OUR STOLEN FUTURE
review by Andrew T. Fisher
Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence,
and Survival?óA Scientific Detective Story* is urgent, interesting,
and controversial. In many ways this book is the next step in environmental
awareness beyond Rachel Carsonís landmark book, Silent Spring. Vice
President Al Gore requested to write the foreword.
Basically, the book makes the following points:
- If the developing fetus is exposed
to very small doses (in parts per billion or less), of certain
man-made chemicals at certain critical times, when the young one
grows up it may have extremely altered sexual development and
may not be able to reproduce at all. Amazingly small doses can
also disrupt intelligence, the immune system, and behavior.
- These same small doses do not
appear to harm adults, only the delicate fetus at these critical
- Many of these drastic changes
have already occurred in wildlife including whales, gulls, mice,
seals, and polar bears.
- Many man-made polluting chemicals
such as PCBs and DDT have traveled everywhere globally, from the
Amazon to the Arctic. No uncontaminated "safe clean"
- These harmful chemicals accumulate
and concentrate in fat as they move up the food chain from micro-organisms
to fish, and then to man.
- Even though evolution over the
past thousands of years has greatly changed manís physical appearance
and brain size, and most biology and history has concentrated
on these changes, our complex and delicate chemical hormone system
has changed very little. In fact, this system, which is vital
for reproduction, intelligence, and immunity, is practically the
same in all vertebrates, including ourselves.
- This hormone system is disrupted
by these chemicals that we are spewing into our environment.
- One of the best ways to fight
this problem is to totally change our approach toward chemical
manufacturing. Recently, thousands of new chemicals have flooded
our ecosystem every year. Every chemical should be presumed "guilty"
until proven innocent, so no new chemicals should be approved
until extensive long term testing has been completed.
- We should raise and purchase only
"organic" produce, grown without any pesticides. Despite
our dumping tons of toxic pesticides on farms and lawns, the insects
and plant disease organisms are rapidly becoming immune, so the
chemicals do little if any good and a whole lot of harm, including
the contamination of our drinking water and air.
- In nature, everything totally
recycles itself, one animalís waste is another plantís food. We
should do the same with our entire civilization. Separate and/or
create all "waste" so that it can be re-used. In this
way, there will be no more toxic waste dumps or raw sewage flowing
into lakes and rivers.
*by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson
Myers, Dutton (a division of Penguin USA), March 1996, hard back, 306 pages,
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XXI, No. 3, Summer 1996, page 1.