Americans’ appetite for meat and dairy – billions of pounds a year from billions of animals – takes a toll on our health, the environment, climate and animal welfare. Producing all this meat and dairy requires large amounts of pesticides, chemical fertilizer, fuel, feed and water. It also generates greenhouse gases and large amounts of toxic manure and wastewater that pollute groundwater, rivers, streams and, ultimately, the ocean. In addition, eating large quantities of beef and processed meats increases your exposure to toxins and is linked to higher rates of health problems, including heart disease, cancer and obesity.
The chemical industry’s chief trade association, meanwhile, is urging the EPA to continue considering its wishes to keep information confidential so competitors won't learn about it. The chemical industry noted that there are “legitimate claims to safeguard intellectual property." The EPA's new steps towards disclosure offers the public more information about the potential dangers of chemicals used in many consumer products, from stain removers to non-stick materials, and is the latest in what the EPA describes as "unprecedented" steps towards transparency.
The California State Assembly has passed legislation sponsored by Environmental Working Group and Earthworks to require oil and natural gas drillers to make public a complete list of chemicals they use in oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations. The fracking issue has raised alarms in communities nationwide because some chemicals injected into the earth to break up rock formations and free oil and gas are known human carcinogens such as benzene, xylene, toluene and diesel fuel.
EWG President Ken Cook and several of the nation’s top physicians and scientists wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging them to no longer delay the release of the most recent test results. The letter also calls on the officials to bolster the government’s research into the adverse health effects of pesticides, particularly on children.
Laboratory tests commissioned by Environmental Working Group (EWG) have detected hexavalent chromium, the carcinogenic “Erin Brockovich chemical,” in tap water from 31 of 35 American cities. The highest levels were in Norman, Okla.; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Riverside, Calif. In all, water samples from 25 cities contained the toxic metal at concentrations above the safe maximum recently proposed by California regulators.