week, EWG released an analysis of nitrate contamination of drinking water, largely caused by polluted runoff from crop fields, across 10 states, affecting more than 20 million Americans. The investigation also found that water utilities with the worst issues with nitrate were getting worse over time.

On Thursday, Bayer-Monsanto reached a settlement of $10 billion with four plaintiffs’ law firms representing 100,000 clients who were stricken with cancer after prolonged use of the toxic weedkiller Roundup, whose main ingredient is glyphosate.

“Today’s settlement is vindication for all those who have fallen ill with cancer as a result of being exposed to this chemical,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “No amount of money can reverse the damage Bayer-Monsanto has inflicted on these victims and countless others, but because of their and their attorneys’ tireless fight for justice, the company that exposed them is now paying a heavy price for its duplicitous deception.”

In other Roundup news, a federal judge in California blocked efforts by the state to require cancer warning labels on the weedkiller.

And finally, EWG broke down a new study that shows how the U.S. could reach 90 percent clean energy by 2035, and another outrageous decision by the Trump Environmental Protection Agency that would fail to protect Americans from toxic fluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, in consumer products.

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

Children’s Health

One Green Planet: Trump Administration Allows Rocket Fuel Chemical in Drinking Water Systems Linked to Brain Damage in Infants

“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. 

COVID-19 and Farmworkers

Agri-Pulse: Advocates for farmworkers say COVID issues need to be addressed

“This is a problem that’s just beginning,” says Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, which has been tracking the situation. “We’re seeing the first cases of COVID among farmworkers.”

The Fence Post: Merkley introduces bill to provide protections for farmworkers

The FARM Laborers Protection Act is endorsed by United Farm Workers, UFW Foundation, United Food and Commercial Workers, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, Farmworker Justice, Causa Oregon, Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Foundation, Unite Oregon and Unete Center for Farm Worker Advocacy, Environmental Working Group, and Justice for Migrant Women.

Successful Farming: Coronavirus Pay Raise Proposed For Farmworkers

Two food and agriculture unions, the United Farm Workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers, supported the bill, along with the Teamsters, several farm worker groups, and the Environmental Working Group.

COVID-19 Map and Meatpacking Plants 

The Harrisonburg Citizen (Va.): Community Perspective: Health standards needed to protect workers

Counties with meat processing facilities are twice as likely to become hot spots of COVID-19, according to the Environmental Working Group. 

Powder & Bulk Solids: COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise in US Food Industry

Another report released earlier this month by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that some 1,200 food processing workers in the United States have contracted the virus at 60 plants.

EWG 10-State Nitrate Pollution Report

Politico: Morning Agriculture Newsletter 6/24

The Environmental Working Group published a report showing that nitrate pollution from farm runoff is worsening across thousands of community water systems that serve nearly 21 million people. The analysis out today includes data from major farm states like California, Iowa, Nebraska and Texas.

E&E News: Nitrate pollution increasing in some states — report

Drinking water in almost a dozen states is increasingly being contaminated with nitrate, a prime chemical component used in fertilizer, according to a new analysis from the Environmental Working Group.

Illinois Newsroom: Nitrate Pollution In Illinois Drinking Water Increasing, New Report Finds

Nitrate levels in Illinois drinking water continue to be an environmental health issue and in some areas are increasing, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

LaCrosse Tribune (Wis.): Rising nitrate levels found in tap water of some Madison-area suburbs, report says

While nitrate has long plagued rural residents who rely on private wells, a review of testing data by the Environmental Working Group found that 303 of the state’s municipal drinking water systems also had elevated levels between 2003 and 2017.

Harvest Public Media: Farm States Still Struggling With Polluted Drinking Water

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found nitrate levels in IowaIllinoisKansas, and Oklahoma are trending up. (The full report also includes California, Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maryland.)

