Why sounding the alarm on chemical contamination is not necessarily alarmist

Anthony Giddens

Consider the following list of precautions. Continually monitor the content of any water you drink: water from any source can be contaminated; do not assume bottled water is safe, especially if bottled in plastic; distil your water at home, since most public water supplies are contaminated. Take care over what you eat. Avoid fish, which is a prime source of contamination, as well as animal fats, whether in cheese, butter or meat; buy organically grown fruits and vegetables or raise your own; minimise contact between plastic and food. Mothers should consider avoiding breast-feeding, because this exposes babies to a high level of contaminants. Wash your hands frequently during the course of each day: contaminants vaporise and settle on any indoor surface, where they are picked up by those who touch them. Do not use any insecticides around the house or in the garden – avoid the homes of those who do. Don’t buy produce from a shop or supermarket without checking whether they fog their goods with pesticides, as is common practice. Stay away from golf courses, which have become heavily contaminated, more so even than farmland.

The full text of this book review is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in