Natural Causes

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

11972628.gifby Dan Hurley

General Collection RA1250 .H87 2006

More than 60 percent of Americans use herbal and dietary supplements, from Saint John’s wort to vitamin E, fueling sales that total $20 billion a year despite a marked lack of evidence that these products are either safe or effective. Aside from extensive coverage of ephedra, the weight-loss supplement linked to the death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Belcher in 2003, the media has been disturbingly silent about the danger posed by the natural remedies flooding the market today. Award-winning journalist Dan Hurley breaks the silence in Natural Causes. Hurley charts the shocking rise in deaths, disfigurements, and life-threatening injuries caused by supplements deceptively promoted as “safe and natural,” and brings to light the backroom politics that led to the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which essentially freed the industry from any FDA oversight. In unprecedented detail, he shows how the industry concealed the truth about dozens of untested treatments, from the placebo effect of supplements like echinacea and gingko to the adverse and even fatal reactions brought on by vitamins, Chinese herbal remedies, and supplements like bitter orange and L-tryptophan. Like Fast Food Nation, Natural Causes blends hard facts with harrowing personal stories and provides a hard-hitting, frightening look at an industry and a cultural trend that is out of control. (, from the publisher)

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