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30 September 2007


Garry Watson

Having recently read the opening of Marilynne Robinson's 1989 book "Mother Country: Britain, The Welfare State and Nuclear Pollution," I have to say that I'm not too sure that Europe's record on toxic chemicals is all that better than North America's. According to that book's opening sentence, "the largest commercial producer of plutonium in the world, and the largest source, by far, of radioactive contamination of the world's environment, is Great Britain ..." Robinson is thinking in particular of "a complex called Sellafield, on the Irish sea in Cumbria." I've not yet been able to find the time to read beyond the Introduction but I must say that it makes disturbing reading. I wonder if anyone out there has engaged with Robinson's argument. Is she right? Was she right in 1989 but no longer? Anyone know?

adam baer

you say that: "In 2005, our very own CDC tested the blood of a cross-section of Americans and found 148 toxic chemicals. A vast majority of the subjects harbored almost all the toxins."

are there any distinguishing factors among this majority? is it mostly men? women? toll collectors? classical musicians? now, they can be toxic, and i speak from experience!


i wonder along with garry about eu and chemical cleanliness. i believe they have better regulations but a dirtier past--and more people shoved into a smaller space, which is why they are more diligent about the regulations, probably. salmon from scotland and norway, for instance, is less healthy than from alaska because of the filthy waters they swim in.

but the eu regulations are great in many ways and will help the eu continue to surpass the us--another for instance, as i understand it, you don't have to buy organic milk in germany since growth hormones aren't given to cows to start! and you don't have to obsess about plastic baby bottles with bisphenol a and phthlates, since the plastics are already regulated more strictly. this is what the germans assured me of, at least, in august when we were there with the baby. maybe a euro-mom can correct me if i'm wrong?

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