Ken Cook, president and co-founder of Environmental Working Group, is widely recognized as one of the environmental community’s most prominent and effective critics of U.S. farm and food policy and a leading voice on federal chemicals and pesticides law.
Cook’s early work at EWG culminated in the landmark 1996 Food Quality Protection Act that for the first time required EPA to consider the dietary risks of pesticides in food on children’s health. In 2005, at Cook’s direction, EWG researchers discovered hundreds of industrial chemicals in umbilical cord blood that changed the debate over chemical exposures in people, proving contamination began in the womb. Armed with that and other ground-breaking research, Cook developed a critically acclaimed presentation titled 10 Americans to make the case for overhauling the nation’s main chemicals management law.
Under Cook, EWG’s break-through innovation has been the creation of easy-to-use, online consumer databases to analyze toxic pollution in people, government farm subsidies, nuclear waste transportation routes to Yucca Mountain, mining claims near the Grand Canyon, tap water quality nationwide and provide consumers with cosmetics ingredient safety information for 80,000 personal care products.
Cook earned a B.A. in history, B.S. in agriculture and M.S. in soil science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He and his wife Deb Callahan live in Marin County, California with their son, Callahan Cook.