The Dangers of Toxic Chemicals

Learn about the toxic chemicals in your home and environment and the failures of agencies established to protect humans from these health hazards

Tragic failures : how and why we are harmed by toxic chemicals

Cranor, Carl F. Oxford 2017
252p bibl index, 9780190635756 $29.95, 9780190635770

Toxic chemicals in homes, communities, and workplaces cause more diseases than are often recognized, and agencies that are supposed to protect humans (e.g., the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) “tragically fail” in this regard. Cranor (philosophy, Univ. of California, Riverside) singles out the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) for “special mention because of its shortcomings.” There are few incentives for companies to address hazards, but significant incentives exist for hiding hazards. Industries invest heavily in disinformation campaigns, trying to create doubt, and deliberately mischaracterize scientific evidence by demanding some elusive “ideal science.” Parties injured by chemicals rarely succeed in gaining monetary redress, despite tort law intended for their protection. The chapters of this work address a range of topics, such as the impact of Supreme Court decisions and the fallacy of “ideal science,” which threatens health and toxicology research. The book also includes discussions of how both public health law and tort law offer the opportunity for companies, agencies, and the public to “make better choices” related to protection from toxic chemicals. This interesting work emphasizes “the interface of science, law, and philosophy.”

Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.
Reviewer: M. Gochfeld, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Subject: Science & Technology – Health Sciences
Choice Issue: oct 2017