Pick your Poison

Pick your Poison

How Our Mad Dash to Chemical Utopia Is Making Lab Rats of Us All

Book - 2011
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This book explains how the chemicals in everyday products are killing us, and what the government is not doing about it. Did you know that "non-toxic" usually means "never tested"? Or that many green cleaners may be good for the environment, but terrible for you? The author, a chemist and activist goes from under your sink into the halls of the powerful, tracing America's love affair with chemicals that kill, explaining how much worse the problem has gotten in the last decade. Shocking and appalling and completely reckless, that's how she describes the current prevalence of harmful chemicals in our everyday lives. Scientists have started linking our increased rates for cancer, autism, obesity, and asthma (among others) to chemical exposure and she points the finger directly at the companies and executives making millions of dollars by polluting our environment and introducing toxic chemicals to our bodies. She chronicles how everyday toxins get into our bodies and accumulate over time and provides us with inspiration to make changes at the checkout lines. She also explains that Americans are not nearly as well protected by our government as we might think we are. Unlike the European Union, the United States allows chemical companies to produce toxins for use in U.S. consumer products with little to no oversight. The book includes surprising explanations about the chemicals in furniture, detergents, paints, makeup, toys, spray cleaners, ionic air purifiers, art supplies, and more. It reveals how many eco-friendly products are good for the environment but bad for your health. It exposes the truth about government regulations, product testing, and labeling, including why terms such as "non-toxic" (which often means "never tested"), "hypoallergenic", and "FDA-approved" can be misleading. It also offers practical ways to reduce exposure and protect yourself and your family. The author advises consumers that If they are alarmed by the health risks of the many hazardous chemicals encountered at home, work, and school, they should get informed and learn the facts and find out what can be done about the daily onslaught of toxins that are making lab rats of us all. -- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc., [2011], ©2011.
ISBN: 9780470550915
Branch Call Number: 615.902/ROSSOL
Characteristics: xiv, 241 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.


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Jan 19, 2019

Objective and informative, sometimes even funny. I enjoyed reading of the author's background and experience at the beginning of the book; she experienced the extreme sexism that was common back in the day, but thankfully she was stubborn and persisted. The book is a little science heavy at times but I appreciate the science being there to back up claims of toxicity. Asks the question of whether all these toxins could be causing chronic conditions like autism but doesn't try to definitely answer that question. The book mainly shows proof that almost every manmade product we use or wear is toxic. Even some natural things can be toxic. Basic soap is the only safe thing. I appreciate that the author hardly cussed at all in the book. In the last two chapters, she offers suggestions about what we can do about all the toxins in our environment.

The only flaws with the book:
1. She didn't say which 25 states have public workers exempt from federal safety inspections.
2. The author seems to trust the CDC.

My favorite quotes from the book:

"Industry's argument that the increase in cancer and chronic disease are due to our living longer is bogus. Some of the fastest rising rates of cancer and chronic disease appear in children. Actually, people in the United States have shorter life expectancies than do citizens in approximately thirty other countries. . . . The majority of the hundred thousand chemicals we find in industrial and commercial products have never even had basic testing for chronic toxicity and carcinogenic effects. Industries don't want to spend the money for these basic tests and certainly will not embark on more complex tests such as the Duke pesticide study, especially when the results would only indict the industries themselves."

"We need to fix this by owning the fact that we let the corporations and the manufacturers introduce untested chemicals and provide misleading labeling. We let this happen because we collectively have an almost religious belief in free market capitalism. We bought the theory that if government regulators get out of the way, manufacturers will be free to create good products, make more profits, and provide us with more jobs, and all of that wealth the CEOs at the top make will trickle down to us. Only now are we learning that manufacturers discovered that they can make bigger profits by shipping our jobs to China. There, cheap products are made that repeatedly need replacing, so we spend more money buying new ones and jamming our landfills full. And that trickle down from the top is not money, it's pee. We also believed the corporate propaganda. We reasoned that companies wouldn't do these evil things because it would be bad for their image, and they might be sued for making hazardous products. In fact, though, CEOs are insulated from most product-liability lawsuits, and their corporations have resources and time on their side at trial. Chronic diseases take years to manifest themselves, and a long, long time is required to prove beyond doubt that a specific chemical has caused a particular individual's disease. Animal cancer tests take two years. Reproductive tests can run even longer. And memories are short."

sabinamarina Aug 12, 2014

listen to the author's interview with Leonard Lopate on WNYC, Tues Aug 12, 2014 for a sneak preview


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