Book release: The Secret Life of Chemicals by Professor Alfred Poulos
25 January 2019
For scientist and grandfather, Professor Alfred Poulos, The Secret Life of Chemicals – a comprehensive ‘101’ guide to the many substances in our environment – was inspired by a wish for his grand-children grow up in a less polluted world.
‘You think of the legacy you are leaving them: What sort of planet are you bequeathing for them? You don’t just sit back and think there’s nothing you can do – no matter what age you are.’ he says
A follow up to his first book, The Silent Threat (2005), The Secret Life of Chemicals, is a thorough, simply-worded guide to the many chemicals present in the environment, and their connection to disease including cancer, heart disease and auto-immune disorders.
Drawing from the latest peer-reviewed medical and scientific literature (with over 600 references), it includes chapters on:
• The health effects of plastic packaging
• Pesticides in our food
• Toxic metals such as lead, arsenic, mercury and how they have ended up in the food chain.
• Air pollutants and their presence in home, through sprays, detergents and cleaning agents
• Plastics in the ocean and in landfill and the chemicals they release
• ‘Indestructibles’ – the industrial chemicals like PCBs, dioxins and PBDE flame retardants that hang around and don’t break down very easily
• Non stick chemicals added to our cooking utensils
• Chemical exposure in our workplaces
• Effects of environmental chemicals on our genes and immune systems
One important issue the book takes a look at is genetic variability – and how an individual’s own genes can impact their susceptibility to different diseases.
‘There is so much variation in how an individual might react to the different agents and toxins they come into contact with,‘ says Professor Poulos. ‘This is the reason you might have an aging relative who smoked like chimney and died from old age, while someone else who never had cigarette a day in their life contracts lung cancer.’
A must-read for anyone with an interest in health and environmental issues, The Secret Life of Chemicals is an invaluable guide to of the many (often hidden) substances that can potentially impact our life and health.