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A Disturbing Legacy

| Tuesday June 5th, 2007 | 1 Comment

By Michelle Miller

Kenneth Cook, President of EWG has a story to tell. One would never guess that the man responsible for coming up with the catchy moniker, Environmental Working Group would within minutes of beginning his story, have us on the edge of our seats, begging for more clues. His engaging story, which he’s been telling for a year or so, unfolded before a group at The Presidio’s Thoreau Center for Sustainability last Friday, as part of a larger effort to pass the Kid Safe Chemicals Act. KSCA, first introduced to Congress in 2005 would pick up on the 30+ years of environmental legislative slack by requiring chemical manufacturers to provide health and safety information on chemicals used in consumer products like baby bottles and food wrap instead of presuming a substance is safe until proven dangerous.

10 Americans is the story of environmental legacy and heritage, of evolution, revolution and degradation; specifically man’s unique ability to foul his own environment on the most fundamental of levels. We got to know the 10 Americans through the research project, BodyBurden. They were chosen at random by the American Red Cross, over a period of 4 weeks in later 2004. The subjects’ blood samples, identified only by birth date, were tested at the same time, at a testing cost of $10,000 per subject. The tests, looking for a possible 413 toxic chemicals found 287; 212 of those had been banned more than 30 years ago, and the average was 200 toxic chemicals per subject. The results indicated exposure to carcinogens, and risks associated with developmental progress and disease of neurological, pulmonary, endocrine, reproductive and cognitive systems. Considering the average woman uses 12 personal products per day, exposing herself to a mean of 168 chemicals, the test results were not so surprising; that is until one other fact is revealed. That is the blood samples were umbilical cord blood, taken at the birth of each of the full term, ‚Äòhealthy’ subjects. Industrial pollution begins in the womb.

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