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Poisoned for Profit: How Toxins Are Making Our Children Chronically Ill
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 3, 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read several other books on the problem of corporations externalizing costs through environmentally bad behavior, and am familiar with the subject. So I was excited to come across this book. But the book falls far short of its potential because of how the authors framed things and because of factual errors.

The basic premise of this book seems to be that evil Republicans are killing the nation's children and we need to get behind the brave and noble Democrats to put a stop to it. The authors seem to filter their entire worldview through this lens.

No, I do not like the Republican wing of The Party (it really is evil). Nor do I like its Democrat wing (it is equally evil). No matter which wing is in power, we get the same corruption, wealth transfer to the wealthy, wars, debt, bureaucracy, trampling of freedoms, and currency devaluation. Only the rhetoric changes. The misbehavior is the same. And it's the same because these people work for the same employers.

I must point out that, even with its faults, this book contains some astute observations.

Three general comments

1. The authors tossed around figures about the cost of this or that (e.g., the economic cost of a drop of X number of IQ points). The figures were large and impressive, but the authors did not show their calculations or stipulate the assumptions on which the calculations were performed. Since the authors did not present a basis for these figures, all I can conclude is the figures are baseless.

2. Many quotes are judgment statements that appear without the context in which they were made. This kind of thing exists throughout the book, and it feels like an exercise in reader manipulation.

3. The authors will talk about something bad that's going on, and inject irrelevant comments. For example, they talk about how rundown Pottsfield is. Being rundown is not what caused the illnesses. The authors didn't need to embellish the tragedy of Pottsfield with this kind of irrelevant information.

Specific comments

On page 45, the authors state that, in many instances, "...the profits are privatized while the costs are socialized." This is an accurate assessment. In 2010, many people are upset about socialism. But they forget we've had socialism on the cost side since the 1870s. You may recall that, as President, Teddy Roosevelt went after the big timber companies that were stealing wood from our land. This same attitude of robbing the many to enrich the few persists today. And the same dynasties are behind it.

On page 87, the authors state that fruit juice is a healthy beverage. No, it is not. Ask any endocrinologist. You should never give a child (or an adult) fruit juice. There is extensive literature on this, and the point isn't even debatable.

One page 143, the authors appear to believe that fluoride is added to drinking water as a dental health measure and it succeeds as such. Wrong on both counts. It's a byproduct of making aluminum. That's right, it's an industrial waste product. So it's dumped into the water based on the lie that it makes teeth stronger.

While fluoride does bond with enamel when applied topically, it harms teeth from the inside out when ingested. Just read the warning label on any fluoridated toothpaste--why do you think it's there? Because fluoride is toxic when ingested. Or ask any dentist who treats people from heavily fluoridated areas. Here in the Kansas City metropolis, dentists can tell who lives out in western Kansas because those folks have tell-tale fluoride spots on their teeth (along with other problems). No, I'm not saying the 1950s idea that the Commies put fluoride into our water for mind control is true (we have television, so they didn't need to do that). I'm saying fluoride is not something you should be drinking. Look up "fluoridosis."

On page 157, the authors talk about the outsourcing of federal projects. This is a problem, and the authors are correct to deride this practice. The reason for the outsourcing is simply pork barrel spending and "job creation," both of which reduce total employment due to the opportunity costs involved in taking money from the productive sector and funneling it into overhead.

On page 159, the authors are wrong about arsenic testing. The reason the national testing requirement for it was dropped is it applied to areas that didn't have arsenic. As there is only so much money to go around, the arsenic tests were done instead of other tests for contaminants. So common sense dictated letting regional characteristics, not some federal bureaucrat, dictate how testing funds would be spent.

On page 214, the authors are wrong about Braidwood. I've actually been in the plant, and did some work on its feedwater system. I can tell you it's a pressurized water reactor. The reactor water doesn't leave the containment building. I don't know about the tritium the authors are so upset about, but if that is a problem it's because all nuclear generating plants store their waste onsite because the USA doesn't have a central waste depot and doesn't recycle via fusion reactors. Radioactive water isn't emanating from reactors by the millions of gallons the authors claim. It isn't doing so at all. Maybe there is some tritium leaking out (I don't know), but it certainly is not in the millions of gallons and it's not leaking from reactors.

