Our Stolen Futurea book by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers


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Thornton, Joe. 2000. Pandora's Poison. Chlorine, health and a new environmental strategy. MIT Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts.



This monumental book is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the issues raised by Our Stolen Future and this website. Pandora's Poison offers a brilliant, comprehensive overview of the consequences of chlorine chemistry for the human future. Equally important, it provides an intellectual framework for designing the path out of the mess we're in.

Two bright indicators of how important this book is:

First, the book review in one of the world's most prestigious journals of science, Nature (volume 406, 17-18), is extraordinarily positive. Scientists often get picky about details when other scientists attempt to present complex science in a style accessible to the public, which this book does. Yet the review in Nature by renowned chemist Terry Collins (Dept. of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University) observes:

  Pandora's Poison is a landmark book which should be read by anyone wanting to understand the environmental and health dangers of the chlorine industry. As a reference work alone it is a masterpiece, analysing around 1,000 references. In areas with which I am familiar, Thornton's treatment is mostly brilliant and is based on sound science.  

Second, the industry folks like the Chlorine Chemistry Council take Pandora's Poison sufficiently seriously to have grabbed www.pandoraspoison.org as a URL and posted their highly critical take of the book on the web. The fact that they were willing to play such dirty pool is testimony to the magnitude of the challenge that Thornton has thrown in their path. But it is consistent with the review on those pages written by Joe Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, an organization never wavering from its commitment to defending the agrochemical industry.

Bast writes:

  It is a sad commentary on the modern environmental movement that many of those who read this book will read without objection the old utopian hope for a pre- or post-capitalist civilization, and never glimpse the bodies -- over 164 million by one count -- of the victims of fascist dictators who mouthed similar platitudes a generation ago and who still ruled the former Soviet Union a mere decade ago.  

It is interesting to compare this rhetoric with Bast's review of Pandora's Poison Bast on Amazon.com, offered in a far more temperate voice designed, I suspect, to hide his extremism [go here and then scroll down to Reader Reviews.]




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