Friday, August 13, 2010

Slow Death by Rubber Duck: by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie

Toxins are a common and widespread problem that is even more inconvenient and has even more personal impact than global warming. The topic leaves most people feeling a mix of overwhelm, anger and hopelessness. But as you may have guessed from the title, "Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things" takes a different approach. 

Review by Jennifer Stubbs: These gentlemen work for lobbies which are pro-environment/safety.  They planned an experiment on themselves to measure their bodies’ levels of various chemicals before, during, and after limiting exposure and then trying “normal” exposure to typical consumer goods.  The book looks at phthalates, bisphenol-A (BPA), mercury, and brominated flame-retardants.  Specifically, what each may do, and how pervasive they all are in every item you probably use or travel near every day.  The authors include several scientists who began in non-environmental fields but had to research these chemicals because their prevalence interfered with normal lab tests.  While the conclusion lists steps to lower exposure and tries to encourage the reader that any step helps and don’t worry about not reaching 100%, I did not find myself either motivated or reassured.  I’m kinda freaked out.