On page 245, the authors have almost correctly identified the role of corporations in the USA. If you start connecting the dots, you see that a handful of corporations run the US government and nearly all members of CONgress are merely the paid employees of these corporations. This is why we had the 1860 war between the states, why The Party took over elections following the "Chinese problem" during Reconstruction, why Teddy Roosevelt was shot in the chest while delivering a speech against having a central bank, and why the USA presently has 24 aircraft carriers while the rest of the world combined has only 12. If these seem unrelated, look more closely.

Despite making this vital point on this page, the authors seem to forget it in the rest of the book. Instead, they repeatedly say "right-wing" and fixate on the horizontal axis of the political quadrant even though everything that matters is happening on the vertical axis.

On page 248, the authors talk about how angry millions of Americans are and that Obama's being president "did not soften that anger." Well, let's see. In his first 10 months in office, Obama heaped as much federal debt on our backs as GW Bush did in eight whole years. He also broke every campaign promise in his first 100 days. So, yeah, he didn't soften any anger.

On page 251, we see how the authors can't get their facts right about elections, politicians, and the Supreme Court. They errantly characterize a Supreme Court decision on campaign finance as opening the door for corporations to go on a spending spree. Read the Court's decision. That's not what it said or what it permits.

On page 254, the authors state what they believe the cause of the 2009 financial implosion was. They are partially right, but they leave out any mention of the primary drivers of that mess.

On page 255, the authors tell us they thought Obama would bring a fresh start to the nation. Let's see, now. We were staggering under record federal debt. While Obama was a senator, he voted FOR every spending measure that came before him. In fact, he had an F rating from the National Taxpayers Union. The only other things he voted for were criminal protection measures. For anything else, he simply refused to vote. This guy was going to get us going again financially? It probably doesn't help that he tapped an egregious tax cheat to head up the US Treasury.

On page 259, the authors make false claims about the cause(s) of obesity. There is only one cause: overeating. Whatever your situation (glands messed up, etc.), there is a limit to how many calories you can take in. Exceed it and your body stores fat. It's really that simple.

On page 269, the authors insinuate that locally grown is always better and more nutritious. Soil varies by locale. Some foods grown locally just are not nutritious for that reason. Also, there are water problems. The cost of bringing water to a desert region so you can grow apples there is enormous. And it brings on just the sort of pollution the authors (and I) are opposed to.

On page 277, the authors advocate homeopathy. This form of "medicine" has no basis in reality. Essentially, you keep diluting the medicine down until only the "essence" or some other voodoo variation of it is left. The whole concept defies logic. But if you need this kind of fantasy for therapeutic placebo effect it might be useful.

Overall, I think the way the message is presented undermines the message. The authors need to decide if they want to peddle their personal political alliance with a group that's backed by the very people they excoriate or if they want to get people onboard the movement to get these criminals to clean up their act and our environment. It's an A-B choice.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 18, 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book puts together excellent research on how the health of children (and adults, of course) is being harmed by environmental toxins. From autism and ADHD to asthma, allergies, cancer, and leukemia, childhood health problems are epidemic, fueled by corporate desires for profit at the expense of public health. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of these environmental hazards, and the authors provide some guidance into ways that parents can reduce the risks posed to their children as we deal with living in a toxic world. The rapid rise in these health issues is clearly documented in this book, and the authors present some case studies to show how this unfolds in families and communities across America.

This book details some of the examples of how this is happening, such as communities where industrial pollution has produced cancer clusters and parents who have discovered that vaccines are triggering autistic spectrum disorders. Also exposed is how the government and legal system have been corrupted to protect the corporations - and even institutions of faith have ignored the assault on our children's well-being even while some focus obsessively on protecting unborn fetuses from abortion. The authors seem to see this in some ways as a liberal vs conservative phenomenon, though in reality both sides of the political duopoly are involved in betraying the public's health and well-being. While the profit-focused capitalist system is exposed as fueling the problem, the idea that benevolent government regulation offers a solution misses the need for an underlying change in the structure of our society. As long as the control and accumulation of wealth are built into the society then government itself will be subject to corrupting influences. Public health and well-being (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) needs to be the foundation of the society in order for institutions to truly support those values.

