Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children [NOOK Book]


In this shocking and sobering book, two fearless journalists directly and definitively link industrial toxins to the current rise in childhood disease and death. In the tradition of Silent Spring, Poisoned Profits is a landmark investigation, an eye-opening account of a country that prizes money over children’s health.

With indisputable data, Philip Shabecoff and Alice Shabecoff reveal that the children of baby boomers–the first to be raised ...
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Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children

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In this shocking and sobering book, two fearless journalists directly and definitively link industrial toxins to the current rise in childhood disease and death. In the tradition of Silent Spring, Poisoned Profits is a landmark investigation, an eye-opening account of a country that prizes money over children’s health.

With indisputable data, Philip Shabecoff and Alice Shabecoff reveal that the children of baby boomers–the first to be raised in a truly “toxified” world–have higher rates of birth defects, asthma, cancer, autism, and other serious illnesses than previous generations. In piercing case histories, the authors identify the culprit as corporate pollution. Here are the stories of such places as Dickson, Tennessee, where babies were born with cleft lips and palates after landfill chemicals seeped into the water, and Port Neches, Texas, where so many graduates of a high school near synthetic rubber and chemical plants contracted cancer that the school was nicknamed “Leukemia High.”

The danger to our children isn’t just in the outside world, though. The Shabecoffs provide evidence that our homes are now infested with everything from dangerous flame retardants in crib mattresses to harmful plastic softeners in teething rings to antibiotics and arsenic in chicken–additives that are absorbed by growing and physically vulnerable kids as well as by pregnant women. Compounding the problem are chemical corporations that sabotage investigations and regulations, a government that refuses to police these companies, and corporate-hired scientists who keep pertinent secrets massaged with skewed data of their own.

Poisoned Profits also demonstrates how people are fighting back, whether through grassroots parents’ groups putting pressure on politicians, the rise of “ecotheology” in the pulpits of formerly indifferent churches, or the new “green chemistry” being practiced in labs to replace bad elements with good. The Shabecoffs also include helpful tips on reducing risks to children in how they eat and play, and in how parents clean and maintain their homes.

Powerful, unflinching, and eminently readable, Poisoned Profits is a wake-up call that is bound to inspire talk and force change.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The authors of this unsettling indictment of American industrial mendacity detail the impact of the "trillions of tons" of largely unregulated toxic pollutants that have been poured into the environment after WWII when synthetic chemical compounds entered mainstream life. The Shabecoffs argue that the world is becoming a perilous place for the young; fetuses, newborns and toddlers are vastly more vulnerable to environmental contaminants than adults, and hazards lie latent in teething rings (leaching plastic toxins), bath water (laced with chemical contaminants), lush lawns (dusted with herbicides) and the very air they breathe-all contributing directly to a "rising incidence of childhood illness," including asthma, autism, cancer-once "a rarity" among children-and even a drop in average IQ. The authors build their compelling case against polluters like dogged prosecutors, condemning "perpetrators," including General Electric and Dow Chemical, slamming "co-conspirators," most prominently compliant conservative governments, and exposing "witnesses for the defense," among them misleading scientists-for-hire. The authors' passionate exposé of corporate America's behavior is numbing in its impact; an appendix detailing steps parents can take to reduce risk eases the angst. (Aug. 12)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Two environmental journalists angrily assert that spineless politicians and lenient regulators defer to rapacious industrialists as their factories drench America in toxic pollutants. The authors provide an avalanche of anecdotes featuring dreadfully sick children and their devastated parents appealing in vain to guilty industries and getting no help from mealy-mouthed officials. In chapter after chapter, they describe innumerable toxins, their poisonous effects, the researchers who study and denounce them, the regulators who sometimes act but mostly complain that their hands are tied and the industry representatives who defend their products, repeating ad nauseum that the evidence for harm is not conclusive. To those who assume scientists don't know what causes most birth defects, cancers, allergies, asthma, Alzheimer's, mental illness, attention-deficit disorder and premature births, this book offers the answer: pollution. Sadly, the Shabecoffs are preaching to the choir, pouring out so many horror stories that shell-shocked readers may grow annoyed with their bias. The authors treat industry representatives with the contempt they deserve, but not every victim or lawyer merits the respectful absence of skepticism accorded them here, and fringe groups given similar hands-off treatment include antifluoridation advocates and people who insist vaccines cause autism. The authors glide right over the unpalatable reality that industrial pollution is now so catastrophically severe that making the bad guys pay will not solve the problem. Taxpayers will end up funding the cleanup, and stricter regulation will mean more expensive goods. Politicians refuse to deliver this news because they want tobe reelected, but the Shabecoffs don't have this excuse. They conclude with sensible instructions for minimizing toxins within the household and good advice for regulatory reform, but neither is likely to improve our environment anytime soon. The best exposes leave readers yearning to take action. This one will make them want to gnash their teeth and discard their plastic containers. Agent: Wendy Strothman/The Strothman Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781588367129
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/12/2008
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • File size: 471 KB

Meet the Author

Philip Shabecoff was the chief environmental correspondent for The New York Times for fourteen of the thirty-two years he worked there as a reporter. After leaving the Times, he founded and published Greenwire, an online daily digest of environmental news. He has appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, Washington Week in Review, CNN News, C-Span, National Public Radio, and the BBC. For his environmental writing, Shabecoff was selected as one of the “Global 500” by the United Nations’ Environmental Program.

Alice Shabecoff is a freelance journalist focusing on family and consumer topics. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and the International Herald Tribune, among other publications. She was executive director of the National Consumers League, the country’s oldest consumer organization, and executive director of the national nonprofit Community Information Exchange.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Table of Contents

1 Inquest 3

2 Indictment 15

3 Victims 25

4 Evidence 38

5 Scene of the Crime 68

6 Forensics 95

7 Perpetrators 126

8 Co-Conspirators 153

9 Witnesses for the Defense 172

10 Posse Comitatus 198

11 Values 220

12 Justice 236

App. A How to Reduce Your Child's Risk and Change the Future 263

App. B Resources 277

Notes 285

Bibliography 339

Index 341

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    Well Researched

    Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children, by Philip and Alice Shabecoff, examines the correlation between the rise of childhood illnesses and industrial and environmental pollution over the past half century. The authors use their expertise--he as a reporter for The New York Times and she as a freelance journalist--to present solid evidence that industry is harming our environment and children. The amount of research that went into this book is staggering, but the book doesn't overwhelm it is quite readable. Companies like GE, Monsanto, Dow and DuPont are cited as perpetrators in the poisoning of the environment. The role of the government, including the EPA, in allowing corporations to pollute, is presented. The reader will understandably want to reduce their child's risks of getting sick, and in Appendix A, there are a number of ways to reduce toxicity in the home. For those who want more information on how to make ones home eco-friendly to reduce the chances of illness, Better Basics for the Home: Simple Solutions for Less Toxic Living offers non-toxic cleaning products and Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet provides information for making the entire home toxic free. This isn't an easy book to digest, but like Silent Spring, it is a must-read for the survival of future generations and the planet.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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