Gunsonm's Reviews > Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health

Slow Death by Rubber Duck by Rick Smith
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Jul 30, 11


I recommend this book very highly, and consider it to be the second most important book I’ve read this year. The most important was “Sea Sick: The Hidden Crisis of Global Ocean Change”. “Slow Death by Rubber Duck”, however, is more personal and more entertaining to read, and while it contains very disturbing data, it ends with a hopeful message and action items to improve our lives and those of our families. Written by a couple of Canadians out of Toronto, it is well written, with plenty of references, a good index, and some referrals to online websites for more information or to take action.

This book gave a good example of how to conceptualize concentrations of toxins as low as one part per billion. If a drop of water were to contain a toxin, such as BPA at a concentration of one part per billion, that drop of water would contain over 100 billion molecules of the toxin. Animal studies have indicated BPA can act at concentrations in the low trillions of a part. These sorts of results point to there being no ‘safe’ level of these compounds, and we need to lobby to have this substance banned outright.

As a result of reading this book, I finally got around to turfing my non-stick pans, which I had used very seldom in the past year or so. Links to a higher incidence of prostate cancer was the final straw. I will also be returning a pair of pants I just bought last week from Costco, because of the lycra in them – I did not realize that Lycra is a compound including polyurethane and poly-urea molecules, (which I checked out online), both of which are carcinogenic and highly flammable. The pants, made in Pakistan, probably have a flame retardant in the material, which in turn is likely made of some sort of bromelated molecule, which are also implicated in health issues ranging from cancers to neurological disorders (such as Parkinson’s). Who needs it? I choose to vote with my dollars for simpler materials that have no built-in health risks associated with them.

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