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Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon

Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon

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Key Metrics

  • Paul David Blanc
  • Yale University Press
  • Hardcover
  • 9780300204667
  • 9.3 X 6.3 X 1.3 inches
  • 1.35 pounds
  • Technology & Engineering > Materials Science - General
  • English
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Book Description

When a new technology makes people ill, how high does the body count have to be before protectives steps are taken?

This disturbing book tells a dark story of hazardous manufacturing, poisonous materials, environmental abuses, political machinations, and economics trumping safety concerns. It explores the century-long history of fake silk, or cellulose viscose, used to produce such products as rayon textiles and tires, cellophane, and everyday kitchen sponges. Paul Blanc uncovers the grim history of a product that crippled and even served a death sentence to many industry workers while also releasing toxic carbon disulfide into the environment.

Viscose, an innovative and lucrative product first introduced in the early twentieth century, quickly became a multinational corporate enterprise. Blanc investigates industry practices from the beginning through two highly profitable world wars, the midcentury export of hazardous manufacturing to developing countries, and the current greenwashing of viscose as an eco-friendly product. Deeply researched and boldly presented, this book brings to light an industrial hazard whose egregious history ranks with those of asbestos, lead, and mercury.

Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon

Author Bio

Dr. Paul D. Blanc MD MSPH is Professor of Medicine and holds the Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of California San Francisco, where he has been on faculty since 1988. He received his BA from Goddard College (Plainfield, Vermont), where he first became interested in health and the environment, later training at the Harvard School of Public Health (in industrial hygiene), the Albert Einstein School of Medicine, and Cook County Hospital (in a joint Occupational Medicine and Internal Medicine Residency). 

He was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at UCSF from 1985-7 and a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in 1987-8. He has been a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center (Bellagio, Italy) and the American Academy in Rome. In 2011, he was elected as a fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini, an international honorific society of occupational health leaders. He has authored numerous scholarly publications in his field. He also is the author of two books: How Everyday Products Make People Sick (University of California Press, 2009) and Fake Silk: The Lethal History of Viscose Rayon (Yale University Press, 2016).

 

 

Source: University of California San Francisco

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