The Hundred-Year Lie: How to Protect Yourself from the Chemicals That Are Destroying Your Health Info

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In a devastating exposé in the tradition
of Silent Spring and Fast Food Nation,
investigative journalist Randall Fitzgerald warns how thousands of
man-made chemicals in our food, water, medicine, and environment are
making humans the most polluted species on the planet. A century ago,
when Congress enacted the Pure Food and Drug Act, Americans were
promised “better living through chemistry.” Fitzgerald
provides overwhelming evidence to shatter this myth, and many others
perpetrated by the chemical, pharmaceutical, and processed foods
industries.
Consider this:

·         The average
American carries a "body burden" of 700 synthetic chemicals;

·         Chemicals in
tap water can cause reproductive abnormalities and hermaphroditic
birth;
·         One
study of lactating women found perchlorate (a toxic component of rocket
fuel) in practically every mother's breast milk.
In the face of
this national health crisis, Fitzgerald presents informed and practical
suggestions for what we can do to turn the tide and live healthier
lives.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Hundred-Year Lie: How to Protect Yourself from the Chemicals That Are Destroying Your Health:

1

January 11, 2009

For True Believers ONLY
When I was in college I was taught that correlation doesn't prove causality. The author violates this premise time and again, using correlation after correlation to prove his hypotheses. Especially annoying washis claim that the increased percentage of deaths by cancer over the last hundred years was the result of increased environmental toxins. Not only is this argument based solely on the fact that toxins increased and the the percentage of deaths from cancer increased, but the statistics are bad, too. If the relative number of cancer deaths were constant but fewer people died of other causes, the percentage of cancer deaths would increase, even if cancer weren't more of a risk than before. Many causes of deaths in 1900 are no longer threats, often because of the advances he decries (infant mortality from deaths now controlled by vaccines, women who died in labor, etc.). Explain to me how your research controlled for this fact? Sadly, his points about the synergy of chemicals creating greater harm are important, but I will look to other sources for more information, as I did not find him credible. He seems to come from a perspective that old diets and medicines were superior. Basically, if you agree with him you will probably find a lot to like in this book. If, like me, you appreciate the historical importance of vaccines and penicillin and the scientific method, not so much.
1

September 18, 2006

Deserves zero stars
This is just about the worst book I have ever read. Fitzgerald commits the ultimate crime in his use of junk-science malarchy and apples-to-oranges comparisons. Perhaps, when he acquires SOME form of reputable science degree, he could actually say a few words with some authority. Until a sound basis can be made for the mechanisms and exposures that Fitzgerald puts forth, file this book under "fiction". I am not saying that toxic chemicals do not exist. I am a Medical Toxicologist, board-certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties. It's my job to study the toxic nature of chemicals and the patients who are exposed to them. But I do so in a reasonable, rational scientific fashion. As such, it just kills me that a joker like this can get away with writing such a book.
3

August 4, 2006

A BookThat Doesn't Go Far Enough
I didn't know all of the details of the information presented in the book - basically that we are living in a toxic world - food, personal products, synthetic medications, industrial products and it goes on and on. All these things contribute to illnesses and lowering of our immune systems. I found the book informative, perhaps not eye-opening, because I was familiar with the basic premise of the book before I read it (from other sources.)

What I was looking for was a book that would present some solutions to the problem - what can we do to detoxify ourselves? Can we keep some of the poisons out of our systems? Where can we find foods that are healing to our bodies instead of destructive? What natural medications are there to use when we are ill? Well, I didn't find much in the solution department in this book. There are some minor suggestions that don't go into detail (I wanted lists of products - good and bad that we should use or stay away from...well, you get the idea.) I was disappointed that I would have to buy one or more books to get the information I wanted.

I bought the book sight unseen, in the first week of its publication. I bought it on recommendations from the radio and written reviews. It is well researched and very interesting, but did not present the solutions that I was looking for.

If you have little or no knowledge of what is going on in our "toxic world," this is a great book to get you started, but don't expect answers to the problems it presents.
1

October 19, 2006

Junk science of the worst kind
Randall Fitzgerald is a senior editor of Phenomena magazine, a publication which deals with extraterrestrial life and the supernatural.

