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The Boiled Frog Syndrome:  Your Health and the Built Environment  Thomas Saunders (John Wiley and Sons; 2002). ISBN 0-470-84553-8.

The title is taken from the disturbing fact that if a frog jumps into a pan of warm water, it will immediately jump out again. However, if a frog is placed in a pan of cold water that is then gradually heated, the frog continues to adjust its body temperature awareness to the increasing water temperature until, ultimately it is boiled alive. The modern (man-made) environment affects us all and humans are living in levels of increasing subtle background pollution. It briefly covers topics such as contaminated land and then examines various aspects of sick-building syndrome. About a third of the book is devoted to electromagnetic fields - what they are, what they do, etc. The second half of the book touches on, amongst other things, ancient wisdom, allopathic and holistic medicine and alternative technology. Well worth reading.

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Skewed:  Psychiatric hegemony and the manufacture of mental illness in multiple chemical sensitivity, gulf war syndrome, myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome
Martin J Walker (Sling-Shot Press: 2003) ISBN 0-951-9646-4X.

Skewed illustrates how patients suffer under a psychiatric paradigm which deems clinical investigation of their problems inappropriate and unnecessary. In his perceptive forward, Professor of Psychiatry Per Dalen, MD, PhD, of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden says: "Readers who are not yet familiar with the tragic erosion of the truth-seeking scientific spirit in medical research will, I hope, also find this book an excellent introduction to these problems."  Available from Slingshot Productions Ltd, BM Box 8314, London, WC1N 3XX, or from Cygnus Books.
 
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Brave New World of Zero Risk:  Covert Strategy in British Science Policy Martin J Walker (Sling-Shot Press: 2005).

Until further notice this book is only available as a downloadable FREE pdf file from the Zero Risk website at www.zero-risk.org "... The National Health Service, set up originally to provide health care regardless of income to the British people has been sold off bit by bit mainly to pharmaceutical interests. The most serious consequence of letting corporate interests look after science, medicine and health is that the independence of science and any possible independence of health care has been obliterated. Corporate lobby groups ... preach zero risk and claim that new technologies can cause no harm. This book examines the contemporary corporate politics of science in two areas, that of MMR (Mumps, Measles and Rubella) vaccination and the illness of ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). It shows how those who have fought for independent science have been bullied, attacked and discredited, using political strategies which have nothing to do with science and everything to do with power and profit.

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Animal’s People Indra Sinha (Simon & Schuster: 2007)

"Animal's People" has been short-listed for this year's Booker prize. It is a loving, funny, sexy, magical, sad and very angry book. Although it is about a real crime - the aftermath of the explosion of a U.S. owned chemical factory in Bhopal in 1984, and America's refusal to acknowledge responsibility in any realistic way - these facts are transcended into a book of great literary worth. Linguistically it is a delight. Curiously, the book has grace; I suppose that's through the unsentimental friendships of the characters. I hope it wins the Booker prize, because it would encourage people to read it; but beyond the Booker, I hope it lives for ever! Incidentally, if it does, it will be no thanks to the bookshops, who often seem incapable of going beyond the mundane on their shelves.

Indra Sinha gave up a lucrative career in advertising to write, but as a final gesture he placed an advertisement that he composed himself about the Bhopal disaster in the Guardian and thus raised enough money to build and staff a clinic offering free treatment to those affected by it. So he did more to help than either the American or the Indian governments.

Chandra Masoliver

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