Synopses & Reviews
In this shocking and sobering book, two fearless journalists directly and definitively link industrial toxins to the current rise in childhood disease and death. In the tradition of Silent Spring, Poisoned Profits
is a landmark investigation, an eye-opening account of a country that prizes money over childrens health.
With indisputable data, Philip Shabecoff and Alice Shabecoff reveal that the children of baby boomers-the first to be raised in a truly “toxified” world-have higher rates of birth defects, asthma, cancer, autism, and other serious illnesses than previous generations. In piercing case histories, the authors identify the culprit as corporate pollution. Here are the stories of such places as Dickson, Tennessee, where babies were born with cleft lips and palates after landfill chemicals seeped into the water, and Port Neches, Texas, where so many graduates of a high school near synthetic rubber and chemical plants contracted cancer that the school was nicknamed “Leukemia High.”
The danger to our children isnt just in the outside world, though. The Shabecoffs provide evidence that our homes are now infested with everything from dangerous flame retardants in crib mattresses to harmful plastic softeners in teething rings to antibiotics and arsenic in chicken-additives that are absorbed by growing and physically vulnerable kids as well as by pregnant women. Compounding the problem are chemical corporations that sabotage investigations and regulations, a government that refuses to police these companies, and corporate-hired scientists who keep pertinent secrets massaged with skewed data of their own.
Poisoned Profits also demonstrates how people are fighting back, whether through grassroots parents groups putting pressure on politicians, the rise of “ecotheology” in the pulpits of formerly indifferent churches, or the new “green chemistry” being practiced in labs to replace bad elements with good. The Shabecoffs also include helpful tips on reducing risks to children in how they eat and play, and in how parents clean and maintain their homes.
Powerful, unflinching, and eminently readable, Poisoned Profits is a wake-up call that is bound to inspire talk and force change.
"The authors of this unsettling indictment of American industrial mendacity detail the impact of the 'trillions of tons' of largely unregulated toxic pollutants that have been poured into the environment after WWII when synthetic chemical compounds entered mainstream life. The Shabecoffs argue that the world is becoming a perilous place for the young; fetuses, newborns and toddlers are vastly more vulnerable to environmental contaminants than adults, and hazards lie latent in teething rings (leaching plastic toxins), bath water (laced with chemical contaminants), lush lawns (dusted with herbicides) and the very air they breathe all contributing directly to a 'rising incidence of childhood illness,' including asthma, autism, cancer once 'a rarity' among children and even a drop in average IQ. The authors build their compelling case against polluters like dogged prosecutors, condemning 'perpetrators,' including General Electric and Dow Chemical, slamming 'co-conspirators,' most prominently compliant conservative governments, and exposing 'witnesses for the defense,' among them misleading scientists-for-hire. The authors' passionate expos of corporate America's behavior is numbing in its impact; an appendix detailing steps parents can take to reduce risk eases the angst." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Philip Shabecoff was the chief environmental correspondent for The New York Times
for fourteen of the thirty-two years he worked there as a reporter. After leaving the Times
, he founded and published Greenwire
, an online daily digest of environmental news. He has appeared on Meet the Press
, Face the Nation
, Washington Week in Review
, CNN News
, C-Span, National Public Radio, and the BBC. For his environmental writing, Shabecoff was selected as one of the “Global 500” by the United Nations Environmental Program.
Alice Shabecoff is a freelance journalist focusing on family and consumer topics. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and the International Herald Tribune, among other publications. She was executive director of the National Consumers League, the countrys oldest consumer organization, and executive director of the national nonprofit Community Information Exchange.