John Kerry, Wife Take on Environmental Issues

ByABC News
April 8, 2007, 9:14 AM

April 8, 2007 — -- In January, 2004 Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and his wife Teresa decided against another White House run. Instead, the Kerrys are campaigning for the cause that first brought them together -- the environment. The couple's new book, "This Moment on Earth," highlights ordinary people from a New Mexico rancher to an artist raised in the South Bronx who are confronting the challenge. The couple is out to prove that environmentalism is not elitist.

"This Week"'s George Stephanopoulos met them at their Washington home.

John Kerry: The environment movement's been viewed by a lot of Americans as not being "about me." What this book tries to do is point out the ways in which it's about everybody and that it's not sort of a small group and some niche in some community where you have the time or the money to care about it. This is about everyday America. This is about moms and pops in North Carolina and Mississippi and places where people may be breathing bad air or getting sick from wells that are polluted or losing their fish in their lakes and their backyard playground because of what's happening.

Stephanopoulos: You've gone out and found individuals all across the country who've made this their fight. How did you find them?

Teresa Kerry: We've met a lot of people during the campaign, of course, in a variety of fields. I particularly, because of my interests, I was mostly in health, environment and health, cancer, et cetera, toxins, water, as well as some green building spaces, indoor design, as well as outdoor, meaning indoor health, as well as outdoor health.

Stephanopoulos: And one of the women you've written about, Dr. Devra Davis.

Teresa Kerry: Devra Davis.

Stephanopoulos: In Pittsburgh. She found that these kind of everyday products [nail polish, personal and hair care products] may be causing cancer.

Teresa Kerry: Those things are bad for you and everyone will say, in defense of their product, "Well, it's not the main ingredient. It's not the active ingredient. It's just an additive."

Well, if you think of, say, 50 or 100 products that one may use in a week and they all have a little bit, what does that cocktail do to Jenny versus to Max versus to Linda?

John Kerry: There's a study that we wrote about, George, in the book, Teresa actually, in her chapter, wrote about it, about children and their blood was tested during pregnancy and then at birth.

During pregnancy, they found as many as 400 trace chemicals in their blood and at birth about 200 body burden chemicals, including things from fire retardants and other kinds of things that they've come in contact with.

John Kerry: The important thing is not to get bogged down into one particular ingredient like this or something but to look at the big picture, which is what we're trying to show in the book.

There are farming practices in America today that are killing fish and destroying rivers and lakes.

Example, there's a story we write about, a 67-year-old Marine, Rick Dove.

Stephanopoulos: Rick Dove, North Carolina.

John Kerry: He's retired as a Marine, wanted to be out there fishing and suddenly, when he was there with his son, he bought three boats, they're out fishing.

Lo and behold, he develops sores, open sores. They begin to have memory loss. They see thousands of fish floating by them dead with the same kinds of sores. What was happening is the massive amounts of wastes from the confined animal farm operations, the hog farming, was pouring out into this water body and killing everything in it and people were getting sick from it. These individuals had to go fight.