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Poisoned Nation: Pollution, Greed, and the Rise of Deadly Epidemics Hardcover – August 21, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This angry book aims to expose the conspiracy of corrupt politicians, negligent regulators and greedy industry leaders covering up the epidemic of poisoned food, water and air that, the author claims, is filling our hospitals, killing our children and spreading cancer, birth defects, autism and leukemia. A veteran investigative journalist, Schwartz-Nobel (A Mother's Story) keeps the human element front and center by illustrating each pollutant with at least one heartbreaking anecdote. Although many of the pollutants the author denounces are proven poisons, others are only suspicious and several may be innocent. Moreover, it's often not clear from the evidence cited in the book whether a specific toxin was responsible, though the victim and the author have no doubt. Unfortunately, Schwartz-Nobel's apocalyptic tone and lack of skepticism weaken her case. She quotes scientists, but more often quotes other journalists, popular magazines, newspapers, victims groups, plaintiff lawyers and advocacy organizations like Washington Toxics Coalition and SafeMinds. No one refusing the join the bandwagon escapes her scorn, including pediatricians who express doubt that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism. Environmental pollution needs a champion, but this overheated polemic preaches to the choir. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Every microorganism and chemical that humans and animals consume or that is used to create consumable goods eventually gets into the so-called freshwater supply that we drink from and that irrigates the fields whose praises we sing and whose products nourish but, as Schwartz-Nobel points out, sometimes kills our children. At Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, several children of the marines stationed there died from acute lymphocytic leukemia, known to be caused by either radiation exposure or drinking contaminated water. Schwartz-Nobel learned that for years the military had dumped highly toxic chemicals into trenches within feet of the base's drinking-water wells. Elsewhere, crops including apples, potatoes, and spinach, raised on farms downstream from factories, test positive for carcinogenic chemicals in toxic amounts. The same cosmetics industry that advocates for breast cancer research fails to research the carcinogenic effects of its own products. Schwartz-Nobel contends that the reason for all this neglect is moneymaking, and that our water supply's last, best hope depends on grassroots rebellion against government regulators in bed with big business. Chavez, Donna
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (August 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312327978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312327972
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,261,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By J. Higgins on September 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This slim book will probably be found in the "Health and Family" sections of bookstores, which traditionally cater to women readers, as well as perhaps the "Science and Technology" section of the store. The focus in Nobel's book is less on the scientific or technical aspects of environmental pollutants (such as, for example, Devra Davis's book "When Smoke Ran Like Water"). Rather, "Poisoned Nation" emphasizes the travails of people who have seen themselves or family members stricken with chronic diseases as a result of exposure to pollutants.

The initial chapter of the book deals with the role of trichloroethylene and other organic solvents in triggering leukemia clusters in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and perchlorate contamination of water in California communities and the spectrum of illnesses observed in the exposed populations. Successive chapters deal with perchlorate in foods; mercury as an airborne pollutant, and its role in the association between vaccinations and autism; and breast cancer in US women and the role of toxic compounds in the environment, and mammography-derived radiation, in causing this disease.

There are a number of vignettes in the book that personalize the victims, who too often tend to be represented as abstract 'cases' and 'controls' in the studies conducted by toxicologists and epidemiologists. It's hard to be unmoved when hearing the wrenching personal stories of those who suffer from cancers, developmental disorders, and other chronic diseases due to exposure to contaminants. Nobel is scathing in her condemnation of the corporations, and their political allies, who may be involved in causing these diseases as a result of the irresponsible deposition of toxics in water, air, and foods.
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Format: Hardcover
The previous reviewer did an excellent job of reviewing the book. As the mother of a child with autism, this is the first book I've found that pulls together the most important facts about the mercury/autism connection and the truth about vaccines that has been covered up to avoid a nationwide panic. As the author points out, shockingly, despite the known toxicity of mercury in the entire population, but especially the very young and the very old, the CDC is once again recommending flu shots for pregnant women and children and elders (at risk for Altzheimer's)WITHOUT making the distinction about those that contain thirmerosal (mercury) and those that do not. It is absolutely outreageous. Because I found her investigative reporting on this issue so accurate, I trust the equally disturbing information she reports on the nation's water supply and our losing battle with breast cancer and how corporate profit/government cost-saving/budget cuts trump safety, again and again and again.
I hope this book gets the attention it deserves and we see the author on Oprah, NPR, Bill Moyers, etc. She has done the nation a great service...too late for many who have buried their children and are struggling with pollution-caused illness, but it is never too late to do the right thing. Please read/share this book with others.
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excellent look at how we are poisoning our air, water & food...Also is an indictment of the Bush Administration's policies which are beyond belief!
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What an incredible book. This is a must-read for every American. The chapter on how Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina, poisoned the water around it, is heartbreaking. The chapter on mercury in childrens' vaccines and how it was hushed up, is very revealing. Again, don't miss reading this book; it'll wake you up to the reality of how large companies have poisoned us, and in many cases continue to poison us and pay huge campaign contributions (did I hear someone say bribes?) to politicians to keep quiet.
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By Logan on February 14, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The truth.. simple and to the point.
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