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Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products - Who's at Risk and What's at Stake for American Power

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  230 ratings  ·  43 reviews
New evidence seems to arrive dailyfrom stories about tainted pet food to toxic toysof the dangerous consequences that lax environmental policies are having on the consumer products that we, and our children, use every day thanks to lobbying efforts by the U.S. chemical industry.Meanwhile, the European Union is forcing these global corporate giants to chart a new path that, ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published September 5th 2007 by Chelsea Green Publishing Company
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Start your review of Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products - Who's at Risk and What's at Stake for American Power
Dec 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The E.U. is currently implementing environmental safeguards that are much more stringent than those in the United States — eliminating toxic materials, overseeing the entire life cycle of a product, and generally holding up the precautionary principle as the guidepost for consumer safety decisions.

So what does this mean for American manufacturing and consumers? As Mark Schapiro lays bare, it means a lot. Specifically, if American manufacturers want continued access to the buying power of the EU
Christian Cabunag
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mark Schapiro's Exposed is about America's decline in power in the world's manufacturing industries. Schapiro explores the different dangerous, and unhealthy products that America uses, and sells to other countries to continue manufacturing. These products however, are cheap, and low quality to the American people. Countries such as China, Mexico, countries in Africa, and Southeast Asia take part in American businesses, such as Toys r Us to make these products. Schapiro explains that since Ameri ...more
Lindsay L
Oct 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Americans being sold down the river by their own government - it's not a new story, but it's still a compelling one. Mark Schapiro reveals the dirty business of major manufacturers - from cosmetics giants to companies producing household cleansers, electronics and even baby toys that are full of toxic chemicals proven to cause disease and sickness. Yet big business lobbyists have effectively quelched any new legislation requiring manufacterers to remove these harmful chemicals. Perhaps most shoc ...more
Nov 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Americans
This is a really good book about how the United States has become the dumping ground for all the toxic chemicals that the European Union and other countries have banned. Since the EU banned thousands of toxic chemicals based on the precautionary principle, multinationals have developed alternative less toxic products that meet EU standards while continuing the produce and sell the old toxic ones here because the gov't lets them. Plus, all these chemical companies are making great progress and mo ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best surprise book gifts I've ever received. My sister bought it for me for Christmas one year and it has stuck with me.

I lent it out and have never seen it back. It is probably time to purchase it again!

The gist is that the U.S. lost our leadership position with respect to consumer product protection and why that is a bad thing for the economy and our health.
May 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is 11 years old so kind of old information.
Victoria Klein
Aug 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
When I received my copy of Exposed by Mark Schaprio in the mail, I thought I was going to be reading a laundry list of dangerous yet everyday chemicals that degrade the human experience. As the old saying goes,” close, but no cigar.”

Not only did I learn about the widely untested yet ubiquitous chemicals we encounter daily, I also learned about the utter impotence of the United States government to take a concern for its citizens – something that won’t come as a surprise to most of you.

Mark Schap
Jan 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, non-fiction
This book gives a good overview of the new EU environmental regulations that are going into effect, and how those are shifting the old America-as-global-ruler-in-everything paradigm. I must say that I was hoping this book would focus more on the environmental/social aspect of toxins and not just the political, but it still made for a somewhat interesting read. (Most annoying were the typos and blatant errors. Is David Wirth a professor at BC or BU?!)

The one thing I found particularly interesting
P.S. Carrillo
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
We all know that the world has been poluted with man made poisons, what most of us don't realize is that these toxins have infiltrated every living system including ourselves. Schapiro covers toxic chemicals in everyday use such as cosmetics, GMOs, e-waste, pesticides and links each to the criminal negligence of governments, namely the U.S. to regulate and or ban these substances. He extensively cites all the regulations of the EU and makes the case that the U.S. has lost substantial influence i ...more
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shapiro unleashes an unabashedly biased diatribe against the US regulatory agencies and the chemical industries they are supposedly watchdogging.

His primary point is well taken: The Bush administration's dogged determination to tear down all federal regulatory authority has only encouraged the European Union to write our rules for us. So, since our economies are intertwined, instead of less regulation, we will now have more, but without US input, and results that are beyond our control.

It is u
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing

Mark Schapiro, the chief editor for the Center for Investigative Reporting will speak tonight at the bookstore where i work (Red Hill Books on Cortland) to talk about his book Exposed which is about how the EU is going to kick the US economy's ass (already is) especially where green packaging and product is concerned as European countries seem to be the only ones following our long ago established guidelines for health and safety regarding the host of petroleum products we ingest every day.

Jennifer Wilson
Apr 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
"Chronic chemical exposure generally occurs in minute quantities that accrue over time; assessing their precise effect is extremely difficult. But the sheer abundance of toxins to which women are routinely exposed - through cosmetics as well as numerous other products - prompted the Breast Cancer Fund, a non-profit group of health care advocates, to assert that as many as one-half of new breast cancer cases cannot be explained by known risk factors, such as genetic predisposition, smoking, or es ...more
Dec 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing

Awesome book.
Original take on muckraking the toxins, the even more pervasive toxins, in the most seemingly innocuous products.

it is a great call to arms:

if we don't follow our own guidelines toward safety and we continue to turn our backs on our health, then we are doomed in an increasingly green conscious marketplace. and we are getting sicker and sicker while losing more money!


