Funny, thought-provoking, and incredibly disturbing, Slow Death by Rubber Duck reveals that just the living of daily life creates a chemical soup inside each of us.
Pollution is no longer just about belching smokestacks and ugly sewer pipes - now, it's personal.
The most dangerous pollution has always come from commonplace items in our homes and workplaces. Smith and Lourie ingested and inhaled a host of things that surround all of us all the time. This book exposes the extent to which we are poisoned every day of our lives. For this book, over the period of a week - the kind of week that would be familiar to most people - the authors use their own bodies as the reference point and tell the story of pollution in our modern world, the miscreant corporate giants who manufacture the toxins, the weak-kneed government officials who let it happen, and the effects on people and families across the globe. Parents and concerned citizens will have to read this book.
Key concerns raised in Slow Death by Rubber Duck:
• Flame-retardant chemicals from electronics and household dust polluting our blood.
• Toxins in our urine caused by leaching from plastics and run-of-the-mill shampoos, toothpastes and deodorant.
• Mercury in our blood from eating tuna.
• The chemicals that build up in our body when carpets and upholstery off-gas.
Ultimately hopeful, the book empowers readers with some simple ideas for protecting themselves and their families, and changing things for the better.
Undertaking a cheeky experiment in self-contamination, professional Canadian environmentalists Smith and Lourie expose themselves to hazardous everyday substances, then measure the consequences. Inspired by data from the Environmental Working Group that shows Americans carry significant amounts of toxic industrial chemicals in our bodies (and published research tying those toxins to obesity, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer's, heart disease, and diabetes), Smith and Lowrie attempt to increase their personal "body load" of seven particularly worrisome toxins-phthalates, Teflon, ubiquitous anti-bacterial triclosan, brominated fire retardants, Bisphenol A, mercury, and hormone-based pesticide 2.4-D-through everyday North American activity: eating, drinking, sleeping, cleaning, watching TV, etc. Smith and Lowrie describe in detail the reasons behind and parameters of their self-experiment, including the hows and whys of blood and urine testing, and the specific products (Coke, Stainmaster carpet cleaner, Rubbermaid microwavable containers) purchased to increase their exposures. They also discuss their attempts to flush and avoid toxins before the experiment (Smith tries eating only food that hasn't come into contact with plastics, which proves impossible). Throughout, the duo weave scientific data and recent political history into an amusing but unnerving narrative, refusing to sugarcoat any of the data (though protection is possible, exposure is inevitable) while maintaining a welcome sense of humor.