Farm Press Blog

EWG resorts to begging for cash online

  • Environmental Working Group panhandling for dollars online. Could EWG be running out of cash because people have become fed up with propaganda? Phony science challenging childhood vaccines should be last straw for this kind of activism.

Rather than getting angry at the latest Environmental Working Group (EWG) propaganda, I chuckled with the most recent example from Ken Cook’s nettlesome group.

Cook is EWG president and now he has resorted to panhandling to raise money for EWG to continue spewing its stream of misinformation.

When I saw an EWG email seeking $41,430 to reach a $120,000 “research” project goal and “push back against Big Ag,” it conjured up a vision of a street corner beggar holding up a cardboard sign pleading for money.

Pleading for $41,430 from such a powerful, self-anointed “environmental watchdog” group that boasts of 1.2 million supporters?

A day later, another plea went out for $18,762 to meet the $41,430 goal. Just 1,820 kick in $10 per head to continue “research that Big Ag is so scared of,” Cook pleads. “As a thank you, we'll send you a free Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce bag tag.” Wow what a premium. Toting that into the local supermarket produce section would be a big hit.

Begging for pennies online when it has boasted in the past of dragging in $6 million a year from foundations and individuals sounds like EWG may be up against the wall financially after years of fear mongering and false and misleading claims about everything from cosmetics to water.

Consumers and industry are tired of it and are fighting back. The Alliance for Food and Farming has pushed back hard against the so called EWG’s Dirty Dozen list of pesticide tainted fruits and vegetables. The alliance convened an expert panel with scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency, UC Davis, the University of Michigan, the University of Kansas, and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, which wrote that the EWG’s report “is misleading to consumers in that it is based only upon exposure data while remaining silent about available information on the assessment of the toxicity of pesticides.”

For years, EWG’s Dirty Dozen received widespread media exposure while agriculture scrambled to counter it. Now with agriculture united behind the alliance and responding quickly to the annual EWG publicity stunt, the radical environmental group does not get the play it once did.

Scientists say that this EWG list is actually misleading to consumers and should not be used when making purchasing decisions about fruits and vegetables, counters the alliance. 79 percent of toxicologists surveyed say that the EWG is guilty of over-estimating risk to consumers.

Cook’s meddling in childhood vaccines has gone beyond environmental whackoism. He claimed a conspiracy theory that vaccines have led to a spike in autism. The vaccine-autism scare is totally bogus, according to

There’s a good chance that Cook’s fear mongering has led to actual damage; there have been outbreaks of measles and other diseases as a result of the vaccine/autism scam. EWG is literally putting children at risk of devastating childhood illnesses by propagating this phony science. That borders on criminal.

One can only guess how much damage EWG’s campaign against sun screen has done — how many will forego UV-blockers because the EWG has confused them on the issues?

Those street corner beggars are often scam artist, just like Cook and his EWG.

For more on EWG distortions, see:

Twelve reasons to reject EWG’s Dirty Dozen

EWG Dirty Dozen list lacks scientific validity

Farmers frustrated at EWG distortion of food facts

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

K. Buhl (not verified)
on Jul 11, 2012

I didn't know that the same individual behind EWG was also involved in the vaccine-Autism debacle, too. Wow.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 21, 2012

I've never read such a biased article in my life. In theory of knowledge classes we are taught to look at different perspectives but you sir or madam, has given me the impression of someone very closed-minded. Either that or you are part of an organisation who is suffering from environmental activist movements. I acknowledge that EWG and other eco activist overexaggerate some statistics due to your reference but is it really right that companies aren't labelling all the ingrediants involved in making our toiletries, cleaning products, etc? Why should there be any good reason for companies to not tell us what substances we are being exposed to during our everyday lives? To your biased article I will telll you my biased opinion as the student chair of an eco committee in a Round Square school, which is that EWG is pressured by many orgs who do not want to lose profits, and in a time where EWG is about to fall they are still trying their very best to continue their research for the sake of the people and the environment. It comes to no harm for the people that they are publishing research in hopes to benefit the environment and the population and even if EWG has got their statistics right we still, as consumers have the right to know about the risks. I think that the org are very brave and are trying their best to stand up for themselves and, the fact that they are offering more guides as a thank you reflect their effort and dedication. It would be more suspicious if they offerred something they would need to pay for to give out, don't you think? Also I can think of no other reason of why you have written this article other than the fact that you have something against EWG. I mean your reference to the university study also claims the same thing for other eco activist groups. I have no sources beside my logic and common sense partly due to me typing on a mobile devive bu If I am wrong about you ,oh please do correct me.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 21, 2012

Why would EWG be scamming? Why would they lie about products? They are also qualified scientists and your argument is very one sided. Is there any harm letting people know about risks even if they are over-estimated? They do this for the environment and its very brabe of them I think to ask for donations and their thank you gifts reflect their committment and effort. If they offered something of monetary value than it really would be suspicious. And please provide me with a source to this thing about vaccines and autism. I thoroughly want to investigate the reliability of EWG. One more thing though, don't you agree that we have the right to know about what ingrediants are being put into our everyday products? I need some more perspective on this.

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