Toxic Bodies Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES Nancy Langston
- Publication date:
- 26 Feb 2010
- 256 pages: 234 x 156 x 20mm
- 11 black-&-white illustrations
In 1941, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of diethylstilbestrol (DES), the first synthetic chemical to be marketed as an estrogen and one of the first to be identified as a hormone disruptor - a chemical that mimics hormones. Although researchers knew that DES caused cancer and disrupted sexual development, doctors prescribed it for millions of women, initially for menopause and then for miscarriage, while farmers gave cattle the hormone to promote rapid weight gain. Its residues, and those of other chemicals, in the American food supply are changing the internal ecosystems of human, livestock, and wildlife bodies in increasingly troubling ways. In this gripping exploration, the environmentalist and historian Nancy Langston shows how these chemicals have since World War II penetrated into every aspect of our bodies and ecosystems, yet the U.S. government has largely failed to regulate them and has skillfully manipulated scientific uncertainty to delay regulation. Personally affected by endocrine disruptors, Langston makes a convincing argument that the FDA needs to institute proper regulation of these commonly produced synthetic chemicals.
Nancy Langston is a professor in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology with a joint appointment in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The author of two previous books that have won awards and critical acclaim, she was president of the American Society for Environmental History in 2007-9.
"Langston is poised perfectly to examine the scientific and social history of endocrine disruptors. . . . Langston's prose is precise and elegant. Moreover, her explanations of scientific frameworks, data, and debates are quite accessible. . . . This is certainly a fascinating and persuasive study that should be read by anyone interested in environmental health, environmental history, the history of medicine, gender studies, as well as larger questions regarding the entanglements between science, law, industry, medicine, and public policy."--Stacy Alaimo, "American Book Review"--Stacy Alaimo "American Book Review "