The author of this book, Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power, spoke on NPR a couple of weeks ago (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16616951). I listened to Mark Schapiro speak about the issue of chemical regulation in America versus the European Union (EU) as I was driving home from Indiana late on a Monday night. So many emotions overcame me. I was intrigued, shocked, horrified, sickened, and inspired all in that hour drive. Slowly, over the past year and a half, I have been going toxic-free, organic, and fair-trade. I didn’t throw everything out and start over, but I have been replacing empties with healthier and socially just options. This book reinforced my decision to do so.
The most shocking aspect of Mark’s talk and of the book is that companies like Procter and Gamble for instance produce two sets of products: one that is chemical, toxin, and carcinogen laden for the United States; and another set of the same products for the EU that do not contain these health-harming chemicals.
While I do not typically like to read about politics (mostly because they are over my head – I’m a biologist remember), I found the politics presented in this book are easy to follow. The book is a short read. It only took me a few days. And I was very easily pulled through.
The concept that I struggle with the most in regard to this chemical issue is that these large corporations have the money to make the healthy and moral changes, but they spend the money lobbying to prevent stringent laws from being passed. I am curious about what is their motivation. Why can’t they just do what is right?