The authors look for signs of hope and potential for change and progress. While there is evidence that some people are raising their consciousness about these issues, the authors seem to underestimate the power and cunning of the forces that are profiting from practices that poison us. They refer to the public being mobilized to fight global warming as an example of how people can be brought to face a challenge, yet the man-made global warming idea has been promoted and financed by many of the corporate and global finance interests who are the worst polluters and has been exposed as false science and a scheme to generate global taxes and control. The global warming fight has actually subverted real environmental and public health efforts since it diverts attention and resources to a misdirection. The authors also wrote this book at the time of Obama coming into the role of President of the USA, expressing optimism about a shift to progressive change with a new President. Unfortunately, Obama is subservient to the same interests that have controlled the government during his predecessors' administrations and many of the threats to our health have continued or expanded under his supposed leadership.

Thus, the authors are correct that public awareness and action are needed to bring about healthy change, but naive in some ways about the current prognosis for these changes to manifest. The majority of people in our society remain asleep and continue to use toxic products and let corrupt experts and leaders govern their lives. Ideally, many people will read books such as this and awaken - I would highly recommend that readers share this book and similar materials with family and friends. Yet, even when given this information many people will avoid taking responsibility or making changes, as many lack the courage or motivation to change the status quo.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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This book is an eye-opening expose of the growing amounts of toxins that we, especially our children, are being exposed to in daily life. Philip and Alice Shabecoff are journalists who became interested in children's health, and wondered why as many as 1 out of 3 American children is suffering from a chronic condition or disease. In this book, they trace the evidence that exposure to new chemical toxins is affecting our children's health, and how producers of those toxins and other responsible parties have been able to escape persecution, or even regulation. In the course of their investigation, they interviewed numerous parents whose children have been harmed by exposure to chemical such as TCE in groundwater or mercury exposure in vaccines. They also researched the regulatory agencies that were supposed to protect the health of the population, finding them headed by political appointees, chemical company lackeys. End material includes appendices covering how to reduce your child's risk, resources, and end notes with citations to sources.

I found this book extremely compelling and appalling in its content. I had been aware of parent suspicions that vaccines may cause autism, but had dismissed such claims as anecdotal. In this book, the Shabecoffs explain that those suspicions were probably well-founded, that the "small" amount of mercury used as a preservative in children's vaccines is not so small when multiple vaccinations are given, and can add up to a dose that is 30 times the "safe" level, resulting in catastrophic nervous system injury in genetically predisposed individuals. The Shabecoff's stories of how the military families were exposed to TCE in their drinking water while living on military bases and then forgotten are particularly chilling--people who chose to devote their lives to their country should not lose their children as a result. Reading this book spurred me to do some research about toxins on my own; I found some of the Shabecoff's discussions so disturbing as to be hard to believe, but when I checked the facts, their claims were confirmed, and the news is even worse in some cases. Indeed, house dust is no longer merely allergenic and unhygienic, but now, thanks to government flame retardant regulations, also carcinogenic and teratogenic. And every research project involving body burdens of flame retardants turns up new record levels of these toxins in blood and body tissues, indicating that our household exposure is rapidly increasing. And the increases are much faster and higher in the US than in Europe, since the chemical companies selling the products have more powerful connections to government here.

I found the appendix on ways to reduce risk the weakest part of the book. After such frightening documentation of the risks we are facing due to exposure to toxic chemicals, advice to parents such as "be loving and nurturing" seems a bit lame. The advice provided here seems almost like common sense, and sometimes not even consistent, such as when they advise consuming more omega 3s such as in fish products, and then in the next tidbit suggest checking favorite fish types for mercury content. How can parents protect their families from the very real hazards of the growing exposures to toxins? This requires some detailed, well-thought-out solutions, not just pat advice for little things you can do around the house. The enormity of the problem requires some real lifestyle changes as well as activist action. In any case, this book provides some extremely important information about toxins affecting our health, and every parent should read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 28, 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Have you wondered why there seems to be an epidemic of serious childhood diseases, like cancer, asthma and birth defects, in America? It has a lot to do with the huge increase, over the past 50 years, of toxic chemicals dumped into the environment. This book gives the details.

