Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power

Overview

From tainted pet food to toxic toys, Americans can thank the successful lobbying efforts of the U.S. chemical industry for the secret ingredients in everyday products that have been linked to rising rates of infertility, endocrine system disruptions, neurological disorders, and cancer.

While the U.S. Congress stalls in the face of these dangers, the European Union has chosen to act. Strict consumer-safety regulations have forced multinationals to manufacture safer products for ...

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Overview

From tainted pet food to toxic toys, Americans can thank the successful lobbying efforts of the U.S. chemical industry for the secret ingredients in everyday products that have been linked to rising rates of infertility, endocrine system disruptions, neurological disorders, and cancer.

While the U.S. Congress stalls in the face of these dangers, the European Union has chosen to act. Strict consumer-safety regulations have forced multinationals to manufacture safer products for European consumers, while lower U.S. standards allow them to continue selling unsafe products to Americans. Schapiro's exposé shows that short of strong government action, the United States will lose not only its ability to protect citizens from environmental hazards but also, as economic priorities shift, whatever claim it has to commercial supremacy. Increasingly, products on American shelves are equated with serious health hazards, hazards that the European Union is legislating out of existence in its powerful trading bloc, a lead that even China is beginning to follow. Schapiro illustrates how the blowback from weak regulation at home carries a steep economic, as well as environmental, price.

In Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power, investigative journalist Mark Schapiro takes the reader to the front lines of global corporate and political power, where tectonic battles are being waged that will determine the physical and economic health of our children and ourselves.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Publishers Weekly-
Americans' confidence in their government-sanctioned environmental and consumer protections receives another blow in investigative reporter Schapiro's exposé, which explores such discomforting information as the 2005 U.S. Centers for Disease Control tests that found 148 toxic chemicals "in the bodies of 'Americans of all ages.'" The U.S.'s unique tendency to take no action against businesses and their products until a disaster occurs keeps them tied to 1970s standards-"exposed to substances from which increasing numbers of people around the world are being protected"-while "the principle of preventing harm before it happens, even in the face of imperfect scientific certainty," guides an increasing number of countries; by "creating legal and financial incentives," governments in Europe and Japan have kept citizens relatively safe from what contributes to the deaths "of at least 5 million people a year," according to the World Health Organization. Schapiro (co-author, with David Weir, of Circle of Poison: Pesticides and People in a Hungry World) discovers toxins in personal care products, toys, electronics and foods which are, in some cases, manufactured solely for U.S. consumption, and traces them to the people and events responsible. Though a look at growing support for change in the U.S. provides some hope, a guide to action would have been an appropriate addition to Schapiro's prescient muckraking.

"A compelling wake-up call from deep inside the trenches. Europe is overtaking us in environmental health and safety regulations, while Americans are being sold out by their own government. This story desperately needs to be told, and Mark Schapiro is just the one to tell it."--David Wirth, Professor of Law and Director of International Programs, Boston College Law School

"[Schapiro's] startling message is that by lagging behind on environmental innovation, American industries are jeopardizing their financial future."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Listen up, American business, and save yourselves while you still can. Time and again in his career, journalist Mark Schapiro has been years ahead of the pack in unveiling stories that reveal the emerging global future. This time, Schapiro shows that Europe, by taking the environmental high road, is cleaning America's economic clock (not to mention exposing its people to much less pollution). The markets of the future are green. America will lose them if it doesn't get smart, soon."--Mark Hertsgaard, author of HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, Earth Odyssey, and The Eagle's Shadow

"The book is a wake-up call... just don't read it late at night--it might keep you up."--Treehugger.com

"In this smart and timely new book, Mark Schapiro, editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting, examines the widening gap between American and EU chemical and environmental regulation, cogently arguing that although the United States used to be a leader in environmental protection, the power has shifted across the Atlantic."--ForeWord Magazine

"A gripping new book..."--The Economist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603580588
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/24/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,067,529
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Journalist Mark Schapiro explores the intersection of the environment, economics, and political power, most recently as a correspondent at the Center for Investigative Reporting. His work has been published inHarpers,The Atlantic, Yale 360, and other publications. He has reported stories for the PBS newsmagazineFrontline/World,NOW with Bill Moyers, and public radio's Marketplace, and is the author ofExposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power. His awards include the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi, a DuPont, the Society of Environmental Journalists Reporting Award, a National Magazine Award, and a Kurt Schork Award for International reporting. Schapiro lives in San Francisco, California.

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Table of Contents

1 Soft Power, Hard Edge

2 The Beauty Bluff

3 Sex & Plastic

4 Two Houses of Risk

5 Genetic Boomerang

6 Rise & Fall of the Machine

7 Chemical Revolution

8 Transpacific Drift: China, the Next Big Thing

9 The New Diplomats: Power & Pitfalls

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