Wisconsin Public Radio: Report Finds Wisconsin Is Among 10 States Where Nitrate Contamination Is Getting Worse

Wisconsin is among 10 states that have seen growing problems with nitrate contamination in drinking water, according to a new report by Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Bayer-Monsanto Settlement

Forbes: Bayer To Pay More Than $10 Billion In Roundup Settlement

“Even as we celebrate and congratulate those who made this day possible, millions of people are being exposed to glyphosate through the food they eat, working as groundskeepers or farmworkers, or gardening at home,” says Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group. 

Salon: Bayer to pay up to $10 billion to settle cancer lawsuits over glyphosate, the herbicide in Roundup

The Environmental Working Group, a science nonprofit, found that consumer oat-based food products frequently contained levels of glyphosate that exceed the 160 parts per billion health benchmark.

San Francisco Chronicle: After 3 big verdicts, owner of Roundup agrees to settle 125,000 suits for $10 billion

Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group not involved in the lawsuits, said documents unearthed at the trial showed how Monsanto “aggressively conspired for decades to withhold or lie about the evidence to the public and to regulators, while relentlessly attacking scientists and organizations that sought to tell the truth about the company’s products.”

Senators Oppose Consumer Safety Nominee, Nancy Beck

Roll Call: GOP opposition may thwart Trump’s consumer safety nominee

They are found in the blood streams of 99 percent of Amerians, according to the Environmental Working Group, a public health advocacy organization.

Trump Administration Farm Bailout

Bloomberg: Trump Farm Bailouts Raise Risks of Reprisals From Trade Partners

The Environmental Working Group, a critic of farm subsidies, calculated that the aid pushed “trade distorting” subsidies covered under a 1994 international agreement to $34 billion in 2019, far above the pact’s $19.1 billion cap for the U.S.

The Hawk Eye (Iowa): With losses mounting, Iowa farmers, ag groups hope congressional leaders provide additional coronavirus aid

The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C., group critical of subsidies to farmers, wants Congress to send pandemic assistance to workers in meatpacking plants and in fields picking fruits and vegetables, instead of to growers, saying too much of the aid goes to big producers.

AB 2762: California Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act

Organic Authority: California Just Passed Landmark Legislation to Get Poison Out of Personal Care

“Cosmetics companies can legally use these ingredients, and they don’t provide consumers with any information about the potential impacts of certain ingredients on human health,” says Susan Little, Senior Advocate for California Government Affairs at the Environmental Working Group, a co-sponsor of the bill.

AB 345: California Regulation of Oil and Gas Operations

Natural Resources Defense Council: AB 345: Please Keep Off the Astroturf

You can read about it in my recent blog on the subject, and in NRDC and Environmental Working Group’s comments concerning setbacks submitted earlier this month to the Division of Geologic Energy Management (CalGEM). 

Cleaners

Living Building Chronicle (The Kendeda Fund): COVID-19 in the office: A Guide to Guides

Cross-reference that those on List N with disinfectants that either have obtained the EPA’s “Design for the Environment Logo for Antimicrobial Pesticides,” or have earned a “B” grade or better from the Environmental Working Group.

Power of Positivity: Study Reveals Too Much Cleaning As Dangerous As Smoking a Pack of Cigarettes Per Day

When you go shopping for cleaners, make sure to check out the Environmental Working Group’s app or articles that list healthy cleaners and alternatives to harmful ones.

Cosmetics – Skin Deep 

Dr. Greene: What to Do About Chemicals in Pregnant Women: Toothpaste matters

Dr. Greene has volunteered for the Environmental Working Group on a number of projects, including “Body Burden — The Pollution in Newborns” where we found an average of 200 industrial chemicals in babies at birth.

Earth911: Breathe Easy: Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

There are also numerous Environmental Working Group-verified personal care products — including Attitude natural shampooconditionerbody cream, and body washBig Green Pregnancy Tummy Oil; and Whamisa Organic Flowers Skin Toner — that are free of concerning chemicals.

EWG VERIFIED™

Elle: This Ethically Made Frizz-Nixing Hair-Care Duo Costs Less Than $16

Besides Herbal Essences being recognized by PETA as a cruelty-free brand, its sulfate-free shampoos are the first drugstore-brand shampoos to meet the standards of the independent Environmental Working Group.