There are a number of towns all over the country, ranging from Dickson, TN to Pittsfield, MA to Toms River, NJ, suffering much higher than normal numbers of severe childhood Illnesses. Each town just happens to contain a large industrial plant that handles lots of toxic chemicals. Are the illnesses all "isolated instances" or "one of those things"?

The authors say that the CEOs of the major chemical companies are not evil people who deliberately want to poison innocent children, but profit is most important. It is very hard to prove absolutely that a particular case of asthma or cancer was caused by chemicals from a particular industrial plant, though the circumstantial evidence is pretty strong. The chemical companies use that uncertainty to delay the paying of any fines or cleanup costs.

Scientists-for-pay are willing to say what the chemical companies want them to say. The evidence is not conclusive, and that more study (read: delay) is needed. Washington is no help. Through lobbyists and campaign contributions, it has been made clear to members of Congress that bills to add new regulations are to be watered down or defeated. Only a few of the thousands of chemicals in the environment have been tested on people at all. Those tests have been very short-term, and have looked at adult exposure to chemicals. The level of toxicity for children and fetuses is much lower than for adults.

What can a parent do? If you plan on having children in the future, adopt a healthy lifestyle. Get proper amounts of vitamins and minerals, starting today (men and women). If you already have children, let them play outside and open the windows in your house for at least a few minutes a day (to let out any built-up toxins). Stay away from pesticides and dry cleaning, buy organic food as much as possible, buy furniture and flooring made from solid wood instead of particleboard(treated with formaldehyde). There are also plenty of websites to visit for safer alternatives to everyday items.

This book easily reaches the level of Wow. It is very easy to read, and is quite an eye-opener for all parents and parents-to-be. This is highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 3, 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm a mother to an almost two-year old boy and I had a very hard time reading this book. Imagine reading a newspaper that focused solely on horrible news and didn't have varying sections like sports, entertainment and best yet, the comics. This book is so doom and gloom that I could only take it in small doses. Before you say, "Duh! What did you expect?!" I want to say that I expected an informative eye-opening book, not a Everything-In-The-World-Will-Kill-Or-Severely-Damage-Your-Child book.

I consider myself fairly conscientious about eating organic, foregoing pest control in our house and never using dry cleaning. I would say I'm more into "natural" things than most but even so, according to this book, my son is doomed to get something bad since we drink city tap water, are up to date on his vaccinations and cook with pans coated in Teflon. It's just too much.

And the evidence presented is a little one sided as well. On the vaccines, the authors note how horrible thimerosal is and although the government has denied any connection between thimerosal and autism, the authors say animal studies give credence to the connection. They cited experiments with mice who had compromised immune systems who got sick once injected with the same amount of thimerosol typical to those found in vaccines. The mice then went on to display "autism-like symptoms" How do you gauge autism like symptoms in mice? Do they avoid eye contact? Do they lack typical social skills? The authors note that vaccines no longer contained thimerosal after 2001 however they did not mention that autism rates are still climbing despite thimerosal no longer being present.

Don't get me wrong, the book has many good points and it is true, there are too many toxins in our environment today. There were things that made me go "Oh, wow, that sounds horrible but it also sounds right." But the whole book concentrates on what's wrong. The solution is placed as an appendix. That should tell you what the book is focused on.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
On the second page of the book, Michelle Lalonde of the "Montreal Gazette" writes, "If you are a little worried about the effects of toxic pollution on your kids, but need to get a lot more worried before taking action, read 'Poisoned for Profit.'" That perfectly describes me--I was a little worried before I read this, and now I'm ready to take action!

The authors present their information as a legal case, with chapters entitled, "Inquest, Indictment, Victims, etc." They present real-life victims, legal battles, corporate records, and other evidence. The book reads very much like a lawyer's case. Sometimes it is weighed down in names and titles and legalese, but for the most part it is fascinating and very convincing--extremely well researched.

