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Study: Half of US Cosmetics Contain Toxic Chemicals

More than half the cosmetics sold in the United States and Canada are awash with a toxic industrial compound associated with serious health conditions, including cancer and reduced birth weight, according to a new study.  Researchers at the University of Notre Dame tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained fluorine — an indicator of PFAS, so-called “forever chemicals” that are used in nonstick frying pans, rugs and countless other consumer products.  Some of the highest PFAS levels were found in waterproof mascara (82%) and long-lasting lipstick (62%), according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Twenty-nine products with higher fluorine concentrations were tested further and found to contain between four and 13 specific PFAS, the study found. Only one item listed PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, as an ingredient on the label. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates cosmetics, said the agency does not comment on specific studies. The FDA said on its website that there have been few studies of the presence of the chemicals in cosmetics, and the ones that have been published generally found the concentration is at very low levels not likely to harm people, in the parts per billion level to the hundreds of parts per million. A fact sheet posted on the agency’s website says, “As the science on PFAS in cosmetics continues to advance, the FDA will continue to monitor” voluntary data submitted by industry as well as published research. But PFAS are an issue of increasing concern for lawmakers working to regulate their use in consumer products. The study results were announced as a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill to ban the use of PFAS in cosmetics and other beauty products.  The move to ban PFAS comes as Congress considers wide-ranging legislation to set a national drinking water standard for certain PFAS and clean up contaminated sites across the country, including military bases where high rates of PFAS have been discovered. “There is nothing safe and nothing good about PFAS,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who introduced the cosmetics bill with Republican Senator Susan Collins. “These chemicals are a menace hidden in plain sight that people literally display on their faces every day.” Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., talks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, June 15, 2021.Representative Debbie Dingell, a Democrat who has sponsored several PFAS-related bills in the House, said she has looked for PFAS in her own makeup and lipstick but could not tell whether they were present because the products were not properly labeled. “How do I know it doesn’t have PFAS?” she asked at a news conference Tuesday, referring to the eye makeup, foundation and lipstick she was wearing.  The Environmental Protection Agency is also moving to collect industry data on the uses and health risks of PFAS as it considers regulations to reduce potential risks caused by the chemicals. The Personal Care Products Council, a trade association representing the cosmetics industry, said in a statement that a small number of PFAS may be found as ingredients or at trace levels in products such as lotion, nail polish, eye makeup and foundation. The chemicals are used for product consistency and texture and subject to FDA safety requirements, said Alexandra Kowcz, the council’s chief scientist. “Our member companies take their responsibility for product safety and the trust families put in those products very seriously,” she said, adding that the group supports prohibition of certain PFAS from use in cosmetics. “Science and safety are the foundation for everything we do.”  But Graham Peaslee, a physics professor at Notre Dame and the principal investigator of the study, said the cosmetics pose an immediate and long-term risk. “PFAS is a persistent chemical. When it gets into the bloodstream, it stays there and accumulates,” Peaslee said. No specific companies were named in the study.  Environmental, health risksThe chemicals also pose the risk of environmental contamination associated with manufacturing and disposal, he said. The man-made compounds are used in countless products, including nonstick cookware, water-repellent sports gear, cosmetics and grease-resistant food packaging, along with firefighting foams. Public health studies on exposed populations have associated the chemicals with an array of health problems, including some cancers, weakened immunity and low birth weight. Widespread testing in recent years has found high levels of PFAS in many public water systems and military bases. Blumenthal, a former state attorney general and self-described “crusader” on behalf of consumers, said he does not use cosmetics. But speaking on behalf of millions of cosmetics users, he said they have a message for the industry: “We’ve trusted you and you betrayed us.” Brands that want to avoid likely government regulation should voluntarily go PFAS-free, Blumenthal said. “Aware and angry consumers are the most effective advocate” for change, he said. 
 

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People Hurt by Parachuting Protester at Euro 2020 Game

Several spectators were treated in the hospital for injuries caused by a protester who parachuted into the stadium before France played Germany at the European Championship, UEFA said Tuesday.Debris fell on the field and main grandstand, narrowly missing France coach Didier Deschamps, when the parachutist struck wires for an overhead camera attached to the stadium roof.The governing body of European soccer called it a “reckless and dangerous” act and said “law authorities will take the necessary action.””This inconsiderate act … caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital,” UEFA said.The incident happened just before the start of the Euro 2020 match between the last two World Cup champions. Deschamps was shown ducking into the team dugout to avoid falling debris.France won the match, 1-0.”We as the German soccer federation condemn it of course, because it wasn’t just him, but others that he endangered and injured. It’s unacceptable from our point of view,” German team spokesman Jens Grittner said. “And the incident is being checked by the police, the authorities here in Munich and at UEFA. But of course we also condemn what happened there. It could probably have turned out much worse.”The protester’s parachute had the slogan “KICK OUT OIL!” and “Greenpeace” written on it.He glided into the stadium and seemed to lose control after connecting with the wires. He veered away from the playing area toward the main grandstand and barely cleared the heads of spectators.The parachutist managed to land on the field and Germany players Antonio Rüdiger and Robin Gosens were the first to approach him. He was led away by security stewards and given medical attention on the side of the field.UEFA and one of its top-tier tournament sponsors, Russian state energy firm Gazprom, have previously been targeted by Greenpeace protests.In 2013, a Champions League game in Basel was disrupted when Greenpeace activists abseiled from the roof of the stadium to unfurl a banner protesting Russian oil and Gazprom, which sponsored the visiting team, German club Schalke.Greenpeace later donated money to a charity supported by Basel, which was fined by UEFA for the security lapse.UEFA defended its environmental credentials in Tuesday’s statement.”UEFA and its partners are fully committed to a sustainable Euro 2020 tournament,” UEFA said, “and many initiatives have been implemented to offset carbon emissions.”

