Talk:Environmental Working Group

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Neutrality Flag Discussion, July 2016[edit]

The Environmental Working Group is a hugely controversial organization, which is by no means mainstream. However, the Wikipedia entry for the page talks about EWG as an organization entirely without controversy. There needs to be clear unambiguous language in the page for EWG that mentions this.

First several articles that came up when I searched for "ewg junk science" in Google: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Digizen (talk) 20:03, 4 July 2016 (UTC)


63.167.255.231[edit]

I'm impressed that EWG has an active member currently working in the Department of Homeland Security. Frankie (12 July 2006)

A cryptic comment. If I understand what you are saying correctly, Wikipedia contribs, incl to this article, are coming unlogged-in from a DOHS-owned IP address, but why say "EWG has...a member" rather than "Wikipedia has a contributor or contributors"? Andyvphil 14:51, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
A very valid point Andyvphil, was thinking the same. Plus, Frankie, since you haven't extracted the relevant line, I scrolled through the first 50 listings, and didn't see the relevant one (could have missed it, didn't search). Well, here is their list of putative employees, and it comes with fairly detailed bios, how about you tell us who's the putative mole. Jergas (talk) 14:43, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

controversy, funding (by Bill Moyers)[edit]

Ran across the EWG in its tiff with John Stossel, and installed a link to this article from his Wikipedia article. Here's a couple links to some critical comments and info about funding that may be useful in filling out the picture:[6][7] Andyvphil 14:51, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Both links broken here, Andyvphil. Leprof 7272 (talk) 01:53, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Additions, copyedits, External links, refs[edit]

  • Added information about each of the org's project areas, w/external links and refs where relevant
  • Cleaned up sentence structure, punctuation, grammar
  • Moved the bit about Bill Moyers from the intro to the section on funding
  • Added a wikilink to GuideStar (organizations don't generally offer their 990s on their own sites)
  • Removed the bit labeled "Criticism of Al Gore", which had no references and, as far as I can tell, wasn't a criticism or controversial (unless it's controversial to criticize Al Gore). I'd be happy to have it re-added if someone knows of references for it. Ahanley98 (talk) 14:59, 9 April 2008 (UTC)


Today's 10am(ish) ip-logged edits are mine. I removed the section on accomplishments, added the category Current Projects and subheads (and some citations and external links, although the farm bill section needs citations -- workin' on it). I also moved the section about funding below critiques and controversies, although I'd be happy to have it go above both that and current projects. I'd like to remove the section on other issues/projects -- it's true and verifiable, but it's also all available on the org's website, so I'm not sure it's relevant. Leaving it for now.Ahanley98 (talk) 14:11, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Fixed the hardrock mining act link, and removed this bit about the Florence and John Schumann Foundation since they do not fund the org. Ahanley98 (talk) 15:58, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
"One of its funders is the Florence and John Schumann Foundation, headed by Bill Moyers.[8][9]"
The first reference you deleted does seem to have Moyers saying "as a matter of disclosure, the foundation I serve made a small grant to Mr. Cook's organization a few years ago" and the second supports it. Did you perhaps mean that the foundation has not recently supported EWG? ComputerGeezer (talk) 02:33, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

Founding Date for EWG[edit]

A proof-reading detail, only. The Wikipedia article on EWG lists its founding date as 1992, yet the first paragraph states, "Founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles, EWG is headquartered in Washington, D.C...." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_Working_Group Alphaa10 (talk) 05:02, 24 June 2012 (UTC)

Stubbing in Controversy section[edit]

For this article to be balanced, the cases where activities and reports of the EWG need to be stated and cited. I have stubbed in a short section, so others can expand as further citations come to editor's attention. Leprof 7272 (talk) 01:52, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, this does not make grammatical sense. Please elucidate. In the absence of any ongoing discussion I have removed the tag. -Wormcast (talk) 17:35, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

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Regarding adding of a criticism section for the article[edit]

Hello all, fairly fresh WP user, please be gentle.

Anyway, I feel that there is a fair bit of literature which shall not fit into any existing section bringing aspects of the EWG into question.

For instance, the article titled 'Environmental Working Group: A Scare A Day' criticizing the group for providing claims without evidence to back it up, and fear mongering.

Furthermore, the study 'Dietary Exposure to Pesticide Residues from Commodities Alleged to Contain the Highest Contamination Levels' brings to question the validity of the 'dirty dozen' list made by the group, and says that "the methodology used by the environmental advocacy group to rank commodities with respect to pesticide risks lacks scientific credibility".

--Ini7 (talk) 07:45, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Criticism sections are, at best, un-ideal; see Wikipedia:criticism for more on that. And the criticism that we already have in the article is problematic. The criticism of their cosmetic comments is from two self-published sources, which are things to be avoided in the general case. The material on the spraying which currently says that their claim has been "dismissed by scientists", when between the two sources given there is actually just one scientist, and the second source used is his blog and again faces the WP:SPS problem. --Nat Gertler (talk) 14:47, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
NatGertler, I feel that by dismissing Ini7's viewpoint, you've caused harm in several places. First, I think the user had a perfectly concern, and you dismissed his concern out of hand by using a technicality. Yes, the criticism section may or may not be appropriate, but that doesn't change the fact that the article on Wikipedia as written is not just one-sided but dangerously wrong. If you do a cursory look on the internet (try "ewg criticism") you will find tons and tons of sources chiming regarding the credibility (or lack thereof) of the organization. Second, by dismissing the concern, you caused harm to anyone looking up this organization on Wikipedia and assuming, as I did, that it was an upstanding legit non-profit, which, if you read the criticism, is far from the truth. --Digizen (talk) 22:35, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
I have zero problem with properly-sourced critical material being integrated into the article, and I made no statement otherwise. I don't think concern over the quality of sourcing is a "technicality", particularly when it comes to critical material. The article actually still does contain material that @Ini7: added. --Nat Gertler (talk) 23:04, 4 July 2016 (UTC)
Yep, just found the reference from Ini7. Let me apologize for the tone of my initial response to you, I thought you were nitpicking the concerns of someone who had a valid reason to gripe. I still strongly believe that the article needs to be adjusted to account for the fact that the organization is highly controversial. Where would you suggest this be done? Should I go ahead a put a blurb about the controversy in the main description of the group?
Criticism should not be put in the introduction unless it's in the body of the article. Appropriately-sourced criticism of individual campaigns/reports/whatever of theirs should be integrated into discussion of those campaigns/reports, rather than in a separate criticism section. Overall criticism of the group is a little trickier, we don't have much of a general history of the group where this could be integrated. If you can find folks covering the criticism who are not engaging in the criticism themselves, that actually gives some opportunity for a criticism section under WP:CORG, or better a general reactions section, where it might be integrated with any praise that the group receives.
Thank you for the apology. We're good. --Nat Gertler (talk) 00:17, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
So I found a couple of articles where the criticism is sourced from other people. In other words, in several articles, various people and agencies are quoted as saying that EWG is problematic. Does this count as covering criticism without engaging in the criticism? Examples: [10], [11], [12].
On the whole, all the articles I've found are negative towards the organization, I haven't found anyone that wants to say nice things unfortunately. --Digizen (talk) 17:55, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
WP:Criticism is an essay, not a WP policy or guideline. It's not binding. It says:
This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
Sometimes criticism sections fit into an article, sometimes they don't. A criticism section can be appropriate if there are general criticisms of the organization, e.g., if scientists have general criticisms about their methodology. If an article is predominantly favorable and non-critical, I think a criticism section can be appropriate to balance it out. --Nbauman (talk) 05:41, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

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