Mark Schapiro will make a personal appearance at Red Hill's house at 401 Cortland
on December 13th at 7pm an
Shin Furuya
Aug 07, 2011 marked it as to-read
Provides a good overview and analysis of regulatory gap between the US and Europe (and the world), deconstructing the myths of the US environmental leadership while warning the increased risks for massive use of toxic chemicals in various products without ever being tested (or even being tested and has some negative implications). It's pretty easy to follow with each chapter focuses on specific industries, most of which are key industries for chemical uses. The US government's reactionary polici ...more
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
An excellent venture into how and why America is losing power in today's global economy. Although Japan, China, Mexico and the European Union are making great strides to protect consumers from toxic chemicals, genetically modified foods and other carcinogenic/mutagenic substances US political and industrial leaders are dragging their feet to comply. Their excuses as to why compliance will ruin American industry just don't add up and are actually destroying America's ability to compete in the glo ...more
Jul 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Started this thinking "great, a real 'upper' book for the start of the year" but I'm three chapters in and it's really not that bad. It's also not one of those Warning! Disaster LOOMS! books, which is nice.

On the other hand, the author injects himself into the "story" too often, and adds (IMVHO) unnecessary color to the narrative. This isn't Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, peopled with charming, colorful characters, it's a nonfiction work looking at the changing world of chemicals and p
Dec 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: moms, dads, Americans, consumers, voters
ossibly one of the driest books ever. like eating a bowl of shredded wheat without milk. basically you need to fortify yourself with like a double espresso and a very uncomfortable chair, and you'll be all set. but it is a worthwhile thing to read. hmm, i think the take home message is 'if you want to avoid toxic shit, move to europe because at least the people in charge there aren't paid to ignore it.' yikes. it certainly didn't make me feel very good about plastic toys. phthalates = bad news. ...more
Nov 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was a huge eye opener on the lack of protection that the United States provides for everyday consumers. I heard some people criticizing the book on campus saying that it "wasn't enough scientific information explaining the detail of the toxins in products". I understand why they are saying that there isn't enough information on that, however the book's thesis was not about the toxins. The thesis was that we already know there are toxins in our products, however the United States is ch ...more
Jun 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Schapiro documents the rise of the European Union and the economic power shift occurring. Seeking stricter safety regulations and healthy products in spite of US protests, the EU is leading the world to new standards in manufacturing. Why aren't US manufacturers protecting US citizens from carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins when the EU can and does demand higher standards. The US is becoming the dumping ground for goods not wanted elsewhere and the health of our food exports are incre ...more
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I picked this book up at a used book store, and it changed how I viewed global markets in one afternoon. If you cannot understand why corporations battle current environmental and health policy-making in Washington, this book will open your eyes to why those companies do not want change. If America does not adopt a preventative attitude like those policies that are developed in Brussels, you might count on this country becoming a third-world nation that suffers as a dumping ground for the world' ...more
Natasha P.
Oct 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who uses any cosmetic and/ or personal care product sold in the USA
The many products that we use everyday of our lives from mascara to lotion is what's behind such things as infertility, cancer etc. The US government has NO AGENCY that regulates what toxic substances that are put in our personal care products. ...more
Selena Calingo
Feb 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
This book illustrates why our government just doesn't work for the people anymore. At times, reading this, I was thoroughly disgusted with the US. Europe seems to have the right preventative approach to the toxicity problem. ...more
Feb 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
An unsettling look at the non-regulation of personal care products, and the disingenuous way corporations have fought to keep toxic ingredients on our shelves. I went out and bought new baby shampoo after reading this.
Russ Stratfull
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is frightening but has been a great read. Makes me realize how much our government has abandoned our safety. Before this book, I didn't realize that the EPA and the FDA stopped being the global trend setters for what is safe in the market place for consumers. ...more
Oct 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: hippies, natural food eaters
Recommended to Mason by: a lady by a river
I was expecting this book to be entertaining and informative, and it was both. Not a very difficult read and full of details on the microscopic and macroeconomic consequences of our everyday household purchases.
Sep 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
You'll never want to drink from plastic or wear make-up again after you read this book. Demonstrates how the US is FAR behind the EU in regulating and keeping consumers safe from chemicals we are exposed to every day. READ IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN. ...more
Jun 28, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
So far I am really, really enjoying this book. I'm learning a ton about the politics of the chemicals we use in our society -- and the gnarly stuff that we have in products in the USA that are banned abroad. ...more
Luke Reisdorf
Feb 25, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is focused on the differences in regulation of chemicals in Europe verses’ the US and how they may be encouraging innovative alternatives in Europe, benefiting their economy while suspect chemicals remain grandfathered in and in use in the US.
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I don't read nonfiction, but this is a wake-up call and it has inspired me to pursue public policy as a possible career choice. ...more
Jan 07, 2008 rated it liked it
overview of the EU's regulatory approach to toxic chemicals compared to the approach of the US. pretty dry read. the synopsis on NPR's Fresh Air is a welcome synopsis. ...more
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Mark Schapiro is editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting in San Francisco. He has written extensively on foreign affairs and his work has appeared in Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine and other publications, and he has reported stories for Frontline, NOW with Bill Moyers, and public radio's Marketplace. Schapiro lives in San Francisco, California" ...more

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