Professor Van Doorn
20 February 2015
The first podcast centers around Mark Schapiro’s book about toxic chemicals that people are exposed to on an everyday basis. He explains some of the medical problems that can result from the chemicals being in a person’s blood—breast cancer, reproductive issues, endocrine issues, mutations in fetuses, etc. One chemical in particular that is talked about is phthalates. Phthalates, he explains, are found in several plastic items such as IV tubes in hospitals, plastic bottles, car dashboards, plastic shower curtains, and even children’s toys. As the phthalates break down, harmful chemicals are released into the air and are then inhaled, causing a variety of medical problems. Also brought up in the discussion, is the fact that the European Union has banned more of the harmful chemicals that the U.S. still allows. The U.S. also does not require business to minimize or list the dangerous chemicals on products that the European Union does require. He researched the economic impacts of banning phthalates and found that making plastics without the chemicals would have no negative economic impact whatsoever. As a result of products with banned chemicals still being produced, products that cannot be sold in Europe are being brought to the United States and being sold anyway. Overall, Schapiro explains how the European Union utilizes a precautionary principle when it comes to avoiding the use of harmful chemicals and toxins in plastics, cosmetics, electronics, etc. while the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Association, although beneficial, are still not as effective in preventing the use of harmful chemicals in everyday products.
In the second podcast, The Dose Doesn’t Always Make the Poison, what is emphasized is the fact that a large number of household products contain chemicals that are potentially harmful to human health, even in low...