Synopses & Reviews
New evidence seems to arrive dailyfrom stories about tainted pet food to toxic toysof the dangerous consequences that lax environmental policies are having on the consumer products that we, and our children, use every day thanks to lobbying efforts by the U.S. chemical industry.Meanwhile, the European Union is forcing these global corporate giants to chart a new path that, by requiring safe products, is revamping how businesses can create safe products and make money.In Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power investigative journalist Mark Schapiro takes the reader inside the corridors of global power where tectonic battles are occurring that will impact the health of ourselves and the planet.Schapiros expos shows how laws adopted by the European Unionwhere stricter consumer-safety standards are in placehave forced multinationals into manufacturing safer products. And, short of such strong government action the United States will lose its claim of economic and environmental supremacy.Increasingly, products developed and sold in the United States are equated with serious health hazards, and many of those products are soon to be banned from Europe and other parts of the world.Schapiros revelations in this thought-provoking work will change the way American consumers think about everyday productsfrom plastic softeners that can contribute to sexual malformations to lipstick additives that are potential toxins to the brain, liver, kidneys, and immune system. And it will stir them into forcing our government to take the lead of others, including the European Union, China, and countries in Central and South America.Exposed is a revealingand fascinating look at global markets, everyday products, and the toxic chemicals that bind them. It will shock, inform, and warn American businesses and government leaders about the risks of being left behind in the international marketplace.Schapiros book shines a light on Europes evolving search for higher standards that places Brussels, not Washington, at the center of global market innovation.
"Listen up, American business, and save yourselves while you still can. Time and again in his career, journalist Mark Schapiro has been years ahead of the pack in unveiling stories that reveal the emerging global future. This time, Schapiro shows that Europe, by taking the environmental high road, is cleaning America's economic clock (not to mention exposing its people to much less pollution). The markets of the future are green. America will lose them if it doesn't get smart, soon."--Mark Hertsgaard, author of Earth Odyssey and The Eagle's Shadow
Publishers Weekly-Americans' confidence in their government-sanctioned environmental and consumer protections receives another blow in investigative reporter Schapiro's exposé, which explores such discomforting information as the 2005 U.S. Centers for Disease Control tests that found 148 toxic chemicals "in the bodies of 'Americans of all ages.'" The U.S.'s unique tendency to take no action against businesses and their products until a disaster occurs keeps them tied to 1970s standards-"exposed to substances from which increasing numbers of people around the world are being protected"-while "the principle of preventing harm before it happens, even in the face of imperfect scientific certainty," guides an increasing number of countries; by "creating legal and financial incentives," governments in Europe and Japan have kept citizens relatively safe from what contributes to the deaths "of at least 5 million people a year," according to the World Health Organization. Schapiro (co-author, with David Weir, of Circle of Poison: Pesticides and People in a Hungry World) discovers toxins in personal care products, toys, electronics and foods which are, in some cases, manufactured solely for U.S. consumption, and traces them to the people and events responsible. Though a look at growing support for change in the U.S. provides some hope, a guide to action would have been an appropriate addition to Schapiro's prescient muckraking.
"A compelling wake-up call from deep inside the trenches. Europe is overtaking us in environmental health and safety regulations, while Americans are being sold out by their own government. This story desperately needs to be told, and Mark Schapiro is just the one to tell it."--David Wirth, Professor of Law and Director of International Programs, Boston College Law School
"[Schapiro's] startling message is that by lagging behind on environmental innovation, American industries are jeopardizing their financial future."--San Francisco Chronicle
"A gripping new book..."--The Economist
"In this smart and timely new book, Mark Schapiro, editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting, examines the widening gap between American and EU chemical and environmental regulation, cogently arguing that although the United States used to be a leader in environmental protection, the power has shifted across the Atlantic."--ForeWord Magazine
"The book is a wake-up call... just don't read it late at night--it might keep you up."--Treehugger.com
Winner of the 2008 NAUTILUS SILVER AWARD in the category of Ecology/Environment/Sustainability and Conscious Media/JournalismFrom tainted pet food to toxic toys, Americans can thank the successful lobbying efforts of the U.S. chemical industry for the secret ingredients in everyday products that have been linked to rising rates of infertility, endocrine system disruptions, neurological disorders, and cancer.While the U.S. Congress stalls in the face of these dangers, the European Union has chosen to act. Strict consumer-safety regulations have forced multinationals to manufacture safer products for European consumers, while lower U.S. standards allow them to continue selling unsafe products to Americans. Schapiro's exposé shows that short of strong government action, the United States will lose not only its ability to protect citizens from environmental hazards but also, as economic priorities shift, whatever claim it has to commercial supremacy. Increasingly, products on American shelves are equated with serious health hazards, hazards that the European Union is legislating out of existence in its powerful trading bloc, a lead that even China is beginning to follow. Schapiro illustrates how the blowback from weak regulation at home carries a steep economic, as well as environmental, price.In Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power, investigative journalist Mark Schapiro takes the reader to the front lines of global corporate and political power, where tectonic battles are being waged that will determine the physical and economic health of our children and ourselves.
About the Author
Mark Schapiro is editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting in San Francisco. He has written extensively on foreign affairs and his work has appeared in Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine and other publications, and he has reported stories for Frontline, NOW with Bill Moyers, and public radio's Marketplace. Schapiro lives in San Francisco, California.