Jenkins has written “a Silent Spring for the human body” — Richard Preston, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Hot Zone.

In the past few years, scientists have become increasingly worried about the growing presence of synthetic chemicals in our bodies, and in our environment — and the connection these chemicals may have to cancer, hormonal imbalances, and many other diseases. These are not just the toxins leaking out of industrial dumps — they are the chemicals leaking into us from the products we use every day: from cosmetics, cookware, and the fabric in our upholstery; from pharmaceuticals in our drinking water and the pesticides we spray on our lawns.

I learned this the hard way. A few years ago, I discovered a surprise in my abdomen: a tumor the size of a baseball. An hour before I was to enter the operating room, researchers asked if I had ever been exposed to toxic chemicals. In my life, I asked? This seemed like an odd question. What kind of chemicals do you mean? The researchers began reading from a list, which turned out to be very long. Some things I had heard of, many others I had not. Formaldehyde? Weed killers? Glues? Dry cleaning fluids? Detergents? Lacquers? Flame retardants? Plastic meat wrap?

Plastic meat wrap? Clearly, what I knew about my chemical exposure history was pretty vague. I decided to search for clues. My new book, ContamiNation, takes a clear-eyed look at the ways everyday things may be making us sick, and shows how we can protect ourselves by making wiser, healthier choices. It examines the way products are made and regulated (or, typically, not regulated);  the way synthetic chemicals enter our bodies, and the latest research about what this chemical “body burden” may be doing to our health. It looks at our shopping habits, our drinking water, and our lawn care, and it ponders the ways advertising and marketing have blinded us to some pretty obvious problems.


ContamiNation “delivers a scary punch.  The everyday environment of American life is seething with little-understood and sometimes demonstrably dangerous chemical compounds–weird stuff that’s crept into all our bodies, whether we know it or not.  And we don’t know what it does or could do to us.  A nice piece of work, a Silent Spring for the human body.” — Richard Preston, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Hot Zone.

All of us long for answers on how to navigate our puzzling and perilous chemical world.  You could not find a better guide in exploring such important questions than McKay Jenkins. In this elegantly told, wonderfully readable journey of a book,  Jenkins illuminates not only the science of everyday toxic compounds but the best ways to manage them in everyday life. Read it and keep it. You’ll be glad you did.”

— Deborah Blum, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York.

“McKay Jenkins allows the discovery of a tumor in his left hip to lead him – and us – into the world of failed chemical regulations. ContamiNation is a story of unflinching courage combined with hardheaded research. It’s chock full of suspense… and footnotes, too.  Be warned: the answer to the title’s question will almost certainly amaze you – and may just send you to the barricades.”
– Sandra Steingraber, author of Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment

The landscape of health has changed.  When you look at the increases in  the rates of cancer, diabetes, obesity, allergies and autism, the statistics are numbing.  But epidemics don’t have genetic causes, they have environmental ones.  And today, as McKay Jenkins details in ContamiNation, some of the greatest threats to our health aren’t found in our DNA, but in our food supply and environment. This book is jam-packed with information and is not only an invaluable resource for those interested in protecting their loved ones, but  a sound investment and a book that will pay health dividends for a lifetime.” – Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth and  founder of AllergyKids Foundation

Purchase “ContamiNation”


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  1. […] is the author of ContamiNation and What’s Gotten into Us? Staying Healhy in a Toxic World, and he is a co-author of Poison […]

  2. […] the forthcoming book Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet. He is also the author of ContamiNation which chronicles his investigation into the myriad synthetic chemicals we encounter in our daily […]

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