Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry Of Everyday Products And What’s At Stake For American Power, by Mark Schapiro
There are a lot of people who would not read this book, at least very much of it, because the author makes his obvious left-wing bias so obvious from the start and so consistent throughout the book that it requires a great deal of patience and forbearance to overlook the biased and illegitimate perspective of this book from completely overwhelming any useful and salutary points that the author is trying to make by a variety of evidence as well as his own not inconsiderable rhetorical skills. An example of the heavy-handed and lamentable bias of this work is the way in which this book spares no opportunity to bash former president George W. Bush (even his more moderate father) or to view Obama as a potential savior for leftist statists who want increased government regulation in the belief that this would actually help matters in the United States and arrest the decline of the United States as the arbiter of strong environmental standards. It seems almost uncharitable to note that this hope appears spectacularly unrealized to the point of being painfully obvious even to someone as biased and as immune to reality as the author.
That said, to the extent that one is able to overcome the author’s seeming inability to show any kind of balanced or fair perspective on political matters (which is especially lamentable as political analysis appears to be a main theme of this book), or the author’s immense praise of European and even Chinese regulations (showing a common leftist devotion to rhetoric in the absence of actual enforcement) without showing the same kind of respect where respect is due for markets (especially when they are not corrupted), there are actually some good points to draw from this book, despite the considerable effort it takes to read this book while holding one’s nose closed to avoid the stench of its offensive rhetoric. Given that I have already sufficiently explained why I cannot recommend this book as a worthwhile read, I think it is important to comment at least briefly on why this book is not a total waste of time either, even if it is not really worth the paper it is printed on.
One of the things that this book thoughtfully exposes is the self-serving and hypocritical rhetoric of many corporate lobbyists and the chemical and agricultural firms that hire them in terms of complying quite profitably with European regulations while complaining that even watered down state and federal efforts at regulation would be too burdensome. As much as our political culture lacks any kind of virtue (which is why Cover Oregon’s website and the slightly less buggy healthcare.gov website are the poster children of why government cannot be trusted to help solve our social evils), our corporate culture lacks virtue as well, and one thing this book does well and accurately is demonstrate through data, lots of data (most of it published via European efforts at consumer education and forgotten studies by American scientists wasting taxpayer money), that American companies are behaving in a way that threatens the health of Americans in countless ways, ranging from genetic modification of food to carcinogenic and hormone-changing chemicals in products from children’s toys to women’s makeup. Even accounting for the flaming rhetoric of this book, there is enough genuine truth to be found in its pages to encourage ordinary citizens to become more active in seeking to police our corrupt corporations, for we cannot rely on our businesses or our governments to act in our best interests.