While there is much that is important to say about toxins in our environment and food supply, Randall Fitzgerald is certainly not the man to be saying it.

This is the worst kind of junk science--the kind that sounds plausible and well-researched (18 pages of sources) but draws unsupported, alarmist conclusions.
4

November 16, 2013

A Sobering Awakening!
Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

"An effect of this contamination is that we are now one of the most polluted species on the face of this planet," contends Paula Baillie-Hamilton, an Oxford-educated physician in Britain who is one of the leading authorities on toxins in food. "Indeed, we are all so contaminated that if we were cannibals our meat would be banned from human consumption." How did we become so toxic? What thrust us as a culture and as individuals onto this slippery slope? How can we navigate our way back to a healthier and less toxic future? These were some of the questions that haunted me as I undertook the research for this book."

"However, broadly speaking, the evidence indicates that most naturally occurring foods and medicines are healthy for us, as they have been for our species for thousands of years, while many if not most synthetic chemicals in foods and medicines pose some health risk. Exposure to a few toxic substances, or to a wide range of molecules from a variety of synthetics, may not trigger illness or disease in you. But the again, it might. Medical science simply cannot predict who is susceptible to which chemicals, at which dosage levels, or how synergies create toxic conditions in the human body These risk-factor uncertainties during the normal course of our lives constitute a form of biological Russian roulette that each of us plays with our bodies every day based on our food. medicine, and environmental choices."

"By willingly participating in the risky synthetics paradigm we have implicitly agreed to a social contract in which we are each playing the role of guinea pig in a continuing chemical and genetic experiment. Some of us will sicken or die during this experiment. A few of us might mutate and evolve effective immune system defenses. Others of us will decide to no longer play this deadly game. Once the genie of awareness is set loose, once denial is penetrated and the truth is spoken, none of us is have an excuse to play the innocent victim anymore."

"One of the more obvious recurring patterns that emerges from reading the Slippery Slope Index is how often harm is inflicted on human health because of insufficient testing of new chemicals, especially testing of the long-term health effects. ^s we will see in Part II, entrenched institutional forces within the economy and government cooperate to keep the public largely unaware of the extent to which a toxic threat exists within their foods and medicines."

"As we will explore in the next chapter, "disease industries" have sprung up in response to the health ravages of synthetic chemical foods, but what they offer as remedies for symptoms simply become additional toxic body burdens for us to bear."

"Our nations waste^water treatment plants are simply too unsophisticated to remove synthetic chemicals before water is recycled back into the environment. Nor can our municipal water treatment plants, despite the use of chlorine, neutralize all of these synthetic chemicals before we drink the tap water or bathe ourselves in it. Not only that, but most of the nations so.ft drinks and beers are made with municipal tap water, which means we are slowly and cumulatively drugging ourselves in multiple ways."

"Our culture treats medical emergencies and the symptoms of illness and disease relatively well in the short term, thanks to remarkable technological advances in medical science. We are mostly failures, however, when it comes to the prevention of illness and disease and in understanding the importance of using diet to enhance the strength of our immune systems."

"As a result of a century of innovations in synthetic chemical manufacturing, we have inherited a virtually indestructible residue of toxins in the environment. Synthetic chemicals have seared into nature a seemingly immortal stamp. Whether they are pesticides or pharmaceutical drugs, what all of these ; synthetic chemicals set loose among us have in common is the identity of having been conceived by chemists and birthed in laboratories to be "magic bullets." They were intended to either kill something, preserve something, clean something, or mask the symptoms of something. Now we mi;t consider the prospect that some of these chemicals will survive longer than the species who created them."

"Now that we know animal studies may incorrectly imply the absence of risk in humans and that animal tests showing harm may not indicate a real danger to people, where does that leave us regarding health concerns from chemical exposure? The simple answer is that we should use the results of animal tests in biomedical research as suggestive of harm or of safety and not as predictive."

