Investigative reporter Mark Schapiro explains in a new book that toxic chemicals exist in many of the products we handle every day — agents that can cause cancer, genetic damage and birth defects, lacing everything from our gadgets to our toys to our beauty products.
And unlike the European Union, the U.S. doesn't require businesses to minimize them — or even to list them, so consumers can evaluate the risks. Schapiro argues that that policy isn't just bad for public health: In an increasingly green economy, he says, American businesses stand to get shut out of a huge market.
Schapiro, editorial director of the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting, has written for Harper's, The Nation, Mother Jones and The Atlantic Monthly. His book is called Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products, and What's at Stake for American Power.