Fake Silk: The Lethal History Of Viscose Rayon by Paul David Blanc

Fake Silk: The Lethal History Of Viscose Rayon

byPaul David Blanc

Hardcover | November 15, 2016

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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.

About The Author

Paul David Blanc, M.D., is professor of medicine and holds the Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. He is author of How Everyday Products Make People Sick and posts a “Household Hazards” blog for Psychology Today.  

Details & Specs

Title:Fake Silk: The Lethal History Of Viscose RayonFormat:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 1.12 inPublished:November 15, 2016Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300204663

ISBN - 13:9780300204667

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Editorial Reviews

"It is unusual to find a book that successfully combines a discussion of contemporary pop culture, a detailed analysis of chemical production and a sweeping narrative of the pitfalls in regulating multinational businesses. The book is well paced and well written and will appeal to medical, business and labour historians as well as to those with an interest in writing the global history of a particular product or illness."—Julia Moses, Medical History