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Biden in Geneva Ahead of Talks with Putin

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time Wednesday in Geneva amid deteriorating relations between the world powers. The meeting takes place in the final hours of Biden’s first trip abroad as president during which he has already attended the 47th G-7 summit in the English county of Cornwall, as well as talks with NATO and EU leaders in Brussels. An armored vehicle and a truck block roadway access to the Inter Continental hotel before the arrival of U.S. President Joe Biden, in Geneva, Switzerland, June 15, 2021.In an interview with NBC News, Putin said U.S.-Russia ties had deteriorated to their “lowest point in recent years.” The White House said Saturday that Biden would appear alone at a post-summit news conference, unlike former President Donald Trump who addressed reporters together with Putin following their 2018 summit in Helsinki. At that time, Trump contradicted his own intelligence agencies by saying he had no reason to doubt Putin’s assertion that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. FILE – U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018.”A solo press conference is the appropriate format to clearly communicate with the free press the topics that were raised in the meeting — both in terms of areas where we may agree and in areas where we have significant concerns,” a White House official said Saturday. Regarding expectations, a senior U.S. official told reporters Tuesday that Biden would elaborate. “We were going to let him speak to that when he concludes the meeting tomorrow. And the president will make clear that if we see significant types of cyber activity like we did with SolarWinds, he will respond like we did for SolarWinds.”  In April, Biden expelled 10 Russian diplomats and imposed new sanctions on six Russian technology companies that provide support to the cyber program run by Putin’s intelligence services linked to the hacking of the SolarWinds information technology company.   In May, two key U.S. businesses — Colonial Pipeline, which transports fuel in the southeastern U.S., and the JBS meat production company — were targeted in cyberattacks believed to have originated in Russia. Both Colonial and JBS paid millions of dollars in ransom demands to restore their business operations, although U.S. law enforcement officials have recovered some of the money Colonial paid. FILE – An Out of Service bag covers a gas pump as cars line up at a Circle K gas station near uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, May 11, 2021, following a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline, a major East Coast gasoline provider.The White House also said it expects the Biden-Putin meeting “to be candid and straightforward” and that Biden will bring up ransomware attacks originating in Russia, the Kremlin’s aggression toward Ukraine, the imprisonment of dissidents and other issues.  “Ransomware will be a significant topic of conversation,” a senior U.S. official said Tuesday. “They will also discuss the broader issue of cyber norms, cyber rules of the road tomorrow in the discussion.” Putin has rejected U.S. claims that Moscow and Russian hackers are carrying out debilitating cyberattacks on American companies and government agencies. The two leaders are also expected to cover strategic nuclear stability and souring relations between Russia and the West. VOA’s Patsy Widakuswara contributed to this report.
 

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Biden Picks Israel, Mexico, NATO Ambassadors

President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced his nominees to be ambassadors to Israel, Mexico and NATO, as he moves to strengthen U.S. alliances in tough regions. Among a slate of names announced by the White House on Tuesday were Thomas Nides, a Morgan Stanley vice chairman who served as a deputy secretary of state under former President Barack Obama, to serve as the ambassador to Israel. The close U.S. ally is welcoming a new government after Israel’s parliament ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister on Sunday. Biden also picked Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado and interior secretary, as his ambassador to Mexico. The country is one of the United States’ biggest trading partners and the Biden administration is working to manage immigration across the U.S.-Mexican border. He also chose security expert Julianne Smith to represent the United States on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a key Western bulwark against Russia. Biden and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are set to meet in Geneva on Wednesday at a time of increased tensions between the two powers. The White House also said Biden picked C. B. “Sully” Sullenberger to be an ambassador and serve as the U.S. representative on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Sullenberger rose to fame in 2009 after gliding his Airbus A320 to a safe landing on the Hudson River after hitting a flock of geese shortly after takeoff, in what became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.” He also joined Biden on the campaign trail when he was running for president. Biden also named his ambassador picks to Sri Lanka, Gambia, Guinea, Paraguay and Costa Rica. 
 

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Biden Administration Announces Plan to Admit More Central American Minors

The Biden administration said Tuesday it is expanding a program that will allow Central American minors to come to the United States legally, possibly making tens of thousands of young people newly eligible to enter the country, according to the Wall Street Journal. “It could be a substantial increase, and we hope it will be,” a senior administration official told the Los Angeles Times, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official added that up to 100,000 could become eligible under the modified plan. Started under the Obama administration in 2014, the Central American Minors program would cover those 21 and younger from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, from which the bulk of young asylum-seekers come. Former President Donald Trump ended the program in 2017, saying congressional approval was needed for such a measure. President Joe Biden reinstated it March 10. Before Trump ended the program, 1,450 children had been paroled into the U.S. with an additional 2,700 having been conditionally approved, the Journal reported. Previously, one way to take advantage of the program was for the young person to have a parent already living legally in the U.S., but Tuesday’s announcement opens the program to children who have a legal guardian in the U.S. or a parent waiting on a visa application or the adjudication of an asylum request. According to the Journal, the last two months have seen some decline in the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, falling from nearly 19,000 in March to 14,158 in May, still a record number. 
 

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«Показовий процес»: президент Радіо Вільна Європа – Радіо Свобода про суд над Лосиком у Білорусі

Джеймі Флай закликав до негайного звільнення Ігоря Лосика та «припинення систематичного переслідування журналістів білоруським режимом»

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Клуб «Шахтар» повідомив про створення жіночої команди

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Туреччина відкриє консульство в місті Шуша, відбитому Азербайджаном у Вірменії – Ердоган

МЗС Вірменії засудило поїздку Ердогана до Нагірного Карабаху, назвавши її «відвертою провокацією проти миру та безпеки в регіоні»