In testimony before a Senate subcommittee, Ken Cook spoke passionately about 10 Americans who were found to have more than 200 synthetic chemicals in their blood.
The list included flame retardants, lead, stain removers, and pesticides the federal government had banned three decades ago. "Their chemical exposures did not come from the air they breathed, the water they drank, or the food they ate," said Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, a national advocacy group.
How did he know?
The 10 Americans were newborns. "Babies are coming into this world pre-polluted with toxic chemicals," he said.
More than 80,000 chemicals are in use today, and most have not been independently tested for safety, regulatory officials say.
Yet we come in contact with many every day - most notably, the bisphenol A in can linings and hard plastics, the flame retardants in couches, the nonstick coatings on cookware, the phthalates in personal care products, and the nonylphenols in detergents, shampoos, and paints.