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.

Schapiro’s exposé shows how the European Union is demanding that multinationals manufacture safer products, while products developed and sold in the United States are increasingly equated with serious health hazards, and are banned from Europe and other parts of the world. Short of strong government action the United States will lose its claim of economic and environmental supremacy.


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Silent Spring took Carson four years to complete. It meticulously described how DDT entered the food chain and accumulated in the fatty tissues of animals, including human beings, and caused cancer and genetic damage. A single application on a crop, she wrote, killed insects for weeks and months, and not only the targeted insects but countless more, and remained toxic in the environment even after it was diluted by rainwater. Carson concluded that DDT and other pesticides had irrevocably harmed birds and animals and had contaminated the entire world food supply. The book’s most haunting and famous chapter, “A Fable for Tomorrow,” depicted a nameless American town where all life — from fish to birds to apple blossoms to human children — had been “silenced” by the insidious effects of DDT.

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This small book explores a very simple but critical theme: most of the seemingly benign stuff in our everyday lives has a very complicated past that’s energy-intensive and environmentally damaging. To convey this, Stuff follows a typical North American citizen through a single day and backtracks the inputs required for their coffee, T-shirt, computer, hamburger, etc. The findings are startling: did you know that it takes 700 gallons of water just so you can have your Quarter-Pounder? Statistics like this create a kind of social unease, hopefully enough to bring awareness to the significant environmental aftermath of our everyday lives.


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