Allergic Living: Allergic Living’s 2020 Top Allergy-Friendly Sunscreens List

This EWG-verified formula is fragrance-free and employs natural sunscreen ingredients such as non-nano zinc oxide.

Editorials 360: Breathe Simple: Cut Back Indoor Air Air Pollution

There are additionally quite a few Environmental Working Group-verified private care merchandise — together with Angle pure shampoo, conditioner, physique cream, and physique wash; Huge Inexperienced Being pregnant Tummy Oil; and Whamisa Natural Flowers Pores and skin Toner — which are freed from regarding chemical compounds.

Happy Grey Lucky: 10 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Environmental Impact Today

They are EWG certified to meet the Environmental Working Group’s standards on ingredient selection, transparency, and manufacturing. (Side note – if you haven’t heard about EWG they are such a GREAT place to start with checking out how good the products you are using are for your health and the environment.)

Longevity: Why And What Toxic Beauty Products Are Damaging Your Health

Revlon has just become the first global brand to put an EWG VERIFIED™ cosmetic product on the market for mass retailers. 

Farm Subsidies Database

Deborah News (Iowa): Letter to the Editor: Why Are We Paying Large Farm Subsidies?

“Farming subsidies in Winneshiek County totaled over 231 million dollars from 1995-2019, according to EWG’s farm subsidy database.

Tribune India: A case to make MSP legal right of farmers

As per the non-profit, Environmental Working Group (EWG), the US has given a subsidy of $47.8 billion to wheat growers between 1995 and 2019 (there are 29 heads under which these subsidies on wheat were given, a few of these may have discontinued now).

Mapping Cover Crops Report

The Gazette (Iowa): Drones for farming? High-tech gadgets could save farmers money and time in tough economy

Iowa had 907,000 acres planted in cover crops over the 2017-2018 winter season, or about 3.9 percent of all farmed acres, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group’s 2017 cover crop study of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Nolte Family Irrigation Project

Star Tribune: DNR: No impact study needed for potato irrigation project in Minnesota’s Pineland Sands area

The Environmental Working Group, a tax-exempt nonprofit with headquarters in Washington, D.C., is evaluating whether to appeal, said Jamie Konopacky, the organization’s Midwest director.

PFAS Military Map

Bloomberg Law: INSIGHT: DOD Must Do More to Address PFAS Pollution

Vietnam Veterans of America’s Rebecca Patterson and Environmental Working Group’s Scott Faber say Congress needs to help accelerate the cleanup of legacy PFAS contamination in installations and reduce ongoing exposures.

The Guardian (U.K.): US moves to exempt companies from reporting harmful chemical releases

Earthjustice joined a coalition of groups including the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, Clean Water Action, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Environmental Working Group and the Natural Resources Defense Council in opposing the rule.

Water Online: Environmentalists ‘Shocked’ By PFAS Cleanup Pushback From Water Utilities

“I continue to be shocked that people charged with keeping our water clean have been among the most vocal opponents of getting PFAS out of our water, and are in many respect just as bad as many of the polluters whose mess they are charged with cleaning up,” Scott Faber, a representative of the nonprofit advocacy group Environmental Working Group, told Bloomberg Law.

Seafood Guide

GreenMedInfo: 5 Top Anxiety-Relieving Foods

he Environmental Working Group (EWG) has produced a useful guide to choosing the most nutritious and clean fish from sustainable sources, including a calculator to help you customize portion sizes for optimal nutrition while minimizing negative impact on the planet.

Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce

Bark: Can Dogs Eat Carrots? Super Foods for Dogs

Also, organic carrots are best; while they’re not on the Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” list, as root vegetables, they can have a high pesticide residue. (For more on produce pesticide loads, take a look at the EWG’s 2020 shopper’s guide.)

Before It’s News: Low-Cost, Easy Ways To Cleanse Your Liver

Visit the Environmental Working Group website at EWG.org and search for the Dirty Dozen. This is a list of 12 of the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticides and chemicals.

