A month ago a co-worker told me of a benefit event in Berkeley with Michael Pollan and an author I had never heard of. I waved it off.

But today the same co-worker sent me a link to the talk again, which is happening tomorrow night, and I shot her back a thank you with exclamation points. The unknown author with Mr. Pollan is Mark Schapiro who was interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air yesterday about his new book - Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products. Not a come hither title.

What perked my attention to his interview, and I only heard bits and pieces, and the talk tomorrow night, was his explanation of how certain plastics breakdown in our systems.

I recently had a discussion in a fish restaurant about fish eating plastic and we eat the fish and how that can't be good for us. But my no-name friend's point was that the plastic doesn't breakdown, that's why it's out there floating in the ocean. There was a certain logic I wanted to believe and I was hungry; I ordered fish.

The other piece I picked up yesterday from the interview is that the US is accepting products to be sold here that are banned by the European Union. The US does not impose as strict environmental and health restrictions as the EU. In fact the US is referred to as a dumping ground for products that the EU declines.

Bad book title or not, I have last minute tickets and I'm looking forward to hearing what he has to say.

Actually, maybe I'm not.


El said...

Well, K, I hope you "enjoyed" the talk. I heard him Monday on Terry Gross' show. I knew about phthalates, and have a mostly plastic-free world for the kid here, but...LEAD IN LIPSTICK? Why?

These shortcuts (as that is what they are: HFCS in everything, lead in toys, etc. etc.) are really oing to come back to bite us. I tried hard this Thanksgiving to explain to my mother why I don't serve diet soda (or any soda). I tried to say it was like tobacco when she was raising me: we don't really, truly know how all this processed stuff directly affects our health, and we'll probably find out later, so...let's just avoid it all now and thus avoid the horrible guilt like she feels now for all those years she smoked around us.


Susie Ekberg said...

K - isn't Michael Pollan the author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma?" I'm only partway through it (it's kind of dense reading), but if that's him, he's a brilliant guy. I'm finishing writing a paper on 150 best foods, and fresh atlantic salmon tops all fish (supposedly), with low mercury content. I hadn't heard about the plastic thing - yuck. I wonder how fast we'll all be able to stop the madness?

Anonymous said...

my favorite part of that fresh air was when he admitted he was a smoker "I enjoy a good cigerette"
I laughed then went through all my kids toys and through away 1/2 of them.

Anonymous said...

From Trieste above

kale for sale said...

el - He's a funny guy. I liked him. He said lead in lipstick is to make it smooth out nicely. The biggest ah-ha about why the EU is on top of banning different chemicals is that the govt. funds their health care so it's in their best interest that folks stay healthy in the long term. Our govt. doesn't have the same incentive. In any event there has been a power shift in leadership of regulating toxic chemicals. I'm glad someone is doing it.

Susie - Yes, MP is the Omnivores Dilemma author with a new book coming out in January. He's a rock star at our house!

Trieste - The cute guy read your comment and said, I'm glad she didn't start smoking!

Redacted said...

Mark Schapiro is indeed an interesting guy. What a cook book Exposed is. Schapiro will be at my local bookstore tomorrow night (Red Hill Books on Cortland in Bernal Heights, San Francisco) at 7pm.
Hopefully I'll see some like minded folks there.
It's a good month for Cortland Avenue as Alice Waters will be there on the 20th in conversation as well. These people and blogs like this give me hope.