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Playing with Fire
Playing with Fire
Chemical companies, Big Tobacco, and the toxic products in your home

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The average American baby is born with 10 fingers, 10 toes, and the highest recorded levels of flame retardants among infants in the world. How could it possibly be, in a country as developed and medically advanced as the United States, that children are already contaminated at birth with such disturbingly high levels of toxic chemicals? The truth lies in the greed and deception of two powerful industries—Big Tobacco and chemical manufacturers. For years, these industries have been supporting systems that pack toxic chemicals into couches, chairs, and many other household products. In addition, they have waged misleading campaigns resulting in the proliferation of these chemicals, which do not even work as promised.

In a ground-breaking piece of investigative journalism by the Chicago Tribune, Playing with Fire exposes the realities about the ineffectiveness and potential health risks caused by the flame retardants that are pervasive in American homes. Big Tobacco and large chemical companies used fear, exaggerated scientific claims, and shady deal-making to serve their own interests at the expense of consumer safety.

Starting with a spurious campaign by the makers of flame retardants, these large chemical companies tried to boost demand for products that do not work as billed in addition to putting the health of thousands at risk, including many children. In an insidious dovetailing of interest, tobacco companies became interested in finding a scapegoat for the hundreds of deadly fires caused every year by cigarettes. Big Tobacco eventually settled on blaming the furniture and invested in a national group of fire officials to deliver their message. Perhaps the most shocking element of this saga is that much of the research cited by chemical and tobacco companies is either seriously flawed or grossly distorted. Due to their clout, these companies have cajoled the U.S. government into allowing generations of flame retardants onto the market without thoroughly assessing the risks.

Playing with Fire is an extremely significant, revelatory piece of watchdog journalism that is a must-read for anyone with small children—particularly at risk as the toxic chemicals collect in dust and children often play on the ground—but also for citizens who demand responsibility of big businesses and their governments. As our society has become more aware of the good of organic foods and products, our efforts to improve our health is being constantly undercut by the toxic furniture surrounding us everyday.


Title Playing with Fire
Subtitle Chemical companies, Big Tobacco, and the toxic products in your home
Author Chicago Tribune Staff
Audience 01 General / trade
Title First Published 07 June 2012
Format ePub
Nb of pages
ISBN-10 1-57284-421-3
ISBN-13 978-1-57284-421-6
GTIN13 (EAN13) 9781572844216
Reference no. 978-1-57284-421-6
Publication Date 07 June 2012
List Price $4.99

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