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Health & Fitness Healthy Living

Slow Death by Rubber Duck Fully Expanded and Updated

How the Toxicity of Everyday Life Affects Our Health

by (author) Rick Smith & Bruce Lourie

Knopf Canada
Initial publish date
Feb 2019
Healthy Living, Green Lifestyle, Sustainable Living
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2019
    List Price

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The landmark book about the toxicity of everyday life, updated, revised and re-issued for its 10th anniversary, along with the experiments from Smith and Lourie's second book, Toxin Toxout.

It's amazing how little can change in a decade. In 2009, a book transformed the way we see our frying pans, thermometers and tuna sandwiches. Daily life was bathing us in countless toxins that accumulated in our tissues, were passed on to our children and damaged our health. To expose the extent of this toxification, environmentalists Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie offered themselves to science and undertook a series of over a dozen experiments to briefly raise their personal levels of mercury, BPA, Teflon and other pollutants. The ease with which ordinary activities caused dangerous levels to build in their bodies was a wake-up call, and readers all over the world responded. But did government regulators and corporations? Ten years later, there is good news. But not much. Concise, shocking, practical and hopeful, this new combined edition of one of the most important books ever published about green living will put the nasty stuff back where it belongs: on the national agenda and out of our bodies.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

RICK SMITH is a Canadian author, environmentalist and non-profit leader and the Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute. From 2003 to 2012, he served as Executive Director of Environmental Defence where he was the driving force to make Canada the first country in the world to ban BPA in baby bottles. He is the co-author of two bestselling books on the health effects of pollution: Slow Death by Rubber Duck (2009) and Toxin Toxout (2013).

BRUCE LOURIE is an environmental thought leader in Canada and an acknowledged global expert on pollution and sustainable energy. He has founded many important environmental organizations such as the Clean Economy Fund, Canadian Environmental Grantmakers Network, the Sustainability Network and the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance. Bruce is President of the Ivey Foundation, one of the largest private foundations supporting sustainability in the country, and is an advisor to Canada's Ecofiscal Commission.

Editorial Reviews


“Without being preachy or self-righteous, the authors offer a partial prescription for a ‘detox diet.’” —Calgary Herald

“In a collegial, straightforward style, Lourie and Smith quiz doctors and researchers, converse with wellness activists, visit organic stores and companies and, most interestingly, engage in a variety of experiments to track how the more than 80,000 synthetic chemicals in use today got into our bodies and what it will take to get them out. . . . Along the way, they drop some eye-popping statistics. . . . Scrupulously researched and sourced with thorough chapter notes, Toxin Toxout is remarkable both for its content and appealing narrative voice. Simply put, this is a book no one in the industrialized world has the luxury of ignoring.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Smith and Lourie once again deserve praise for boldly going where few people . . . have gone before. . . . They are engaging, self-effacing guides to these strange lands, and Toxin Toxout, like its predecessor, Slow Death by Rubber Duck, turns complicated chemistry and baffling terminology into a smooth, lighthearted and entertaining read. And, thankfully, they maintain a healthy dose of skepticism throughout their detox expeditions. . . . Toxin Toxout deserves ample praise for advancing the important conversation Smith and Lourie started with Slow Death by Rubber Duck.” —Literary Review of Canada

“Lourie and Smith manage to achieve a delicate balance by turning a highly controversial, scientifically complex, and at times depressing subject into a humorous journey . . . with a good dose of optimism about what can be done, at an individual and collective level, to reduce our dependence on toxic chemicals. Toxin Toxout is an enjoyable, easy read. . . . I applaud the authors’ efforts to look at the full life cycle analysis of our consumption habits and our economic addiction to toxic chemicals . . . especially the environmental and ethical implications of disposing of our multiple short-lived electronic devices. The authors expose the dubious promise of the green chemistry movement, as well as some fascinating innovations in products coming from biomimicry.” —Sustainable Prosperity
“A thoughtful look at how pollution has shifted over the years from something tangible and transparent (industrial pollutants as the cause of acid rain) to something abstract and nuanced (BPA’s links to breast cancer). The challenges this change presents, as many of the world’s top scientists explain in these pages, should be of serious concern to us all.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“Hard-hitting in a way that turns your stomach and yet also instills hope for a future in which consumers make safer, more informed choices and push their governments to impose tougher regulations on the chemicals all around us.” —The Washington Post