"Poison Spring" (Bloomsbury Press), E.G. Vallianatos with McKay Jenkins
E.G. Vallianatos' complaints about the heavy influence that large corporations wield over the U.S. government and environmental policy won't be news to anyone who follows the debates over genetically modified crops or the ingredients in popular cosmetics. What is surprising and depressing in "Poison Spring," however, is when that influence began, especially over the regulation of pesticides.
According to Vallianatos, even at the dawn of the Environmental Protection Agency, when Republicans and Democrats alike claimed to be green champions, corporations were working within the agency to undermine public health and safety and protect themselves, not the planet.
Vallianatos worked at the EPA for 25 years, starting in 1979. With journalist McKay Jenkins, he chronicles his frustrations and that of some of his colleagues over thwarted attempts to regulate and inform the public about pesticides and other chemicals used on farms and in homes.
Vallianatos' outrage sometimes gets bogged down in scientific jargon, but he makes a solid, damning case against putting political appointees in charge of a regulatory agency, as well as corporate claims about product safety. "Poison Spring" is Vallianatos' call to arms, urging American consumers to hold their government accountable for policies that protect and reward polluters.