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What's Gotten Into Us?: Staying Healthy in a Toxic Worldby Mckay Jenkins
Synopses & Reviews
What’s Gotten into Us? is a deep, remarkable, and empowering investigation into the threats—biological and environmental—that chemicals now present in our daily lives.
Do you know what chemicals are in your shampoo? How about your cosmetics? Do you know what’s in the plastic water bottles you drink from, or the weed killer in your garage, or your children’s pajamas? If you’re like most of us, the answer is probably no. But you also probably figured that most of these products were safe, and that someone—the manufacturers, the government—was looking out for you. The truth might surprise you.
After experiencing a health scare of his own, journalist McKay Jenkins set out to discover the truth about toxic chemicals, our alarming levels of exposure, and our government’s utter failure to regulate them effectively. What’s Gotten into Us? reveals how dangerous, and how common, toxins are in the most ordinary things, and in the most familiar of places:
• Our water: Thanks to suburban sprawl and agricultural runoff, 97 percent of our nation’s rivers and streams are now contaminated with everything from herbicides to pharmaceutical drugs.
• Our bodies: High levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals from cosmetics, flame-retardants from clothing and furniture, even long-banned substances like DDT and lead, are consistently showing up in human blood samples.
• Our homes: Many toxins lurk beneath our sinks and in our basements, of course, but did you know that they’re also found in wall-to-wall carpeting, plywood, and fabric softeners?
• Our yards: Pesticides, fungicides, even common fertilizers—there are enormous, unseen costs to our national obsession with green, weed-free lawns.
What’s Gotten Into Us? is much more than a wake-up call. It offers numerous practical ways for us to regain some control over our lives, to make our own personal worlds a little less toxic. Inside, you’ll find ideas to help you make informed decisions about the products you buy, and to disentangle yourself from unhealthy products you don’t need—so that you and your family can start living healthier lives now, and in the years to come. Because, as this book shows, what you don’t know can hurt you.
"Finding a mysterious orange-sized lump in his side after years of healthy living was a warning sign for Jenkins, a journalism professor at the University of Delaware. In the course of being diagnosed, he was grilled about his exposure to a frightening collection of toxins and realized he had no idea what he was inadvertently breathing, ingesting, and absorbing every day. 'The more I began to look into it,' he writes, 'the clearer it became that we have spent our lives virtually marinating in toxic chemicals: in the water that comes through the tap; in the plastics we find in our baby toys or use to store our food; in our soaps and shampoos and cosmetics; in the products we use to clean our homes; in the chemicals we spray on our weeds and apply to turn our toilet paper white.' Jenkins argues 'that industry uses its clout at both federal and state levels to kill most efforts at increasing what we can know about these toxins.... most chemicals have never been even minimally scrutinized for their toxicity.' In this serious exposÃ© that is surprisingly entertaining and positive, Jenkins uncovers the ubiquity and danger of these chemicals and offers some solutions, both personal and political, including the fascinating and inspiring story of a Maine chemical toxins study, and the role played by Hannah Pingree, study volunteer and former Maine state house majority leader, in passing a comprehensive chemical safety bill in Maine. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
McKay Jenkins holds degrees from Amherst College, Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and Princeton, where he received a Ph.D. in English. He is the author of The Last Ridge, The White Death, and Bloody Falls of the Coppermine. The Cornelius A. Tilghman Professor of English and director of journalism at the University of Delaware, Jenkins lives with his family in Baltimore.
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Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Environment and Health