284 pages, 3 b/w illustrations
In Hormonal Chaos, Sheldon Krimsky traces the emergence of an unorthodox hypothesis that casts new suspicions on a broad range of modern industrial chemicals. At the heart of his story is the "Environmental Endocrine Hypothesis", the assertion that a class of chemicals called "endocrine disruptors" are interfering with the normal functioning of hormones in animals and humans. Krimsky describes how this controversial theory was first elaborated and explores the complex factors that have contributed to its increased legitimacy and continued controversy.
"This well-written and thoroughly researched book provides an invaluable overview of the controversies surrounding the new hypotheses about the relationships between chemical exposures and human and environmental health. The book al so has much to say about the process of science and how science and scientific theories change as well as providing an example of how to analyze other scientific controversies."
– Mrill Ingram – Environment
"A fascinating look at the motivations and responsibilities of scientists, politicians, journalists, and industries, who rush to defend their turf when new controversies arise regarding public safety. It also details the complexity of scientific communication."
– Library Journal
"Eminently readable [...] Few issues have galvanized so many so quickly, and Krimsky has accomplished the difficult task of chronicling the history of this contentious idea without being drawn too far into the fray."
– Issues in Science and Technology
"Hormonal Chaos is a fascinating and readable account of the environmental endocrine hypothesis."
– Valery Forbes – BioScience
"An interesting review of a topic that is even now rocking the foundations of toxicology and risk assessment [...] This book is relevant to virtually all issues that have global health, economic, and public policy implications."
– Gina M. Solomon – Chemical and Engineering News
"A fascinating study of the [environmental endocrine] hypothesis and of the interface between science, media, and policy."
"Sheldon Krimsky has written an extremely responsible book and has sounded an important alarm. He provides us all a good education on the scientific, historical, social, and political aspects of the environmental endocrine hypothesis. In a cogent and persuasive presentation, Dr. Krimsky sets forth the possible consequences of allowing endocrine disrupters to go unchecked in our environment. Ironically, Hormonal Chaos calls on us to enlist a reasonable and balanced interdisciplinary approach to understanding the environmental endocrine hypothesis. In short, Dr. Krimsky encourages us to apply common sense to what should be a common concern."
– Senator John F. Kerry
"Hormonal Chaos is a masterful weaving of the science and politics of endocrine disruption, a public health and environmental problem deserving increased concern and attention. Written by one of America's foremost philosophers and historians of contemporary science, this book clarifies in layman's terms the complexity of a serious emerging health concern. It also criticizes governmental regulation as being unduly influenced by both academic and industrial pressures for science to deliver more than it can."
– Nicholas Ashford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, co-author of Chemical Exposures: Low Levels and High Stakes
"In this timely and important book, Sheldon Krimsky has given us a masterful analysis of the scientific, political and economic issues generated by the belated discovery that many of the synthetic chemicals that have been massively introduced into the environment for more than half a century can disrupt the delicately balanced hormonal systems that govern human and animal development."
– Barry Commoner, author of The Closing Circle and Making Peace With the Planet
"In Hormonal Chaos, Krimsky lays out a clear and thorough historical analysis of the development of the environmental endocrine hypothesis (sometimes called the endocrine disruption hypothesis), and then examines the larger scientific, political, and social ramifications of it."
– Archives of Sexual Behavior
"Krimsky has not only successfully narrated the historical roots of the problem but has also exposed the complex social, economic, and political context of modern debates. Perhaps most impressively, Krimsky's account remains balanced and insightful without being polemical."
– Mark Jackson – History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
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Sheldon Krimsky is a professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy at Tufts University.