Category Archive: Environmental Working Group

How Dirty Are Your Fruits and Veggies?

Every year since 1995, Environmental Working Group activists publish a “Dirty Dozen” list of fruits and vegetables which contain the most pesticide residues. The list certainly sounds scary, and it generates a host of alarming headlines. But the good news is it doesn’t take much effort to expose the EWG’s weak science and fearmongering arguments. A peer-reviewed study that looked into the produce EWG continually criticizes as the “dirtiest” found that “all pesticide exposure estimates were well below established chronic reference doses.” A chronic reference dose is the maximum amount of a substance that humans can safely eat over a long period of...

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Shoppers Want Parabens – But Have No Idea What Parabens Are

In recent years, activist groups have spent millions of dollars convincing consumers that the chemicals lurking in their cosmetics pose an unreasonable risk to human health. The narrative isn’t true –as any elementary school science teacher can tell you, everything in the world is made of chemicals. And the vast majority of substances you encounter every day won’t hurt you. But do consumers see through the activist scaremongering? We decided to find out by gauging consumer opinions on parabens. Parabens are chemicals added to shampoos, lotions, makeups and other personal care products to prevent bacteria and fungus from calling your toiletries home. They’re...

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Today Is “Don’t Fry Day”

As the last weekday before the Memorial Day holiday, The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention dubbed today “Don’t Fry Day” to raise awareness for sun safety and encourage everyone to protect their skin. It’s a fitting holiday, since an estimated 5.6 million Americans will confront skin cancer in 2017. Unfortunately, the “all natural” movement puts millions more at risk by advocating against common sunscreens. While the chemophobic Environmental Working Group (EWG) frequently spouts scientifically unsupported nonsense, its 11th Annual Sunscreen Guide took things a step farther by claiming “There’s no proof that sunscreens prevent most skin cancer.” But the Food and...

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EWG Cries Racial Injustice Over Product Safety

Last week, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) once again stoked the flames of fear with pseudoscience. The group’s latest update to its Skin Deep Cosmetics Database identified 1 in 12 products marketed to African American women as being “highly hazardous,” with fewer than one fourth receiving a “low hazard” rating. Considering the average woman owns 40 different makeup products - a value that doesn’t even begin to consider hair, nail or body products - women have a lot riding on the safety of their cosmetics. African American women in particular account for up to 22% of the personal care products market, which suggests African American women devote...

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Throwback: Before Sanitation

We debunked the new EWG report yesterday on how chemicals are found in our bodies. It relied on scare tactics and shoddy science. But it also appealed to an implicit conviction: that manmade chemicals are everywhere and they’re bad for us. Of course chemicals are everywhere. But this isn’t inherently bad. In fact, it’s often a good thing, and denying that despite the evidence can be dangerous. With so many fearmongerers broadcasting distrust, we decided it’s time to remind people of the progress made through the discoveries of modern science. Last week we covered GMOs. This week’s focus is the greatest medical advance in 150 years: Sanitation. We often take...

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EWG: Fearmongering at its Finest

The Environmental Working Group’s new report on chemicals unleashed a firestorm of fear across the Internet today after announcing 420 carcinogenic chemicals had been found in humans. Reporters and bloggers further stoked fears by reposting, without properly analyzing, the sensationally titled “The Pollution in People: Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Americans’ Bodies.” Unsurprisingly, the report was skimpy on the science and loaded with shameless ploys to scare people. Since we expected this report would be bad news, our own Dr. Joe Perrone broke it down to help the public keep agenda-driven NGO’s, like EWG, accountable: Shock and Awe — The power of the report comes from...

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EWG’s Latest Glyphosate Flop

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) claims to fight for the public interest, yet rarely does so using solid science. A day after we laid out the facts on glyphosate, EWG was out in the media trying to keep people afraid of it. Claiming “a growing body of research” is linking the herbicide glyphosate (known by the brand name Round Up) to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, EWG failed to highlight that it really only found one study, from Sweden in 2008. One study is not significant. What is, though, is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have discounted some of the Swedish study’s conclusions due to its...

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National Academy of Sciences Mows Down GMO Scaremongering

Yesterday, the National Academy of Sciences released its long awaited report on genetically engineered foods. The conclusion of primary interest of the 420-page tome was to be expected based on the weight of scientific evidence: Genetically engineered foods are just as safe as non-genetically engineered foods. However, the Internet conspiracy theorists who malign GMOs haven’t been deterred by the wealth of science that already existed before this report, which has already led to statements from the World Health Organization, British Royal Society, and the American Medical Association saying, in so many words, that GMOs are just as safe as other foods....

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Your Produce Isn’t Covered in Pesticides

Every year, the activists with the Environmental Working Group put out their “Dirty Dozen” list of produce most covered in pesticides and “Shoppers’ Guide” to avoiding pesticides in food. The list certainly sounds scary, and it generates a host of alarming headlines. But the good news is it doesn’t take much effort to expose the EWG’s weak science and fearmongering arguments. The guide isn’t scientific— it’s neither a study, nor peer reviewed. (In this regard, the guide is just the latest in a procession of EWG releases masquerading as credible scientific research). In fact, a peer reviewed analysis demonstratively discredited the EWG list...

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Before You Give Up Canned Food, Read This

It’s been a big week for BPA news. First, Campell’s announced it was phasing out the use of BPA in its canned foods. Then several environmental activist groups released a report finding that over 60 percent of canned foods still use BPA. But before you start throwing out your canned goods over health fears, let’s break down the research. There’s a reason BPA is used in canned foods.  BPA is used in an incredible number of products, not just canned food. Because it’s so commonly used, BPA is one of the most studied chemicals on the planet, with tens of thousands of studies...

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