Book Review: How Everyday Products Make People Sick by Paul D. Blanc

In the first two chapters of his book, Dr. Blanc calls to attention the largely forgotten histories of occupational and environmental health hazards and how manufacturers often do everything in their power to oppose efforts to minimize the risks associated with such hazards. He points out how many of the disease that we consider to be modern problems, things like carpal tunnel syndrome and sick building syndrome, are just new names for conditions that have been around for hundreds, even thousands of years. The remainder of the book is largely a series of case studies on a wide range of products that can make you sick. Things like glues, plastics, rayon, rubber, and brass. There's an entire chapter dedicated to the discovery, industrial use, and toxicity of chlorine. Emphasis is placed on both worker exposure during product manufacturing and consumer exposure via product use and environmental pollution. It's genuinely neat stuff; It's not too dry, and it's never too scientifically dense. Dr. Blanc seamlessly incorporates interesting personal anecdotes and apt references to pop culture (lots of song lyrics), while effectively utilizing quotations from historical writings (scientific, descriptive, and fictitious) to illustrate his points. It's very well written, and it makes me happy.

Although many everyday products can potentially make you ill, first aid supplies and other medical supplies can help you to get better. There are many suppliers available online. It is important to know first aid, even if you aren't working in nursing occupations.

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