Greening our Chemical Footprint / Resources

What you will find in this section

  • Greening Our Chemical Footprint – The Green Deal
  • State of the art: Three big picture medical/scientific publications
  • Great Websites
  • Reading Material

We need to green our chemical footprint by addressing the crisis of environment with the crisis of livelihood and the disproportionate way poor people carry the burden of industrial pollution at the same time. Every important non-carbon industry economist agrees there is a new industrial revolution already taking place in energy – the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy now is in windmills. The Chinese have thrown hundreds of billions of dollars at solar and other green energy manufacture. The new prosperity that creating a sustainable economy would bring, on the chemical as well as the energy fronts – would result in just those “good green jobs” we need. This way lies a livable 21st century. But we must be equally creative and pro-active on the chemical front too.

Graphic: Integrated Health Blog.com

To do this we – and in the first instance, our elected representatives who guide the various ships of state – have to change thinking, shift paradigms, look at the world in a different way. These twinned objectives – livelihood and environment – must inform how economic development is pursued, how laws and public policy are formulated – absolutely on chemical manufacture and use – on how to build infrastructure and use incentives and disincentives in subsidies, how to understand and act to protect public health, in how to educate for and practice medicine and provide health care.

In the years of the Great Depression, the United States adopted the New Deal – an overarching, multi-faceted plan to mobilize the power of government, through the taxation and distribution powers of government, to build critical infrastructure, support enterprise and promote social projects and services that would cohere, support and revive American society and the American economy. Many other countries took this Keynsian approach too.

Today, we need the same overarching vision and mobilization; but today, it needs to turn toward environment as well as jobs. Former Vice President Al Gore has proposed a Global Marshall Plan, so the global North can assist the global South to transition of claean energy. But we need a transformation, on more than energy, today, right here. We need a Green Deal. We are beginning to move in the right direction on climate change – through programs based in what people are now calling “climate justice”. But we are still a century behind on the need to green our chemical footprint, and on how to integrate both energy and chemistry these while ensuring that those who work in the brown industries are supported in their transition to green.

So, since the conception of this multifaceted, pro-active, redistributive approach must, by definition, precede its execution, all of us as citizens and as those seeking public office office need to understand the issues involved in greening our chemistry – the science, the medicine, the economics, the politics, and the alternatives. It can be done. Click here to see ten examples of companies doing it today!

The goal in a sentence:  radically green our chemical footprint by regulating and banning harmful chemicals and substituting benign ones, which we can often do; or by substituting different ways of doing things, for example, organic farming, for chemical pesticide-dependent farming.

We need to do this in order to save the health and viability of our envelope of life and our own species itself from the corroding effects of today’s brown chemistry industries and their results in industrial pollution and consumer products that affect us all, and our children most 

You don’t need to take my word for it, there’s so much information available today. One quick way to get an overview is to watch the documentary film, The Human Experiment, produced and narrated by Sean Penn. Viewing Chemerical,, a trip through the toxic chemicals in most people’s homes by filmmaker Andrew Nisker, is also an eye-opener.

 

You may want to get reading after that, or maybe you’re ready to leap in now. If you’re new to the issue, two very accessible books you may want to check out are The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being by Nena Baker and the very engaging and informative Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie.

Because there’s so much to read – studies, reports, articles, books, journalism in so many venues – what I’ve done here is to create an idiosyncratic collection of references that I have found extremely useful. And I’ve divided this information into three sections. Please be sure to scroll down for the second and third sections – they’re well below the fold.