"Protecting ourselves from what we don't know can harm us sometimes requires a a leap of faith into self-reliance. When authority figures and institutions fail us, when the resulting apocalyptic scenarios challenge our ability to cope, we have five thousand years of ancient wisdom about food and medicine to fall back upon."

"For those of you who choose to believe that government or industry or science will rescue us in the near future, consider the following reasons why that hope may be naive: 1. We cannot completely rely upon government at any level to protect us...2. We cannot rely upon manufacturers to place our health above profit margins...3. We cannot completely rely upon science to predict what is healthy or harmful."

"There is a straightforward three-step process you or anyone can initiate u become serious about protecting your health. 1. Limit your exposure to synthetic chemicals of all types at all times. 2. C Get yourself tested to determine your chemical body burden. Develop a detox strategy for yourself to eliminate the toxins detected in your body."

"9 PRACTICAL STEPS YOU CAN TAKE...1. Study the Labels...2. Replace Home Pesticides...3. Drink Wheatgrass juice...4. Do Intermittent Fasting...5. Detox with Saunas...6. Eat Organic Foods...7. Choose Nutritious Organics...8. Compile a Personal Toxins List...9.Read and Sign the Declaration."
5

May 29, 2010

Step One: Admit You Have a Problem
Fitzgerald makes good use of his impressive investigative reporting credentials in this eloquently written classic, which in my opinion achieves its main goal: it takes these concerns and grounds them firmly in historical documentation, research and science. Taking the perspective of a visitor from another planet, Fitzgerald identifies the myths that have become accepted as truth by many of us in modern society, and he asks whether they are keeping us from looking more closely at the way we live: There Is Truth In Labeling, The Government Knows What Is Safe, Drugs Have Extended Our Life Spans, Plastics Are Harmless, and We Can Handle The Body Burden (of toxins) are just some examples.

I particularly enjoyed his chapter "A History of the Hundred-Year Lie" which gives a capsule overview of the many complex factors that have come into play in the last century. His timeline provides a detailed sketch of our increasing use of chemicals in many areas of daily life, and the parallel trail of health and environmental problems that have followed closely in their wake. While causal links are tricky to establish in the web of life, plotting all these points on the same time track was illuminating.

Why title a review as Step One? Similar to a 12-step program, we as a culture are addicted to convenience and all the other benefits that come from a lifestyle built on the premise "Better Living Through Chemistry." We have participated in the creation of a technological consumer culture that is rapidly and radically altering our ability to survive individually and as a species. While a 12-step program is typically tied to a belief in God, I didn't choose that metaphor to be preachy...but it fits in the sense that the issues are so complex that we need deep insight and guidance based on a higher perspective to heal what we have created. And it wouldn't hurt to ask ourselves (taking inventory) whether we need to approach this as addicts, and heal our current dependence on chemicals which are slowly killing us. The author has laid the groundwork for the reader to come to grips with the magnitude of the issue and the scope of changes we need to make to fully assume responsibility for the state of things.

I have only minor quibbles: The Appendix on Ancient Cures is so brief, and far enough outside the scope of this book that it hits an off note; perhaps that material should have been left to another book where it could be explored more fully. In some small sections of the book, Fitzgerald will draw a conclusion that isn't fully justified by his supporting material (even though I agree with some of those conclusions, the material wasn't always there); perhaps this happens in part because he tries to cover a broad landscape and yet keep his work concise.

At times we can see that Fitzgerald has overreached his level of expertise; he isn't a trained biologist or toxicologist. He might address this in a future edition by drawing on a broader cadre of technical reviewers. And as far as next steps, the resources he points the reader toward are very good but could be stronger; as someone who has reviewed a number of books toward the same end, I found especially that the books and resources for detoxifying ourselves that he chose to feature are uneven in quality, some of them being great choices (Rapp, Rodgers), and others relatively weak (Baillie-Hamilton). Several areas of essential personal detoxification could thus be better represented (health and beauty products, healthy home environment, internal detoxification programs, food additives and excitotoxins, and tools/references consumers can use to evaluate the cost/benefit equation of taking specific synthetic pharmaceutical drugs).

