Perils of Progress: The Health and Environmental Hazards of Modern Technology and What You Can Do about Them

Overview

Clearly written and comprehensive, The Perils of Progress uses the latest scientific research to challenge our society's largely unquestioning commitment to new technologies. While these have no doubt brought many benefits, the authors argue that our confidence in them is seriously misplaced--in some cases dangerously so. The authors consider a vast array of health and environmental issues including: the damaging effects on human health of certain microwaves, including those from mobile phones and television ...
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Overview

Clearly written and comprehensive, The Perils of Progress uses the latest scientific research to challenge our society's largely unquestioning commitment to new technologies. While these have no doubt brought many benefits, the authors argue that our confidence in them is seriously misplaced--in some cases dangerously so. The authors consider a vast array of health and environmental issues including: the damaging effects on human health of certain microwaves, including those from mobile phones and television transmission towers; the effects of aluminium in food and other consumer products; the evidence that the trans-polyunsaturated acids formed in most margarines during manufacture may be more detrimental to health than butter. Each chapter ends with a positive and empowering "What You Can Do" section.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With thoroughgoing neo-Luddism, Ashton and Laura catalogue the health risks of common products and practices in our technologically modified world. Decrying artifice in food, air, water, transportation and lighting, the authors consistently sound the theme that nature knows best. Ranging from a discussion of the carcinogenic potential of polyunsaturated fats to the dangers of fluoridated water and the bacterial hazards of air conditioning, Ashton, an Australian chemist, and Laura, an American-born professor of education at the University of Newcastle (U.K.), detail the ills induced by technology and offer suggestions on how to avoid them. Their carefully researched arguments will both alarm and intrigue readers. For example, while documenting the correlation between aluminum in the brain and senility, the authors point out the futility of avoiding aluminum cookware, since aluminum in human diets comes mainly from water and food. Having worked out that burning one liter of gasoline consumes the oxygen that 45 small trees produce in a week, the authors suggest that each commuter annually plant and maintain the appropriate number of trees. They also claim that the incidence of skin cancer correlates positively with both sunscreen use and years of higher education. Despite somewhat stiff prose and statistics based on Australian populations, such provocative tidbits are among the rewards of the book's refreshingly high ratio of facts to rhetoric. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Reductionist science, prevalent in our technological culture, approaches nature as a set of discrete processes and entities. Ashton, an Australian food researcher, and Laura, an education professor, dispute this view, pleading for the adoption of a paradigm that acknowledges the indivisible complexity of processes and interrelationships in nature. In developing their argument, the authors discuss a wide range of specific health and ecological hazards, including modern food- and water-processing techniques, artificial electrical and magnetic fields, microwaves, and artificial and filtered light. The authors suggest specific actions for safeguarding individual health against these hazards and offer general guidelines for understanding the medical community's frequently shifting consensus advice. This book, first published in Australia, pulls together a broad range of research scattered across various fields. The arguments are cogent and well supported by the evidence cited. The copious endnotes might serve as a bibliography of current thinking on these controversial topics. For academic and larger public libraries.--Noemie Maxwell Vassilakis, Seattle Midwifery Sch. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Calls on the latest scientific research to challenge our society's commitment to new technologies, and introduces readers to health and environmental issues related to society's reliance on technology. Chapters on hazards of electrical, food, water, and environmental technology end with empowering suggestions for protecting personal health and the condition of the environment. Coverage includes hazards of air conditioning, chlorinated water, mobile phones, and food irradiation. Distributed by St. Martin's Press. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781856496964
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/21/1999
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

John Ashton is Chief Chemist for a leading Australian food company and is an internationally recognized food researcher.

Ron Laura was born in Massachusetts and is currently Professor of Education at the University of Newcastle, U.K.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Introduction
Pt. 1 Technology and the quest for Utopia 1
ch. 1 The paradox of progress: Is the price we pay for technology too high? 1
Pt. 2 Electrical technology 40
ch. 2 The new electrical environment: The shocking truth 40
ch. 3 Mobile phones and UHF TV microwaves: How to minimise the risks 52
ch. 4 Microwave ovens and your health: You have to know the problems to overcome them 65
ch. 5 Computer VDUs and television: Watching for the health hazards 70
ch. 6 Electricity in the home: Should you be plugged in? 82
Pt. 3 Food technology 93
ch. 7 Food processing: To eat or not to eat? That is the question 93
ch. 8 Aluminium in food: Is it a factor in Alzheimer's disease? 140
ch. 9 Food irradiation: Towards health or hazard in the 21st century 157
ch. 10 Cadmium: The newest toxic link in the food chain 167
ch. 11 Pesticides: What you need to know to keep your family safe 177
Pt. 4 Water technology 186
ch. 12 Water chlorination and your health: A second opinion 186
ch. 13 The fluoridation debate: Can fluoride be damaging to your health? 198
Pt. 5 Environmental technology 211
ch. 14 Airconditioning Finding healthier ways to stay cool 211
ch. 15 Artificial light: Shedding some light on a dark problem 223
ch. 16 The sounds of technology: Listening for clues to stay healthy 254
Pt. 6 Surviving technology 265
ch. 17 Finding the way back to good health 265
Endnotes 281
Glossary and Acronyms 333
Further Reading 336
Index 338
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