The Poisoning of Michigan

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Michigan State University Press, 2009 - History - 363 pages
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The highly toxic PBB poisoning of Michigan remains the most widespread chemical contamination known in U.S. history. The Poisoning of Michigan is an investigative journalist's account of the contamination of Michigan's dairy cattle with the highly toxic chemical PBB (polybrominated biphenyl) in 1973. A near relation of PCB, this now-banned substance, designed as a fire retardant, was mistaken for a nutritional supplement at a chemical plant. It ended up in cattle feed that was distributed to farms throughout the state. By the time the error was discovered, virtually all nine million residents of Michigan had been ingesting contaminated milk and meat for almost a year.
A new introduction by the author and an afterword by three distinguished environmental scientists explain how the legacy of Michigan's poisoning lives on--and how equally toxic substitutes for PBB still invade our homes and lives. This new edition of Egginton's environmental classic--first published in 1980 and long out of print--tells how the tragedy affected both the farm community and the wider populace, and how federal and state authorities failed to respond. We were mired in a swamp of ignorance, one state official admitted.

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I was an 8 year child who ate nothing but bologna, hot dogs, and hamburgers at the time and therefore ingested a bunch of contaminated meat. For 2 weeks solid I was bent in half laying on our couch, holding my stomach and moaning in pain. Doctors were baffled to the point of contemplating cutting me open to see if it was my appendix, only I didn't have any other symptoms consistent with appendicitis. No fever, no throwing up, just sharp intense pain. Then, it went away and we never found out what had happened.
Advance several years and I see the title of this book which peaked my interest. I am so thankful that someone finally wrote about what had happened to us. It has certainly answered a lot of questions I've had over the years.


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About the author (2009)

Joyce Egginton has taught environmental reporting at New York University.

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