Biocidal: Confronting the Poisonous Legacy of PCBs

Ted Dracos. Beacon, $29.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8070-0612-2
Investigative reporter Dracos (Ungodly) shines a bright light on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the resulting grand science experiment in which all living creatures now participate, whether they know it or not. "So efficient are PCBs at migrating from the environment to the cells of living creatures," Dracos writes, "that there is probably not a human being alive who doesn't have PCBs locked somewhere in his or her tissues." PCBs originated in 1920, and stories of the companies that manufactured and used them in mammoth quantities will satisfy those looking for evidence of corporate depravity, greed, fraud, and downright unethical or even inhumane behavior. With a driving, fast-paced narrative, Dracos traces the history of Monsanto; a corporate physician who hid many health effects that were uncovered in manufacturing and use; and the discovery by a Swedish scientist that PCBs were not only in all the fish he sampled but in the blood of his own family. Dracos goes on to discuss the regulatory changes that began in the 1970s as well as years of stonewalling by GE to avoid cleanup of the Hudson River. Dracos's straightforward reporting delivers one blow after another, but concludes with a seemingly simple, though politically loaded, two-step solution to chemical contamination. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 174 pages - 978-0-8070-1155-3
Paperback - 294 pages - 978-0-8070-0632-0
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