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Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things Paperback – January 1, 2011
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Beware the smiling creature in your bathtub: it’s yellow, it squeaks, your kids love it, and it gets into your bloodstreamliterally.” High Country News
Undertaking a cheeky experiment in self-contamination, professional Canadian environmentalists Smith and Lourie expose themselves to hazardous everyday substances, then measure the consequences . . . Throughout, the duo weave scientific data and recent political history into an amusing but unnerving narrative, refusing to sugarcoat any of the data (though protection is possible, exposure is inevitable) while maintaining a welcome sense of humor.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Slow Death by Rubber Duck’s real achievement is in documenting how chemical giants stay a step ahead of regulators, and those revelations make the book a fascinating and frightening read.” The Week
Slow Death by Rubber Duck . . . isn’t just alarmist environmental shock and awe. It’s a thoughtful look at how pollution has shifted over the years from something tangible and transparent (industrial pollutants as the cause of acid rain) to something abstract and nuanced (BPA’s links to breast cancer). The challenges this change presents, as many of the world’s top scientists explain in these pages, should be of serious concern to us all.” O: The Oprah Magazine
Slow Death by Rubber Duck is hard-hitting in a way that turns your stomach and yet also instills hope for a future in which consumers make safer, more informed choices and push their governments to impose tougher regulations on the chemicals all around us.” The Washington Post
This is one scary book. Using a variety of test methods, the authors determined individual body burdens,’ or the toxic chemical load we carry. The innocuous rubber duck, for example, offers a poison soup of phthalates that permeate the environment and humans.’ From other products and food we also have a collection of chemicals shorthanded as PFCs, PFOAs, PSOSs, and PCBs. None of them are good, and they are everywhere, thanks to Teflon (which drew the largest administrative penalty against a company ever obtained by the EPA), Stainmaster, nonflammable pajamas, tuna (hello, mercury), and, would you believe, anti-bacterial products. The legacy of our chemically addicted society is not just all around us but also inside us and it is killing us, as the Teflon case proved. (Workers in West Virginia believed that having a high-paying job often meant getting sick,’ and many were reluctant to sue and possibly scare DuPont away.) Poised between chirpy green-living manuals and dense academic papers, Smith and Lourie have crafted a true guide for the thinking consumer. If readers don’t change their ways after reading this one, then they never will.” Colleen Mondor, Booklist
Fantastically importantan indispensable guide to surviving in an industrial age.” Tim Flannery, author of Now or Never and The Weather Makers
One of the most disturbing facts I’ve heard in the last few years is the new scientific evidence showing that Arctic people who rely on traditional dietsfish and marine mammalsare experiencing a world without baby boys. Well, not quitebut twice as many girls are being born, because male fetuses are weaker (you women knew this!), and baby boys cannot survive the level of PCBs, mercury and other toxins that find their final home in the Arctic. Slow Death by Rubber Duck tells the other end of this storyhow ordinary household products we consume here in the U.S. are the font of this toxic rain that falls on the Arcticbut that while the Arctic is the most distant victim of these poisons, we ourselves are the first.” Carl Pope, executive director, Sierra Club
This book is a powerful reminder that what we do to Mother Earth, we do to ourselves. Read it to see why we have to change the way we live and get off our destructive path.” David Suzuki, environmental activist and host of The Nature of Things
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Top Customer Reviews
What started out as a funny joke and dare between friends actually became an amazing project that will empower consumers. Two Canadian environmentalists exposed themselves to everyday products and watched the toxin levels in their body's skyrocket. Sadly, this experiment is something most of us do unknowingly every day. The authors show how our everyday exposures and product choices impact our toxin levels and health risks. Although I am still shocked by how common the toxins are, I was very encouraged to learn that many of them will leave the body in just a few days after reducing the exposure.
Despite the light title, this book is packed with intelligence insights, is backed by research and is fascinating to read. It will help you take actions that will measurably reduce your exposure to harmful toxins. Congratulations to the authors for turning this heavy topic around and pointing to a more positive and hopeful approach that is within our control.
Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, environmental activists from Canada, deliberately exposed themselves to some of the chemicals many of us use. For one week, they inhaled, absorbed or ingested a variety of products, and closely monitored their exposure levels using blood and urine analysis; the results made me gasp! Some chemicals showed heavy exposure after just 2 days.
The authors point out that ther are roughly 82,000 chemicals in use in the United States, and each year some 700 new ones are added to the mix. Of these, only 650 are monitored, and even more shocking only (5) have been banned! Even asbestos, a known cancer causing agent, is not banned. Many cancers have been linked to chemical exposure. In 2009 there were 1.5 million new cancer cases expected, and because our bodies "absorb like sponges", this all seems to make perfect sense. It is also believed that many childhood epidemics are due to chemical exposure: asthma, ADHD, autism, and reproductive disorders. It is further believed that certain childhood exposures can lead to adult onset of neurological diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinson's Disease.Read more ›
The book also discusses non stick cookware and the dangers of Teflon. Safe cookware is stainless steel, copper and cast iron. Even if you don't use Teflon fry pans, the same chemical is used in a tremendous amount of food packaging, including the inside of microwave popcorn bags.
Harmful chemicals are found in toys, electronics, makeup, shampoo, food and more.
If you have noticed an increase in cancers among children and adults, the book makes a correlation between the increase and the use of chemicals that is hard to ignore. Some groups link breast cancer, prostrate cancer, autism and a host of other health issues to the use of harmful chemicals in every day products.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Incredibly informative. Chock full of all those things "they" don't want you to find out.Published 3 months ago by Cowgirl Jane
Really great book! I read it right after I read "Not Just a Pretty Face".Published 6 months ago by Judith L. Griffin
Reader said the book was eye opening and helped bring them to really pay attention to their environmental exposures.Published 6 months ago by Blazer Rion
One of the best books I've read. The fact that the authors used themselves as guinea pigs, and even tested their parents' and children's blood for chemicals really impressed me... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Suzanne Lefebvre
Amusing title but the book has a serious theme: how we are being contaminated with the chemicals in plastic without our knowledge. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Melissa A. Young
This is a fun read that could keep your children healthier for years to come.Published 20 months ago by Zach B