COULD that innocent-looking rubber duck, bobbing quietly in the bathtub, eventually kill you?This is not a question often broached, but two Canadian environmentalists set out to answer it and found deadly but invisible toxins lurking in the most mundane places.Mattresses, frying pans, shampoo bottles and dozens of other household objects all contain traces of synthetic chemicals which build up in the human body, slowly crippling health and very likely accounting for rising levels of asthma, attention deficit disorder, fertility problems and many other afflictions.Environmental researchers Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie investigated the phenomenon after finding elevated levels of synthetic toxins in more than 100 people – or almost everyone they tested.”The first questions all of our test subjects asked us was, ‘How did these chemicals get inside me and how can I get them out?”’ Mr Smith said. ”The level of concern about everyday pollutants is growing fast.”The result of their studies is a book called Slow Death by Rubber Duck, which became an instant bestseller in Canada and is striking a chord with readers in Australia, Europe and the US. The pair will speak at the Sydney Writers’ Festival next month.To test their theory that people are being exposed to dangerous levels of synthetic hormone disruptors simply by living ordinary lives, the authors took the step of using their own bodies as laboratories. They sat in rooms breathing in air contaminated by furniture stain remover, repeatedly brushed their teeth and ate tins of tuna. Blood and urine tests showed their bodies soaking up disturbing amounts of chemicals.”My wife thought I was a bit mad,” Mr Smith said. ”But in reality it wasn’t that dangerous – the one rule of all our experiments is that they had to actually mimic activities that hundreds of millions of people do every day in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe.”The rubber ducks of the book’s title have become a symbol of the struggle against unsafe levels of some chemicals in children’s toys. The book’s findings are being contested by pharmaceutical companies and other industries in the US and Canada.”There are class actions already starting to take place,” said Mr Lourie. ”I think we’re going to see a pretty significant movement against these types of pollution developing in the next five years.”
Nanjing Night Net