A Terrible Thing To Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind

Little, Brown Spark. Jul. 2019. 368p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780316509435. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780316509428. SCI
Washington (Medical Apartheid) examines the devastating environmental poisoning impacting communities across the United States. Industrial chemicals have a profound impact on both adults and children, and result in chronic illnesses and intellectual impairment. The intelligence-eroding chemicals have been labeled “brain drainers.” Washington passionately and eloquently explains that these harmful chemicals are often found in African American, Latinx, and Native American communities. Chapters detail the negative impact of lead, oil and gas facilities, pesticides, coal mines and plants, and heavy metals along with bugs and microbes. Statistics as well as quotes from pertinent research and writers are combined with human interest stories that illustrate the crisis we’re currently facing. Washington encourages political activism and offers information on what we can do to stop the brain drain.
VERDICT Recommended for all libraries, especially those with environmental and social and political justice collections. This evocative work will haunt readers long after they’ve finished reading.

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