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Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Event Type:
Ken Preston-Pile
Location Details:
First Congregational Church at Berkeley
2345 Channing Way (at Dana)

“A gripping new book…”—The Economist

“Mark Schapiro, an investigative journalist, says in his book, Exposed…that American consumers are more at risk than their European counterparts. Besides that, he says, the European Union is also gaining the upper hand in regulating the behavior of multinational corporations, and is thus amassing more economic power.”—New York Times

Mark Schapiro is the editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley. He has written on foreign affairs for Harper’s, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, and The Nation, and worked as a correspondent for the PBS newsmagazine Frontline/WORLD and the public radio show Marketplace.

Michael Pollan is a Professor of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. Pollan is a contributing writer for The New York Times magazine, a former executive editor of Harper’s Magazine. He is the author of four books, including “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals.”

Tickets: $10 advance, $13 door. Students with ID: $5 (at door only). Available at independent bookstores (East Bay: Analog Books, Cody’s, Black Oak, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Pegasus, Pendragon, Global Exchange store, Walden Pond, Moe’s Books; San Francisco: Modern Times)
Telephone ticket order: 415.255.7296 X253
Web Order (starting Nov. 14):

Benefits: Global Exchange
Supported by: KPFA

In “Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products: What's At Stake for American Power,” Mark Schapiro does to huge swaths of the consumer landscape what Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation did to the assembly-line version of a burger and fries.

Schapiro takes readers inside a global power shift that has gone almost wholly unreported in the United States. While the U.S. chemical industry continues to thwart stricter protections of our health and environment, the European Union is forcing these same global firms to develop safer products—at least for Europeans. Increasingly, products developed and sold in the United States are equated with serious health hazards linked to toxic chemicals, the same hazards that the EU is legislating out of existence. Schapiro reveals how the U.S. is not only becoming a dumping ground for products banned elsewhere, thus endangering the health of Americans, but is losing its economic edge in the process and becoming increasingly isolated as even countries like China and others take their cues from the Europeans.

Exposed is a revealing and fascinating look at global markets, everyday products and the toxic chemicals that bind them. It will shock, inform and warn Americans, and their business and political leaders, about the risks of being left behind in the worldwide effort to protect citizens from environmental hazards.

The EU is rapidly replacing the United States as the world’s environmental leader—and leaving the U.S. increasingly isolated, retreating from environmental protection while the rest of the world moves ahead.

It’s a shift that is already having enormous impact on the health and safety of Americans, as well as the health of the U.S. economy.

He shines a light on Europe's evolving search for higher standards that has allowed Brussels, and not Washington, to emerge as the center for global market innovation in the twenty-first century.

Exploring recent changes in the European Union—where stricter consumer safety standards have forced multinationals into manufacturing safer products—Shapiro’s exposé shows that short of strong government intervention, America will lose whatever claim it has to commercial supremacy. Increasingly, its products are equated with serious health hazards, the same hazards that the European Parliament is legislating out of existence in its powerful trading block.

Shapiro's revelations will spark a sea change in the way American consumers think about everyday products—from plastic softeners that can contribute to sexual malformations to lipstick additives that are potential toxins to the brain, liver, kidneys, and immune system. And it will change our view of the future of environmentalism and the roles we can play in protecting ourselves from a variety of hidden dangers.

Added to the calendar on Wed, Oct 31, 2007 9:08PM
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