Dirty Dozen: Toxic Chemicals and the Earth's Future

Overview

Forty years after the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, this important study examines the history, industrial uses, and harmful effects of the twelve most commonly used organochloride chemicals. All have been fully or partially banned by the Stockholm Protocol, an international treaty signed by about 120 countries in December 2000. Among the twelve are the dioxins (the active ingredient in Agent Orange) and polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs), which are toxic in minute quantities. Johansen pays special ...

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Overview

Forty years after the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, this important study examines the history, industrial uses, and harmful effects of the twelve most commonly used organochloride chemicals. All have been fully or partially banned by the Stockholm Protocol, an international treaty signed by about 120 countries in December 2000. Among the twelve are the dioxins (the active ingredient in Agent Orange) and polychlorinated byphenyls (PCBs), which are toxic in minute quantities. Johansen pays special attention to the Inuit of the Arctic, where these chemicals have been bio-accumulating to dangerous levels, moving up the food chain to a degree of toxicity that some Inuit mothers are no longer able to safely breast-feed their infants.

The polar stratospheric ozone has been devastated by emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and new scientific findings connect global warming near the Earth's surface to significant cooling in the stratosphere. This synergy aggravates ozone depletion because the chemical reactions that destroy the ozone become more energetic as temperatures drop. Synthetic toxins have taken their toll on minority ethnic groups in the United States, and persistent organic pollutants have inflicted physiological damage on humans and other animals. Finally, Johansen explores the estrogenic effects of such chemicals. Sperm counts have declined as much as 50% in 50 years.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Johansen examines the history, industrial uses, and harmful effects of the 12 most commonly used organochloride chemicals. All have been fully or partially banned by the Stockholm Protocol."

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Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and Environment

"[T]his book can serve as a useful source of bibliographical information and summery materials."

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Natural Resources Forum

"[T]his volume is worth a thoughtful reading and should be in the science collections of all public, college and university libraries."

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Robert B. Ridinger, Chair, Electronic Information Resources Management, Northern

"[A] valuable guide to librarians wishing to build their collections on this admittedly complicated subject. This volume is worth a thoughful reading and should be in the science collections of all public, college univesity libraries."

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E-Streams

"[F]rom dioxins to the accumulation of dangerous chemicals in arctic environments, The Dirty Dozen reveals patterns of migration, synergy and chemical reactions which have an ongoing effect on the Earth's systems."

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Internet Bookwatch

"If you thought Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was scary, this alarming expose will knock your socks off. Recommended for most environmental collections."

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Library Journal, Starred Review

"Many environmentalists will heartily agree with the author's conclusions….Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates."

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Choice

Library Journal
The "Dirty Dozen"-aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, dioxins, furans, endrin, heptachlor, heptachlorobenzene, mirex, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and toxaphene-are the 12 most commonly used persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Also called organochlorines, they are pervasive in air, water, food, animals, pesticides, solvents, and numerous household products. They are responsible for cancer, respiratory ailments, birth defects, other illnesses, and death in humans and animals. Johansen (communication and Native American studies, Univ. of Nebraska, Omaha; The Ecocide of Native America) examines the history, agricultural and industrial uses, and harmful effects of POPs, as well as their unregulated dumping. He focuses on the dangerous levels of POP among the Inuits of the Arctic and other ethnic groups worldwide that lack the political clout to fight the polluters. In addition, Johansen offers various solutions to control POPs, including outright bans on the production and use of organochlorines, changing the EPA's regulatory procedures, promoting organic farming, and banning chlorine from paper manufacture. If you thought Rachel Carson's Silent Spring was scary, this alarming expos will knock your socks off. Recommended for most environmental collections.-Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275977023
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/30/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

BRUCE E. JOHANSEN is Robert T. Reilly Professor of Communication and Native American Studies at the University of Nebraska, Omaha. His last book was The Ecocide of Native America (1995).

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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction 1
1. Persistent Organic Pollutants: The Basics 11
2. "We Feel like an Endangered Species": Toxics in the Arctic 47
3. CFCs, Global Warming, and Ozone Depletion 77
4. The Chemical Industry, Nonwhite Communities, and the Third World 107
5. Belugas with Tumors: The Toxic Toll on Animals 133
6. End of the Line: The Dirty Dozen and Human Health 165
7. Toxic Barbie? Not Your Great-Grandmother's Estrogen 199
8. Solutions: Public Policy Issues 229
Glossary 249
Selected Bibliography 253
Index 291
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