The book proper, however, is extremely well-researched and capably written. Fitzgerald has on the whole assimilated and synthesized a broad range of technical material, with many noteworthy works cited within the flow of the story itself. This alone provides us with numerous high-quality resources for further exploration, and would provide any thoughtful reader with plenty of grist for the mill. I learned about (and ordered) a number of books as a result!

I strongly recommend this book. It is a great tool for developing awareness of what the problem is, how it developed, what popular attitudes support it, and how we can begin a journey to restoring balance to ourselves and this precious blue water world that supports our very existence.
2

August 23, 2013

Alarmist...and that's being kind
This book is interesting, and flawed. The author is a journalist, which in my experience translates to: how can we make a story as dramatic and fear based as possible? I have no doubt chemicals, western synthetic meds and such are not all they are promised to be and have dangerous consequences...that's a given. This author claims nothing is safe or healthy anymore-NOTHING. Not organic farming-it's all tainted with blow over pesticides from the neighborhood conventional farms. And there are residues left on and in everything-forever...poisoning everything. All the fishes and wildlife are chemical laden--EVERYWHERE. All our soil is tainted--EVERYWHERE. And our bodies can't get rid of a lot of the toxins and they are our body burdens.

I agree our society is monetarily driven and puts that before the public welfare a lot of times. I agree that the drug companies are greedy and that the current system fails us when it comes to protecting the general public from being used as guinea pigs for new drugs. I agree that certain combinations of compounds can have a detrimental effect on health. What I don't agree with are the conclusions this journalist makes-or the connections between timelines and what happened to the general public as a supposed result. This is supposition and leading by a JOURNALIST. Other things happened in our history during the timelines cited besides just what the author listed that might have contributed. What I have a problem with is the supreme focus on bad, bad, bad---just like the news. As a human race everything we do is not bad, bad, bad. We do live a lot longer than we did 100 years ago. So I am going to focus on that.

Final conclusion: This book is not balanced and is leading.

Addendum:

First I apologize for leaving this out of my review. There is a Part Three of this book that does have some positive things you could do. I found it too thin and too late in the book to be encouraging. Plus...once you say all things are contaminated I have to wonder, is there any coming back from that, aside from living in a bubble? But then the bubble would have to BPA free, and anytime someone gave you sustenance from outside the bubble...once again, contaminants. So go ahead and eat the organic food to better your health but it really isn't truly organic. After a certain point I found myself skipping sentences,then flipping ahead in the book to see if I could find anything good.

The author is brilliant and admirable at fact finding and putting it together all in one place for all the bad things, but what if say for example, the author had used his powers to create a piece of work that talked about what the general public has done to fight against all the synthetics and contaminants? Filling the book with sources of how to combat these evils and perhaps change things for the better with examples of folks who had done just that? Just a thought but of course that would be a different book. For me that would be encouraging and move me to act. This book was unbalanced, and too much focus on the negative tends to start to sound hopeless and like ranting--so why bother? Not my cup of tea. But that's okay. Do you like everything you read?

I gave it two stars because that is Amazon's definition of "I didn't like it." But that doesn't mean that I think the author isn't talented. The only reason I didn't like this book is because the format appeared too fatalistic for me and the silver lining (albeit tainted) was too thin, and too late.

Realistically...I am the minority in this thinking. This book has the majority vote of being a wowser.
5

April 30, 2016

Great read.
I became employed in the water treatment field in April '03, prior to this I did not know or care about what was put into the water system. However, I have since learned how bad this can be on an individuals health. It is highly regulated. This book is one of many that I read on this topic. Every chance I get to tell people about the ill effects of Fluoride I do. This book is well worth reading for anyone concerned about how Fluoride affects our daily life. Also, I have come to the conclusion that unless the general population stands up and says stop, we will be forced to continue putting it into the drinking water.
5

February 1, 2016

A Book That Leaves You Breathless and Wondering about What's Next
This book, written in 2006 and published in 2007, includes all the things you wish you'd known when they were happening, so maybe--just maybe--had we known them at the time, we might have had a way of stopping them. In retrospect, buying this book was just the tip of my suspicions that something awful was going on with the chemical industry, and that something worse is probably coming in the future.

