How Everyday Products Make People Sick

UCSF medical school Professor and Chief of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Paul D. Blanc, MD, reveals how commonplace products have poisoned significant sectors of the human population in his first book, How Everyday Products Make People Sick: Toxins at Home and in the Workplace (University of California Press).

Through historical accounts up to the present day, Blanc unveils how seemingly harmless products – a tube of glue, a bottle of bleach, a rayon scarf, a brass knob, a wooden plank – have caused severe illness over the past three millennia and how governmental regulation has time and time again been insufficient.

“Every time I started to delve deeper into a subject, I found there was a rich story behind it,” says Blanc. “In particular, I saw a reoccurring pattern where a novel technology would be introduced, and then a new illness would emerge. Although scientists would identify the connection, public health authorities did not sufficiently control the hazard.”

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