Confronting the Poisonous Legacy of PCBs
By Ted Dracos
(Beacon Press (MA), Paperback, 9780807006320, 294pp.)
Publication Date: March 6, 2012
List Price: $24.00*
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Whether or not you've heard of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), it's likely that this toxic chemical can be found in your cells. PCBs were invented in 1920 for the electronics industry, fueled the WWII military machine, then were put to domestic uses, and finally came to be present in every corner of the earth. Because PCBs were outlawed in 1976, most people think they are no longer a threat. However, like many industrial chemicals, PCBs persist in our environment and continue to accumulate in practically every life form on earth, becoming more concentrated in the tissues of those highest on the food chain--like us.
In Biocidal, investigative journalist Ted Dracos explores the science behind how PCBs affect the environment, amphibians, fish, and mammals. He also draws on extensive research to document the connection between PCBs and catastrophic human illness. From the beginning--even as workers in the first manufacturing plants quickly began to suffer skin lesions, boils, liver failure, and death--the industry denied the danger of its chemicals and manipulated science, regulatory agencies, and the government to continue to make and distribute PCBs throughout the next half-century. Dracos provides the latest scientific findings in the heated controversy that surrounds the continued health impacts of PCBs, ranging from cancer to immunosupression, endocrine disruption, fetal brain development, reproductive abnormalities, and even autism.
Yet Biocidal is optimistic, leaving readers with a complete and surprisingly uncomplicated blueprint of what can be done--and is being done--to counter the risks and damages of PCBs and other industrial chemicals.
he has worked extensively in the area of social policy -- scientific, medical, and judicial -- for network affiliates in San Antonio, San Diego, and Minneapolis. He has also worked as a writer, producer, and consultant for ABC's 20/20, Fox's America's Most Wanted, and Orion Telepictures' Crimewatch. His work has been featured in Conde Nast's "Self" magazine and the "American Journalism Review", among other publications. As an adjunct professor of broadcast journalism, he was a member of the faculty at Incarnate Word University in San Antonio. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he lives in Concan, Texas.