This book is written in everyday language that any lay person can understand. Reading like a can't-put-it-down murder mystery, it's chock-full of sourced, credible information that makes you wonder HOW what's happened was allowed to happen. Decade by decade, the author pinpoints what new health hazards were introduced, and highlights the horror that somebody who was in a position to have stopped these chemicals from destroying our food system, didn't.

In the end, what we know is that we were lied to, and continue to be lied to even as the various destructive, individual chemicals are brought to light. The only question is how long can mankind live like this before there is no help or hope? The final word is that you can bring it all home and work to detoxify yourself, and to avoid as many chemicals as possible, but the ongoing question is how long do you even have to do that, if the system that is supposed to watch out for you is actually watching out for Wall Street and the bottom line?
2

June 30, 2012

the research went a little skewed here
I held out so much hope for this book, reading the synopsis and the reviews. Then, I started reading it.

The author erroneously states that vaccines cause autism, which has been researched to death and verified to be false. The quality of research and how it was presented, its tone was basically set from there. I just couldn't finish this book due to the inaccuracies I found.

For my own interests and to help me in my degree for my bachelor of science, I do a wide array of research reading on chemical effects in the environment and human body, the companies and government bodies that make and regulate them; as well as the medical industry, going into pharmaceuticals and infectious diseases. This book had me wanting to tear my hair out. I am not sure if the author was dumbing down things for the reader, didn't want to get into a better explanation of how certain chemicals came into the environment or the body, or didn't care or research it enough. But it was a gross oversight.

Overall, if you are going to write a book about chemicals and medicines being the evil ones....do a better job at explaining the research. Other books manage it. The people who live in the artic have higher levels of toxins in their bodies not just from dust carrying chemicals...but because they rely heavily on a meat based diet...whale, seal, caribou, fish. Top of the food chain meat where chemicals that have polluted the waters have bioaccumulated in the larger animals due to the process of the food chain. They are also more susceptible to infectious disease not only from weakened immune system, but also because they are an isolated people. They may not see whooping cough or measles within their ISOLATED community for a long time, thus it just takes one individual coming in with an infectious disease their immune system is not as used to like those of more populated areas, and yes, they do get sicker and it does spread more within their community. All I am going to say is, I wish I didn't waste my money on this poorly written book.
4

August 5, 2010

Lotus Guide Magazine Review
The 100-Year Lie: How Food and Medicine Are Destroying Your Health
By Randall Fitzgerald
(ISBN 0-525-94951-8)

I believe we would all live better lives if we had better information, and this book is packed with some of the best information I've read in a while. For instance, did you know that 60 percent of California's rivers and streams tested with high levels of Prozac, Ritalin, and antibiotics? The everyday products that we have around us flood the human body with more than 700 synthetic chemicals, and most of us are becoming aware of the chemistry in our food processing. It's easy to correlate this with the growing susceptibility to autism, attention deficit disorder, and a variety of neurological disorders. I also found it surprising how many of the myths that we have accepted through time are simply not true, such as: fluoridated water is healthy for us, plastics are absolutely safe, drugs have extended our lifespans, and the list goes on. This book is also a breath of fresh air because it offers solutions simply by knowing the facts and showing ways to change our direction through "better living without chemistry.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide
To Believe Or Not To Believe: The Social and Neurological Consequences of Belief Systems
5

September 23, 2018

Great information!
I order products from Amazon almost every single day and never leave reviews. I feel so passionate about the information in this book that I wanted to leave a review. I have spent a lot of time making small changes in my life over the last few years to try and avoid chemicals that these large companies expose us to in order to increase their profits. This book opened my eyes to so much more than what I had already researched on my own. I feel so strongly about trying to spread the information that's in this book that I often talk to friends and family about the book and if they show interest in reading it I buy them a used copy and send it to them. For the cost of around $6 I can potentially help a friend or family member avoid harmful chemicals and possibly help them live a longer healthier life!
5

