From Publishers Weekly
This is a chilling look at the questionable safety of nearly everything we store food in, drink from, wear, walk on, rest on and drive. Chemicals used to make everything from water-repellant jackets and flame retardants to unbreakable plastics used for food storage are building up in our bodies and the environment with possible far-reaching consequences, says journalist Baker. She focuses on endocrine disruptors that alter hormone levels, even in fetuses. Individual chapters consider the weed killer atrazine; phthalates found in many cosmetics; and perfluorooctanoic acid, used in nonstick and stain-repellant coatings. Lab studies have linked these chemicals to cancer, diabetes, obesity and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, among other problems. Baker blasts both Democrats and Republicans in Congress for the toothless Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which leaves testing and reporting results to the manufacturer. But the companies rely on skilled public relations firms to attack scientists who raise safety concerns. The current pro-business administration also takes some licks from Baker. Although she offers suggestions for reducing exposure to these chemicals, No place—and no one—is immune. (Aug. 12)
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Subsequent to reading a New York Times article about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new practice of periodically monitoring the number of chemicals in human blood, award-winning journalist Baker decided to have her own blood tested. That the CDC would even think to do this intrigued her. When her body burden analysis revealed that her blood had traces of more than three-dozen toxic chemicals, including two that had been banned more than 30 years ago, she knew why. Our bodies, she says, are becoming toxic chemical dumps, thanks to hollow government policies and toothless policing agencies that have little to no effect on a runaway chemical industry. In what ends up being a self-help book for curbing chemical poisoning, Baker profiles a half-dozen of the worst of the worst, explains chemical industry constraints that European countries and Canada are embracing (so far none are practiced in the U.S.), and concludes with suggested ways to limit or mitigate, though not eliminate, the damage. --Donna Chavez
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