Poisons By The Dose

arsenic soapFrom Arsenic and Old Lace to arsenic in rice, mercury making hatters mad to mercury used today in skin creams, some poisons just won’t go away. In this episode we talk about chemicals that threaten our health, often even at very low doses.

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Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer Prize winning science journalist and author of several books that look at the intersections between science and society. We talked about her 2010 bookThe Poisoner’s Handbook, which uncovers the birth of modern forensic toxicology and features two crusading public servants in the New York City medical examiner’s office in the 1930’s. The two men, Charles Norris and Alexander Gettler, pioneered forensic science and advocated for public health reforms that were far ahead of the times. We also speak to scientist Pete Myers of Environmental Health Sciences about the health threats from low-dose exposures to chemicals that can alter and disrupt our bodies’ natural hormones.

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