July 31, 2013

Must Read then pass it on!
Excellent information in an easy to read format. Lots of references in the index. The most disturbing and fasinating chapter is the one where in chronological order the author timelines the use of chemicals in our food supply. Later in the timeline, he also gives you the stats on the ever increasing disease, bacterial outbreaks and ever declining health of Americans. It is an upsetting read however, it needs to be read by everyone. For your own health as well as your children and grandchildren.
4

May 1, 2011

Good, but do your own research before you book a trip to Monsanto's HQ.
Pros: Great detail, references, presentation, and organization. The section on the "100 Year History of Absolute non-Awesomesauce-iosity" was fabulous as it put forth a high-level (but useful) outlook of major milestones in the decline of our commercially available support systems... really worth taking a look if nothing else. I also enjoyed, though find limited use for, the detoxification chapters - they will serve someone well, so long as they don't go overboard. It was good to see some 'new' names in the healthy food / processes / life arena.

Cons: A little bit `too' fearmongery for my tastes. I really think one has to treat this book as a window into the topic (with full intentions to check sources and draw individual conclusions) as there is a readily perceived bias throughout the book. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, per se - the title does set the mood, but it requires quite a bit more discretion and due-diligence on the reader's part. This is not a one stop shop.

Assessment: I would recommend this to someone with the caveat of "do your homework - grain of salt - don't go pie in the sky - et cetera".
5

January 10, 2017

An excellent well written book that exposes the corruption of the ...
An excellent well written book that exposes the corruption of the FDA, our battles with nutrition and food and why things are the way they are when it comes to USA food.

It's so thrilling when an author actually knows how to write in a way that stimulates the reader, yet gives important information
3

July 25, 2011

Eye Opener
This book is such a huge eye opener! My only complaints are that the book didn't dive in deep enough. This book really only scratches the surface because the author doesn't have a background in chemistry or any field relating to the subject of the book. All he is is an investigative reporter and the majority of the book he has to rely on quotes from numerous other books and sources. I enjoyed reading it, however in my eyes it would be more credible if it came from someone with an extensive background in chemistry.
2

December 30, 2013

Didn't find this book very helpful
I didn't find this book very helpful for a couple of reasons. First, I'm looking for a book that focuses more on how I can minimize the impact of environmental hazards. The author only barely touches upon this in the afterword and by providing resources in appendix 1. I also found the book way too repetitive. For example, on page the author states, "A chemical storm is upon us." The previous pages say much the same thing and I feel that, because the author keeps repeating himself, the book lacks substance. Further, I find the level of speculation in the book to exceed my comfort. For example, on page 183 the author explains that phytochemicals in broccoli "act in producing enzymes that fight pain and inflammation, making broccoli potentially more effective than Vioxx and other prescription drugs commonly issued for arthritic conditions." While it is stated in the paragraph that this research came out of Hopkins and was published in a 2005 issue of the Proceedings of the NAS, it is not clear if the author is making the Vioxx claim or the study. Without a proper citation it appears that the author is making the claim. Loose ends like this one makes me doubt the validity of most of the book despite my agreement with its original thesis.
4

March 3, 2011

comprehensive
Well researched topic - easy to read. Great insights on a frightening topic - everyone should read this. Not all bad news - plenty of useful information on solutions to this toxic problem towards the end of the book
5

December 27, 2012

This will change your life
The information on this book will change how you view food, articles of daily life, your shopping habits, and your life in general! You will find yourself reading every label for every item you purchase, looking up ingredients for anything you purchase and taken a new look at how you live your life and how you can change it for the better, improving your health and energy! Highly recommend it to anyone that it is starting to understand the implications that all the chemicals we live with in our daily lives are having a significant and profound effect in out bodies and our abilities to fight disease. 5 starts in my view and more if I was able to give it
1

April 29, 2013

Paranoid
The book in short, says, chemicals are bad. The world is coming to an end thanks to chemicals. Nuclear warheads are not as dangerous as chemicals. We are going to start producing three headed off spring soon. We are genetic mutants. No where is safe. Not the arctic. Not even the moon. Life is not worth living on this chemical infested planet. If we start living like the Amish, we are still doomed for a thousand years.
4

March 4, 2011

Scary revelations
This is a hard book to read though as with each revelation you will get angrier and angrier at the corporate world. It will scare you into eating more healthy alternative foods.
2

Oct 18, 2018

To quote The Princess and the Frog. . . ah shi tanza. This book is . . . something else entirely.

