Review of Poisoned: How a Crime-Busting Prosecutor Turned His Medical Mystery into a Crusade for Environmental Victims by Alan Bell
Alan Bell’s memoir covers his legal background and his debilitating illness caused by an unknown chemical exposure he experienced while working in a new office building. It also offers a wake-up call for all of us about the threat caused by chemicals in our everyday environment.
Alan poses the theory that many of today’s chronic illnesses are a direct result of chemical exposure. He uses his own experience with his illness and his work as a lawyer representing others harmed by chemical exposure to make his case. Alan references a quote from another source that states that chemical exposure is “the primary cause of chronic diseases like asthma, autism, birth defects, cancers, developmental disabilities, diabetes, endometriosis, infertility, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and others.” Proving this connection is a whole other story.
The fact is that our immune systems are under attack from a constant barrage of chemicals. The food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, all have the potential to be harmful to our health. Poisonous chemicals are all around us. Whether or not you become ill depends on many factors such as the length of exposure, the degree of exposure, and your genes. Your workplace, your home, your back yard, your bed, can all be sources of harmful chemical exposure.
The rollback of hundreds of environmental regulations by the current administration has made things exponentially worse. Their argument that regulations stymie growth and jobs is nonsense when you consider the real world consequences of putting industry before human health. Unfortunately, the current crop of politicians won’t be around to take the blame when the disastrous effects of their policy decisions play out in the lives of millions of people.
One of the points made in the book is that you can’t rely on the government to protect you. The best action to take is to educate yourself. You may like the idea of installing new waterproof and stain proof flooring in your home, but is that flooring safe? What about the chemicals used in the adhesive to bind the materials? What about the chemicals used to make the floor waterproof? Your new flooring could be making you sick, and you might never make the connection.
You don’t have to have multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) to get something from this book.