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The book titled “slow death by rubber duck” is authored by Rick smith and Bruce Lourie. The topic chosen by the authors for the text basically tells the reader what the book is all about.
A rubber duck is one of those items commonly found in homes and is perceived as rather harmless but the title of this text suggests that items such as the rubber duck can actually lead in fatalities. The topic reveals that in the present day, it is the things considered normal that are responsible for not only polluting the environment but our bodies as well.
The authors write this book for the purpose of educating readers about the dangers that chemicals in some commonly used products could pose to individuals exposed to them. The two authors examine how these toxins, which mostly leach out of the items commonly found in homes and places of work, can affect health and emphasize on the steps that can be taken to reduce exposure risks.
The book is an inside story of findings that the authors experienced firsthand during four days of exposing themselves to commonly found substances that contain toxins. It is from their observation of how these toxins affect their bodies that they write about the toxins found in seven commonly found chemicals.
The book takes a new approach of educating readers about just how often individuals expose themselves to toxins without even realizing it. Notwithstanding its light title, the book is filled with mind opening information that is supported by research items and is formatted in a manner that makes it very interesting to read.
The book hopes to educate its readers to take the necessary steps to reduce intoxicating themselves with habits or products that may seem harmless.
Summary of main points
The book is made up of nine chapters, seven of which report on their findings about seven different substances. The other two are the introduction to the subject matter and suggestions of how to avoid being intoxicated by the said chemicals. After introducing the subject matter, the book illustrates how Smith and Lourie took turns in experimenting with different products.
Each chapter explores the history of a particular chemical, how it came to be known, actions that have been taken to contain its effects, the level of success or loss that the actions achieved, and previous studies that have examined the health risks associated with that particular chemical.
The chapters then state the actions taken by the two to increase or lower the success or failure levels of their experiment. The layout of the text allows a reader to separately focus on the effects of one chemical exhaustively before moving to the next.
The authors then close their book with a chapter that suggests several actions that could go a long way in reducing exposure to the seven chemical compounds explored in the book and these include avoiding personal care products that have fragrance, washing hand with water and soap instead of antibacterial products, avoiding the use of pesticides, and getting rid of no stick cooking ware, to mention but a few.
Apart from suggesting ways that can be taken to reduce intoxication in the home environment, the book also goes a step further to encourage legislatures, environmentalists and non-governmental organizations to join in the efforts to reduce pollution.
Rick Smith is not only a renowned Canadian author but also a popular environmentalist who has headed a couple of organizations within Canada that deal with environmental issues.
Some of the achievements associated with Rick are his successful campaign towards the ending of the hunting of bears in Ontario which was a common practice during spring.
He has also significantly contributed towards Canada’s toxic nation campaign, the shaping of the Species at Risk Act, Endangered Species act and Greater Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt, among other government policies. Bruce is also a prominent figure in Canada’s environmental circles.
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He has had a career in environmental issues for over 20 years which has largely dwelt with finding solutions to problems facing non-governmental organizations, both the profit based and non-profit based.
He holds several leadership positions within Canada’s environmental sector and is an expert in several fields including green energy, toxic chemicals, and the preservation of forest covers, among others. Bruce plays an active role in offering expertise advice to leaders in industries, governments and other organizations concerning a myriad of issues.
As had been mentioned earlier in this essay, the evidence contained in this book was acquired after several experiments which the authors carried out on themselves. The two authors took turns in exposing themselves with different items commonly found in the home and work environments. Afterwards, they recorded the levels of toxins from these substances that got into their bodies by carrying out urine and blood tests.
While discussing the effects of each chemical, the authors impressively discus each of the seven chemical substances to detail. They even go a step further and educate their readers about how they are exposed to these chemicals during their day to day activities.
The authors refer to a number of references that illustrate studies that have shown the dangers that the above mentioned chemicals pose to human health and the environment. The book is a collection of first hand evidence that reveal the environmental and health dangers that some common items can expose users to.
Even though the book provides details of first hand effects as experienced by the two authors, it can easily be said that the book is but a personal observation of the two authors.
The information contained in the book would have been more authoritative had it been derived from experiments carried out on a larger sample size. A larger sample size would have given authoritative results that would have prompted actions towards the reduction or even the banning of these products that contain toxins.
As has been revealed by the findings in this book, some of the commonly utilized products and toys posses chemicals that in certain concentrations can be dangerous not only to the environment but to the health of those exposed to them.
The book explores seven chemicals and provides first hand evidence of the dangers posed by these chemicals with reference from other references. The book has mentioned how some governments, particularly Canada, have taken positive steps towards reducing dangers posed by certain chemicals.
Given the many dangers posed by some of the commonly used products, perhaps more governments and the society at large should take similar measures to control what products their populations are exposed to.
Lourie, B. & Smith, R. (2010). Slow death by rubber duck: How the toxic chemistry of everyday life affects our health. Toronto: Knopf Canada.