First I’m going to talk about what I liked about this book, because it’s substantially shorter than what I didn’t like.

----------------THE YAYS----------------

>> This book made me do some research into the few cosmetics I use (mascara and eyeliner) and the safety of their ingredients. It also persuaded me to stop using plastic storage containers for food after doing a little more research. To quote The Princess and the Frog. . . ah shi tanza. This book is . . . something else entirely.

First I’m going to talk about what I liked about this book, because it’s substantially shorter than what I didn’t like.

----------------THE YAYS----------------

>> This book made me do some research into the few cosmetics I use (mascara and eyeliner) and the safety of their ingredients. It also persuaded me to stop using plastic storage containers for food after doing a little more research. Yay.

>> The author does believe in SOME medical advances, like kidney dialysis, pacemakers, and heart surgery. He’s a nut, but maybe not the biggest nut at the grocery store. A pistachio, maybe, rather than a Brazil nut.

>> Not all his claims are careless fear mongering. He’s right about some things. Like the fact that chlorine probably causes cancer. And fluoride might, but that’s inconclusive. It’s true that flame retardant fabric treatments are probably carcinogenic. Ditto concerns about dry cleaning fluids. It’s true, too, that processed food gives us a body burden of toxins that probably do some harm to our health. A good diet made from whole, plant-based foods, is great for your long-term health. Finally, it’s pretty obvious that we greatly overmedicate, especially our children.

----------------THE NAYS----------------

BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE GLARING ISSUES WITH THIS BOOK.

I thought this was going to be a science-based book. Kind of like a Michael Pollan-esque thing.

It is not.

It sounds like one, if you read without really paying attention to what’s being said, but the reality is that this book presents fact and fiction side-by-side with zero self-consciousness.

Let’s start with this:

1. VACCINES DO NOT CAUSE AUTISM YOU ILLOGICAL NINCOMPOOP.

I should have known, seeing that in the introduction, of all places, that things were going to go downhill.

And I did know! I did.

But I have a policy where I commit to my books. If I start it, I have to finish it.

Look, he’s not completely wrong when he says vaccines contain mercury and mercury might fuck with your kid’s head. Thimerosal (aka ethyl mercury)-containing vaccines have been linked in some CDC studies to certain (mild) neurological changes (not autism). However, partly because of the public’s concerns, vaccines no longer contain thimerosal or any mercury-containing compounds (with the exceptions of some flu shots).

So where I’m going with this is:

Vaccinate your kid. Vaccinate your kid. Vaccinate your kid.

Did I stutter?

2. He uses statistics uncritically.

For instance, he’ll cite things like “In 1900, cancer was responsible for only 3% of all deaths. Today it is the cause of 20% of all deaths.”

Well, that’s probably true. Of course, in 1900, most people didn’t live long enough to contract cancer. All kinds of things killed them first. Cholera, polio, tuberculosis, typhoid, diphtheria, even the flu.

And do you know why those things no longer kill us? BECAUSE VACCINES. See #1.

3. This phrase, used unironically: “apologists for the synthetics belief system.” Lol how am I supposed to take you seriously when that’s the term you use for your opponents?

4. Some things he references I can’t find any information on. Maybe they’re true. Likely they’re not.

Like this disease supposedly suffered by airline attendants from toxic fumes in the aircraft—colloquially termed “skypoxia.” I can’t find a single mention of this outside of this book.

Or Brick, New Jersey’s apparent “autism epidemic” from “contaminated water.” It just . . . doesn’t have any data to back it up. Brick’s autism levels are similar to other New Jersey regions.

