Synopses & Reviews
Pandora's Poison presents a solution to one of the most insidiousenvironmental problems of our time: the global build-up of toxic chemicals.Everywhere on the planet, hundreds of industrial chemicals called organochlorinesare accumulating in the environment, the food supply, and our bodies. Thesesubstances--such infamous pollutants as dioxins, PCBs, and DDT, along with thousandsof lesser-known hazards--are produced when chlorine gas is used to make plastics, paper, pesticides, and many industrial chemicals. In a thorough and accessibleanalysis, biologist Joe Thornton shows how global organochlorine pollution isalready contributing to infertility, immune suppression, cancer, and developmentaldisorders in humans and wildlife.Thornton proposes a major shift in environmentalscience and policy. He shows that the current framework radically overestimates theability of science and technology to address the complex global hazards of chemicalmixtures. And he reveals how the sound science that dominates environmentalregulations disguises political biases that protect polluters and gamble with publichealth.Articulating principles for a new environmental strategy, Thornton shows thatthe only practical solution is to take global action on broad classes of hazardouschemicals and the processes that produce them, starting with organochlorines. Helays out a democratically controlled program to replace the production and use ofchlorine gas and its derivatives with safer, effective, and economically feasiblealternatives, which are already available for the majority of chlorine uses. With aninnovative interdisiciplinary approach, Pandora's Poison promises to revolutionizethe debate over pollution, health, and the role of science in publicpolicy.
"Expect controversy over this argument for major change in the way we regulate manufactured substances and, as a first step, gradual phaseout of virtually all organochlorines....An accessible argument, with more demanding scientific details relegated to the notes, references, and appendixes." Booklist
"In what may become a landmark book in environmental policy, Thornton articulates a new strategy for eradicating one of the world's most pervasive and dangerous pollutants: organochlorines....Thornton wisely moves the detailed, scientific support for his arguments to references and a back section of notes, turning the body of his book into a compelling essay that identifies a critical problem, pinpoints its causes, and outlines a practicable solution." Publishers Weekly
"Joe Thornton has written the best book on environmental policy I've read in the past decade. The case he makes is authoritative, clear, and compelling. It deserves center stage." David W. Orr, Chair, Environmental Studies Program, Oberlin College
"In Pandora's Poison, Joe Thornton has given us a brilliant analysis of the persistent toxic impact of the massive production and environmental dissemination of synthetic chlorinated organic chemicals. He has masterfully woven together a lucid account of the molecular, biological, medical, and political aspects of a monumental industrial mistake and has designed an incisive way of ending this unnatural global disaster." Barry Commoner, Director, Center for the Biology of Natural Systems, Queens College, City University of New York
"For almost a decade, Joe Thornton has offered his thoughtful analyses of the organochlorine problem to the scientific community and to the concerned public. Pandora's Poison is his pièce de résistance. Thornton's quiet passion and no-stone-left-unturned research style combine to create a powerful argument. I've been waiting a long time for this book." Sandra Steingraber, author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment
"For years we have bet our health and the health of our planet on the demonstrably false notion that we can determine the risk of individual chemical pollutants and regulate them accordingly. It is now evident that we have lost the bet widespread and deadly environmental contamination are the penalty. In this brilliant and lucidly written book, Joe Thornton describes an ecologically, economically, and chemically sophisticated alternative to the pollute-and-regulate system that has failed us so badly. Pandora's Poison is a breath of clean air at the start of a new century." David Ehrenfeld, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Rutgers University, and author of The Arrogance of Humanism
"Joe Thornton has produced a ground-breaking treatise in environmental health. Authoritatively documented and accessible to the non-specialist, Pandora's Poison is a broad interdisciplinary analysis of both the science and the public policy of chemical pollution and argues for bold, innovative approaches to pollution prevention." Philip Landrigan, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Preventive and Community Medicine, Center for Children's Health and the Environment, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
presents a solution to one of the most insidious environmental problems of our time: the global build-up of toxic chemicals. In a thorough and accessible analysis, biologist Joe Thornton shows how global organochlorine pollution is already contributing to infertility, immune suppression, cancer, and developmental disorders in humans and wildlife.
Thornton proposes a major shift in environmental science and policy. He shows that the only practical solution is to take global action on broad classes of hazardous chemicals and the processes that produce them, starting with organochlorines. He lays out a democratically controlled program to replace the production and use of chlorine gas and its derivatives with safer, effective, and economically feasible alternatives, which are already available for the majority of chlorine uses. Pandora's Poison promises to revolutionize the debate over pollution, health, and the role of science in public policy.
The dangers of organochlorides and a proposed solution.
About the Author
Joe Thornton, a biologist and former research coordinator for Greenpeace, is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Columbia University's Earth Institute and Department of Biological Sciences.