The purpose of this paper is to reflect on Sandra Steingraber's book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment. I will examine Sandra Steingraber's compilation of scientific studies that link environmental pollution, contamination and toxicity to various types of cancers in humans and in animals as well. I will also discuss my personal opinion of the book, how my thinking and perspective has changed as a result of this book, and the importance and value of educating oneself by reading books such as this.
RUNNING HEAD: MY REFLECTIONS ON LIVING DOWNSTREAM 3
My Reflections on Living Downstream: An Ecologist
Looks at Cancer and the Environment
Sandra Steingraber, an acclaimed ecologist, biologist, author, and cancer survivor has spent years educating others on the environmental factors that contribute to reproductive health problems and various types of cancers. Her book titled Living Downstream, which was first published in 1997, was one of the first books to bring together the data on environmental toxicity and the data on cancer incidences in an effort to expose any patterns that may exists. The result is an intriguing personal narrative, in which Steingraber breaks down a wealth of scientific data and medical literature into an easily comprehendible analysis of the relationship between environmental factors such as the food we ingest, the water we drink, and air that we breathe, and the land on which we live and work, to cancers of all kinds. The book begins by paying tribute to Rachel Carson, a wildlife biologists and author of Silent Spring which was published in 1962. Carson's work, much like Steingraber's, pioneered the discussions surrounding chemical pollutants and the environment. Carson sounded the alarm to the infamous DDT, which was banned some years later. No doubt, Steingraber was influenced by the writings of Carson. But I believe that her true motivation for writing such a cautionary book...