Now I’ll admit this: it’s interesting that New Jersey really does have unusually high levels of autism as a state, and it also happens to be one of the most notoriously polluted states. Is that worth paying attention to? Probably. Still doesn’t mean this wasn’t poorly presented information.

-------------CONCLUSIONS-------------

There is soooo much fear-mongering in this book, and lots of “purity politics.” You know what I’m talking about: instilling moral panic over “toxins” and urging “pure food” and “cleanses.”

That kind of framing is damn seductive to me—someone who had a raging eating disorder as a teenager, and who still obsesses over eliminating “impurities” in her life—from “impure” foods (meat, dairy, eggs, unwashed food, packaged food, food other people made) to to germs (I go through a litre of hand sanitizer a month. Not an exaggeration).

I think it’s a seductive binary to a lot of people. It’s also cheap, melodramatic, and exploits peoples’ fears for profit.

Should we panic about the rampant, uncontrolled use of dangerous plastics and harmful chemicals permitted in our food because of corporate lobbying and influence? Of course. That’s practically a tautology. But should we be panicking about the realities (which are plenty scary enough) or about some shoddy “research” and incorrect data meant to make it seem scarier than it is?

The worst part is, everything in this book sounds credible. He presents it intelligently and convincingly. He cites data to back it up—it suddenly seems like the obvious answer.

But he’s misusing a lot of that data. He’s neglecting to mention important qualifiers, or overreaching with the data’s meaning, or forgetting to note that this “important doctor” he’s quoting has been shunned by the entire medical community as a money-seeking snake oil salesman quack.

*Deep breath.*

Lots of reviews characterize this book as “opening their eyes” to the toxins in their life. I’m glad people are realizing the FDA/EPA do very little (and that it’s a revolving door industry—half of them worked at these companies earlier in their careers- can we say conflict of interest?), but don’t eat this bullshit up uncritically. Learn what you can without accepting fiction as fact.

Read between the lines. Pay attention to what he is saying and how he is saying it. Read critically. Cross-check claims. Cross-check again.

And really, just think for yourself. Do you really believe, in your heart of hearts, all his claims are plausible? That they’re not sensationalized? That he doesn’t stand to make a profit from them? ...more
3

November 7, 2013

More Government Lies
The FDA began as a great idea. It has morphed into another government lie factory. They tell us supplements are to not good for us. But how many drugs have been put on sale after the FDA passed them and they were later recalled for killing people? We don't need a watchdog, we need education from our Dr.'s and other healthcare professionals. Even our Dr.'s aren't getting the education they need from the medical schools to give us the information we need to make educated decisions. And do you think Obamacare will give us that information? Think again.
4

December 27, 2014

Well Studied Author
The author did his research. I liked how his claims were backed up with science since so many will claim that natural is not scientific while synthetic is. This was very informative and helped me to realize just how pervasive the problem of chemical toxins is in our society.
4

Nov 03, 2008

Very informative, lots of research presented. I found it a frustrating book to read in many ways, because the main premise about how we are exposed to all these toxins rings true for their solutions, too, and because everyone has a different level in their bodies, different genes, and we don't really know what/when we're exposed to something new, it's pretty impossible to make an informed decision on how to protect yourself. The opening paragraph of Chapter 9 expresses exactly my exasperation. I Very informative, lots of research presented. I found it a frustrating book to read in many ways, because the main premise about how we are exposed to all these toxins rings true for their solutions, too, and because everyone has a different level in their bodies, different genes, and we don't really know what/when we're exposed to something new, it's pretty impossible to make an informed decision on how to protect yourself. The opening paragraph of Chapter 9 expresses exactly my exasperation. I also found myself questioning, at points, the author's own understanding of all the issues. Sometimes it seemed that I was being persuaded to accept correlations without being shown proof that any research had linked the two previously. However, this journalist has certainly done his research - his bibliography is extensive (although I wish he'd chosen to use footnotes - you can't tell exactly what pieces in a chapter he obtained from which source.) All of this is so hard to pin down without much much more information and it's hard to know what to accept and what is going overboard. But I learned a lot from this book and found it hard to put down. ...more

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