Category Archive: EPA

E15 Fuel: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Trump Administration recently decided to allow gasoline stations to sell E15 – which is shorthand for gasoline with a 15 percent blend of ethanol – to be sold year-round. Right now, most gasoline sold in the U.S. is E10, or a 10 percent ethanol blend. As a biofuel, ethanol is praised for its environmental friendliness for reducing the use of fossil fuels, but that praise comes with a few caveats. Older vehicles can’t use E15 without risking corrosion and engine failure. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-commissioned emissions testing also indicates that some vehicles that are able to pass emissions standards while running...

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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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Beat Unnecessary Warnings with…More Warnings?

Last week, a Los Angeles Times article posed the question: “Adding Roundup to Prop. 65 list is a victory, but will Californians heed the warning?” Adding Roundup, the popular weed killer powered by glyphosate, may have been a win for internet activists, but it was by no means a win for science. Government studies evaluating the entire body of well-performed research into glyphosate’s safety have unanimously concluded that the substance is not harmful to human health, and especially not at the levels which people are actually exposed to. After “an exhaustive process,” the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found glyphosate was unlikely to...

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The EPA’s Fast Five

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just named the first five substances it will fast-track towards risk evaluation. The substances are on the EPA’s radar due to indications that they may be persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. PBTs, as such a group of chemicals are called, don’t break down easily, and thus may be retained in the environment or in the bodies of organisms. An example of one such PBT is mercury. Aquatic microbes convert mercury into a compound called methylmercury which fish ingest but don’t excrete. Generally, fish-eaters like sharks, swordfish, and marlin have higher concentrations of mercury in their bodies because they take up methylmercury from the surrounding water,...

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EPA (sort of) Admits: Glyphosate Not Likely Carcinogen

A few days ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a report concluding glyphosate is unlikely carcinogenic to humans. The EPA pulled the report not long after, telling Reuters it was “because our assessment is not final”—  it had been published “inadvertently.”  Reuters noted, however, that the accompanying memo was labeled “Final.” The report is expected to be re-released by the end of 2016, but until then, here’s some info about glyphosate. What is glyphosate? Glyphosate, also known under the brand name Roundup, is an herbicide. Though used by some homeowners waging war on weeds, glyphosate is primarily used in agriculture. In particular, its used...

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Government Scientists are Squandering the Public’s Trust

Who do you trust to tell you whether the products you buy are safe? Bloggers like the Food Babe who crow about "yoga mat" chemicals in bread? Or federal environmental and health regulators who review scientific research and determine which products are safe for consumers? According to a recent ORC poll commissioned by the Center for Accountability in Science, respondents overwhelmingly placed the most faith in federal health and environmental regulatory agencies--ahead of environmental advocacy groups, university scientists, and the news media. But government agencies aren't always good arbiters of sound science, either. Last year, "60 Minutes" broke a shocking story: Lumber Liquidators, a discount...

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How Much is Too Much Fish for Pregnant Women?

By now, most people know that eating fish during pregnancy is an important way for women to consume enough Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy pregnancy. Since some types of fish contain high levels of mercury, which can counteract the health benefits of omega-3s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency’s draft guidance on mercury in fish advises pregnant women to choose seafood that’s both low in mercury and high in omega-3s. That’s sensible, science-based advice. Yet, the Environmental Working Group (the same group that wants you to think twice about using sunscreen) is taking issue with the...

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What’s causing the spike in asthma rates?

This year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to finalize new regulations tightening air quality standards for major pollutants like ozone. One of the main reasons why the EPA says we need these new rules is to reduce the number of cases of asthma. But are air pollution and asthma linked? Let’s look at the numbers. Here's a chart from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showing that ozone rates have fallen by 33 percent since 1980. Now let's look at asthma rates. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics has collected data on asthma since 1980, though...

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How to Improve Transparency at the EPA

Scientists rely on funding from a variety of sources, including government agencies, universities, industry, and foundations in order to research and publish their work. Rather than discounting or lauding new studies because of their funders, it makes much more sense to evaluate all research with the same critical eye and closely examine their study designs, data collection, findings, etc. That’s why two bills being considered in Congress that would expand the number of scientists reviewing EPA data are so important. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a panel of roughly 50 scientists on its Science Advisory Board (SAB), that review the...

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Does Air Pollution Actually Cause Childhood Asthma?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cites reduced childhood asthma rates as a justification for its air pollution rules. However, a new study from researchers with the John's Hopkins Children Center suggests that the link between outdoor air pollution and asthma doesn't exist. CAS's Chief Science Officer, Dr. Joseph Perrone, explains below what this means for EPA regulations in a new op-ed for The Hill. For years, environmentalists and regulators have cited childhood asthma as an excuse for ever-stricter pollution rules. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for instance, uses asthma as a pretext for nearly every “clean air” regulation issued since the...

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