Appendix A offers practical, immediate solutions to reduce the risk of children in our own houses. Appendix B is a list for further reading.

Two of my kids have autistic tendencies. I remember a toy snake my son had when he was a baby... it felt greasy and smelled like gasoline, but he loved the rubbery floppiness of the toy. It was his favorite for years. He ate it's tail off. I was concerned at the time about the odor of the thing and the fact that it was often in his mouth, but I naively trusted that our government wouldn't allow the production of unsafe toys. I doubt that toy was the sole cause of his issues, but that and many other unsafe toys, vaccines, foods allowed and encouraged by our government in the name of economic progress appear to be the cause of his problems. How do I know? In the past two years I have increasingly been using the "biomedical" approach to treating him and our other autistic child. I have altered their diets and started using organic foods and "green" household products. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! They are being cured. If only this book would be taken seriously by all American citizens and our government, so many kids would be freed from the bondage of disease.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 11, 2010
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Avoiding toxins in today's environment is impossible. But this book helps us to reduce the amount we come into contact with by at least knowing where they would be most potent. Since children are affected more than adults, this avoidance is much more important for them.

By the time you finish reading you will be sure that passing government tests is not automatically a sign of being safe. Common sense and knowledge combined are necessary in the search for a healthy life for ourselves and our children. Whatever the public relations folks say, companies exist to make a profit and keeping the air and land safe from pollution comes a distant second to that.

We need more books like this, focusing on various elements of the whole. Poisoned water and poisoned air and poisoned food are all reasons for the massive increase in asthma and other problems among the young. Laws need to be passed and enforced limiting companies and making them responsible for their workers and the others they affect negatively by neglect or cutting corners in the quest for more profits.

Parents, teachers and folks interested in their health would all benefit from reading this book. It has a lot of information and is written to be read easily.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 20, 2010
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This is one of the scarier books I've read recently, and that's true in spite of the fact that my partner and I don't have any children or plan to have any. I shudder to think of what one generation of children after another is being subjected to. Unlike some other books I've seen, where a tedious catalog of issues eventually causes the reader's eyes to glaze over, the clear writing style together with a good mix of anecdotal chapters interspersed with the scientific evidence makes this a highly readable book. I was pleased to see that the authors avoid jumping on the anti-vaccine bandwagon (the net effect of vaccination has, after all, been hugely positive, whatever the dangers may be); they do advise against thimoseral-containing vaccines, but this is safe advice, since this substance is now pretty much absent from childhood vaccines anyhow. Rather than ending up with the usual platitudes about "get informed and write your congressman," the book winds up with a most helpful section on how you actually can minimize hazards to your children and yourself. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood thriller. Big corporations conspire to get children sick through Frankenstein-like changes to the food supply that get them addicted to the food they're eating that then requires expensive prescription medications to help "cure" the illness that was brought on by the poisoned food to begin with. While this may sound like a horror flick, the fact is it IS happening in America right now and Philip and Alice Shabecoff are exposing this in their book POISONED FOR PROFIT. Written in chapters that are designed to lay out all the evidence of a prosecution against an indicted defendant, this book is a MUST-READ for anyone who thinks everything is just fine with our modern-day food culture. After you read this book, you'll become angry and want to take action to stop this madness before it gets any worse. You don't want to believe something like this could happen in America, but facts are facts. Is it a coincidence that our children are getting sicker while Big Food and Big Pharma gets richer? I think not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 15, 2010
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This book should be read by everyone, not just parents or those worried about toxins effecting children. The book details how our country has been steadily poisoned by big industries. The information is truly horrifying. Especially salient is learning how children and unborn fetuses are most effected by toxins. I learned so much from this book, and it makes you realize how important it is to know the water quality and air pollution risks of where you live. The book pointed me to a ultra useful tool on the EPA website where you can track toxin releases by state and county. If you care about your health, you must read this book. It is also an engaging, compelling non fiction piece, it is never dry and boring. Vignettes about real people, parents and communities, and the horrors they have gone through, brings the material to life. Excellent, excellent book.
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