Dr. Greene: Organic Buying Power

The Environmental Working Group has created a tool they call the Shopper’s Guide, that you can use when shopping. It’s a convenient wallet-size guide that you can download from both www.foodnews.org.

LiveKindly: Is Meat Destroying the Planet?

According to the Environmental Working Group, this is because lambs produce less edible meat than cows.

MindBodyGreen: 5 Things That Are Seriously Messing With Your Gut — And What You Can Do

And in recent tests by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), glyphosate was found in 21 popular oat-based cereal and snack products.

The Spruce Eats: The 9 Best Keto Meal Delivery Services of 2020

The vegetables used are mostly organic, and the company follows the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen guidelines.

Northwoods Star Journal (Wis.): Beyond COVID-19: Health and immunity

Eating a diet rich in organic vegetables and fruits (check outwww.ewg.org for the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen), organic meats and poultry, wild game, wild caught fish, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds will decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, as well as combat inflammation.

Stone Pier Press: We’ve got the beans, now let’s enjoy them

When buying canned beans, I try to avoid the cans with BPA lining (check the label) since it can leach into the food and has been associated with altered brain and nervous system development and changes in the reproductive system, according to the Environmental Working Group

Sunscreens

InStyle: Only 25% of Sunscreens Do Not Contain Controversial Ingredients, According to One Study

The Environmental Working Group‘s 14th annual Guide to Sunscreen study revealed that researchers rating the safety and efficiency of over 1,300 SPF products, including sunscreens, lip balms, and moisturizers, found that only 25% of these products provided adequate protection and did not contain controversial ingredients like oxybenzone.

Advice Sisters: Natural Safe Sunscreens You May Not Have Tried Yet — But You Should

However, according to the Environmental Working Group natural safe sunscreens with mineral active ingredients zinc dioxide and titanium dioxide are what they suggest, because these are the only two ingredients the FDA recognized as safe or effective in their proposed draft rules.

All The Pretty Birds: The EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens for 2020

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) – the ones we turn to for our Dirty Dozen List – create an annual guide to sunscreens to help us navigate the overcrowded sunscreen market. 

Blonde and Ambitious: Natural + Cruelty-Free Sunscreen List for Adults + Children

Eco-Friendly: GMO-free, EWG top rated – Perfect for sensitive skin or skin allergies, this coconut sunscreen is a gentle, mineral-based blend has UVA/UVB protection and is alcohol-free.

Contemporary Clinic: Updates to the EWG Sunscreens Guide and Sun Care

Contemporary Clinic® spoke with Carla Burns, research and database analyst at Environmental Working Group (EWG) about the EWG Sunscreen Guide and sun care.

Gilmore Health News: Chemicals Used in Sunscreens Found in the Bloodstream After Just a Single Application

This compound, which is used in sun creams as an ultraviolet filter and is suspected of being an endocrine disrupter, “was absorbed by the body in concentrations 50 to 100 times higher than those of the other three chemical compounds,” David Andrews, a researcher at the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Tap Water Database

Environmental Defense Fund: Revised national standard tightens lead leaching limits for new drinking water fixtures

A driving force for this change was legislation introduced by California Assembly Member Chris Holden, cosponsored by EDF and Environmental Working Group, with productive and collaborative engagement from PMI and NSF International.

Share CareWhat’s in Your Tap Water?

And check out the Environmental Working Group’s tap water database and guide to home filtration systems.

TreeHugger: A Tour of my Zero Waste Kitchen

Even though NYC is famous for its tasty drinking water, mine always leaned toward pond-meets-public-pool – and when I checked the water utility that serves us at the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Tap Water Database, I saw why. So. Many. Pollutants.

4WWL (New Orleans): Is Louisiana, New Orleans doing enough about ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water?

In January, the Environmental Working Group, a national nonproft of scientists dedicated to environmental protection, took samples from 44 drinking water systems around the country.

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