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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.

Is Our World Toxic? Ask a Mother

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: : toxins, health, plastics, endocrine disruptors, toxicity research, science, environment, Keith Goetzman,

California pesticide protest 

All this concern about toxins in plastic toys, baby bottles, breast milk, shampoos—is it partly the result of a bunch of worry-prone uber-moms worked up over exaggerated rumors and dubious science?

No way, reports Judith Shulevitz at The New Republic, who investigates “The Toxicity Panic” and ultimately finds that it’s not a panic at all but a rational response to real dangers. In fact, Shulevitz suggests that by and large, the mothers have been right:

Shulevitz reports that new biomonitoring technology has led to startling discoveries about toxins and their effect on humans, especially endocrine disruptors, the substances at the core of bisphenol-A health concerns. No longer is it always true that “the dose makes the poison,” as the longstanding and overly simplistic scientific bromide goes. Her article is a sobering summation of the current state of toxicity research and regulation—or, rather, the lack thereof.

Ultimately, Shulevitz admits a certain sense of vindication:

Source: The New Republic (full article available only to subscribers) 

Image by Kevin Krejci, licensed under Creative Commons.