Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things

Slow Death by Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger of Everyday Things

by Rick Smith, Bruce Lourie


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A look at the chemicals surrounding us that’s “hard-hitting . . . yet also instills hope for a future in which consumers make safer, more informed choices” (The Washington Post).

Pollution is no longer just about belching smokestacks and ugly sewer pipes—now, it’s personal.

The most dangerous pollution, it turns out, comes from commonplace items in our homes and workplaces. To prove this point, for one week Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie ingested and inhaled a host of things that surround all of us. Using their own bodies as the reference point to tell the story of pollution in our modern world, they expose the corporate giants who manufacture the toxins, the government officials who let it happen, and the effects on people and families across the globe.

This book—the testimony of their experience—also exposes the extent to which we are poisoned every day of our lives, from the simple household dust that is polluting our blood to the toxins in our urine that are created by run-of-the-mill shampoos and toothpaste. Ultimately hopeful, the book empowers readers with some simple ideas for protecting themselves and their families, and changing things for the better.

“Undertaking a cheeky experiment in self-contamination, professional Canadian environmentalists Smith and Lourie expose themselves to hazardous everyday substances, then measure the consequences . . . Throughout, the duo weave scientific data and recent political history into an amusing but unnerving narrative, refusing to sugarcoat any of the data while maintaining a welcome sense of humor.” —

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781582437026
Publisher: Catapult
Publication date: 01/01/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 9.18(w) x 11.92(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

As executive director of Environmental Defence Canada, Rick Smith is one of Canada's leading environmentalists. Bruce Lourie is an environmental professional with expertise in toxic pollution and mercury. He is president of the Ivey Foundation. The authors live in Toronto.

Table of Contents

Foreword Theo Colborn viii

Preface xi

Introduction 1

1 Pollution Then And Now 9

2 Rubber Duck Wars 33

3 The World's Slipperiest Substance 69

4 The New PCBs 96

5 Quicksilver, Slow Death 131

6 Germophobia 159

7 Risky Business: 2, 4-D And The Sound Of Science 187

8 Mothers Know Best 216

9 Detox 254

Resource Guide/Further Reading 276

Notes 281

Credits 310

Index 314

Acknowledgments 327

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