State of the Art: a trio of accessible medical/science publications, two brand new, and a third that goes with it, that – providing you like to read stuff like this – should rock your world because of what these say on their own about the extent of adverse health effects from ubiquitous chemicals, and what they mean in relation to each other. (Jump to State of the Art)

Internet Resources: A collection of excellent websites that allow easy reading and access to lots of really important material, including scientific and popular material about which products are toxic, healthy substitutes for those, updates on regulatory and other initiatives, ongoing news on chemically-related matters of all kinds, guides to action – and much more. (Jump to Great Websites)

Mostly books: A reading list of acclaimed books for those who want to read in more depth about health impacts, corporate venality, deceit and corruption, the solutions we need to change our chemical regime. Some popular, some scholarly and scientific. All accessible. (Jump to Reading Material)

State of the art: Three big picture medical/scientific publications on adverse health effects

  

Hot off the press – The stunning new NIEHS/EPA Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Centers Impact Report:  Protecting children’s health where they live, learn, and play, the EPA report on the impacts of industrial and consumer chemicals on children’s health, that links everyday exposures to bisphenol A (a plasticizer found in myriad goods), flame retardants (in our furniture, bedding, clothing) and in pesticides (in our food chain, golf courses, gardens and homes) with asthma, poor b​irth outcomes, ​cancer, and brain and behavioural problems​, immune dysfunction, autism spectrum disorder and obesity​. The reportestimates the cost of environmentally related diseases in children at $76 billion a year. Read about it at and download it here.

An important 2011 studyEarly Exposures to Hazardous Chemicals/Pollution and Chronic Disease: A Scoping Review, A Report from the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the Ontario College of Family Physicians and the Environmental Health Institute of Canada, is also powerful, especially when combined with the EPA’s new report. This was an important piece because it showed how extensively, by 2011, correlations had been made by researchers among between certain classes of chemicals in everyday products and certain types of diseases and disorders.

Also new, and so importantThe chemical disruption of human metabolism. Stephen J. Genuis, M.D., & Edmond Kyrillos (2017) http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15376516.2017.1323986. Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, ISSN: 1537-6516 (Print) 1537-6524 (Online) http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/itxm20 DOI: 10.1080/15376516.2017.1323986.

Great Websites

Environmental Defense (Canada) http://environmentaldefence.ca/

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Working Group (USA) http://www.ewg.org/

 

 

 

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) https://endocrinedisruption.org/

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition (U.S.A.) http://saferchemicals.org/

The Chemical Sensitivity Foundation http://www.chemicalsensitivityfoundation.org/

Children’s Health and the Environment http://cehn.org/

Canadian Partnership for Children’s Health and the Environment (CPCHE) http://www.healthyenvironmentforkids.ca/

Contested Illness Research Group http://www.brown.edu/Research/Contested_Illnesses_Research_Project/

Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) http://cape.ca/

Ecology Center (Ann Arbor) http://www.ecocenter.org/

Health Care Without Harm https://noharm.org/

Pesticides Action Network (PAN) http://www.panna.org/

Physicians for Social Responsibility http://www.psr.org/

Canadian Environmental Law Association http://www.cela.ca/

Michigan Environmental Council http://www.environmentalcouncil.org/

Oil Sands Truth http://oilsandstruth.org/

Greenpeace Canada Greenpeace USA http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/home/ http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/

Photo: Greenpeace

Sierra Club Michigan Environmental Justice Program http://www.sierraclub.org/michigan/environmental-justice

Anne Steinemann, Ph.D., Professor of Civil Engineering, and Chair of Sustainable Cities, University of Melbourne, Australia. https://www.findanexpert.unimelb.edu.au/display/person709828. Leading scientific investigator of indoor air quality, consumer product safety. Also find MCS bibliography. http://www.drsteinemann.com/

Chemistry for Life: Examples of Green Chemistry https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/greenchemistry/what-is-green-chemistry/examples.html

Top Green Chemistry Companies https://www.ventureradar.com/keyword/Green%20Chemistry

A Toxic Tour of Canada’s Chemical Valley – VICE https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/a-toxic-tour-of-canadas-chemical-valley

‘Cancer Alley,’ Louisiana, https://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/cancer-alley-big-industry-bigger-illness-along-mississippi-river.html

Reading Material

World-Changing Classics

Silent Spring. Rachel Carson. Houghton Mifflin. New York 1962

Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment. Sandra Steingraber.Addison-Wesley. Reading, MA 1997.

Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening our Fertility, Intelligence, and Suvival? A Scientific Detective Story. Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanowski and John Peterson Myers. Foreword by Al Gore. Penguin. New York 1997 (on endocrine disrupting properties of microdoses)

Doubt is their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health. David Michaels. Oxford University Press. New York 2008

Accessible reads on everyday chemicals

The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being. Nena Baker. North Point Press/Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. New York 2008

Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Life Affects Our Health. Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie. Vintage Canada. Toronto 2009

Science and the politics of adverse effects of chemicals and petrochemical production

A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice. Toban Black, Stephen D’Arcy, Tony Weiss, Joshua Kahn Russel, eds. Forward by Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben. Between The Lines Press. Toronto 2014

Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivities – Exxon Valdez Cleanup, Gulf War, World Trade Center Attack, Hurricane Katrina. Alison Johnson. Cumberland Press. Brunswick, ME 2009.

Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research. Thomas McGarity and Wendy E. Wagner. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, MA 2008

The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink. Robert Norris, MD. Harper Collins. New York 2007

Child Honouring – How to Turn This World Around. Foreword by the Dalai Lama. Edited by Raffi Cavoukian and Sharna Olfman. Praeger, hardcover 2006. Paperback 2010

Contested Illnesses: Citizens, Science and Health Social Movements. Phil Brown, Rachel-MorelloFrosch, Stephen Zavestoski, and the Contested Illness Research Group. University of California Press. Berkeley, CA 2012

Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution. Gerald Markowitiz and David Rosner. Milbank/Uninversity of California Press. Berkeley 2003 and 2013.

Diagnosis Mercury: Money, Politics & Poison. Jane Hightower MD. Island Press/Shearwater Books. Washington D.C. 2009

Endocrine Disruptors, Brain, and Behavior. Heather B. Patisaul and Scott M. Belcher. Oxford University Press 2017

Endocrine Disruption and Human Health 1st Edition. Philippa D. Darbre, ed. Elsevier/Academic Press 2015. eBook ISBN: 9780128011201 Hardcover ISBN: 9780128011393

 

Engineering Green Chemical Processes. Thomas F. DeRosa, Ph.D. McGraw-Hill Education. 2014. 

Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice. By Paul T. Anastas and John C. Warner, University Press. 2000. 

 

Lake Effect: Two Sisters and a Town’s Toxic Legacy. Nancy A. Nichols. Shearwater Books/The Center for Resource Economics. Washington D.C. 2008. 

Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientist Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. Bloomsbury Press. New Yor

Pandora’s Poison: Chlorine, Health, and a New Environmental Strategy. Joe Thornton. MIT Press. Cambridge, MA 2000

Poison on Tap: How Government Failed Flint, and the Heroes Who Fought Back. The Staff of Bridge Magazine 2016. https://www.createspace.com/6314585

Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA. E.G. Vallianatos (20-year EPA veteran) with McKay Jenkins. Bloomsbury Press. New York 2014

When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution. Devra Davis. Basic Books, New York, 2003

The Secret History of the War on Cancer. Devra Davis. Basic Books, New York 2007

Sacrifice Zones: The Front Lines of Toxic Chemical Exposure In The United States. Steve Lerner. Foreword by Phil Brown. MIT Press. Cambridge, MA 2012.

Toxic Exposures: Contested Illness and the Environmental Health Movement. Phil Brown. Foreword by Lois Gibbs. Columbia University Press. New York 2007

 

Trespass Against Us: Dow Chemical and The Toxic Century. Jack Doyle. Environmental Health Fund/Common Courage Press. Monroe, ME 2004

A popular protest banner and T-shirt emblem

A new politics for present-day environmental challenges

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Naomi Klein. Simon and Shuster. New York 2015

This Changes Everything The film: Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein. Joslyn Barnes, producer. 2015 https://thischangeseverything.org/

Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis. George Monbiot. Verso Books. London, 2017.

The Next World War: Tribes, Cities, Nations and Ecological Decline. Roy Woodbridge. University of Toronto Press. Toronto 2007

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