Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong

Jan 20, 2020 | Emily Yox


Each month, NACCHO will bring you a new public health book, read and reviewed by NACCHO staff. We hope to provide a well-rounded reading list that you will find enjoyable as well as informative.

Paul Offit is one of my favorite health authors because he covers highly complex scientific topics in a way that is easily digestible. In Pandora’s Lab, he discusses seven different ideas that originally started with strong scientific claims, but were ultimately horrible ideas with lasting negative impacts.

Offit covers opioids, trans fats, extracting nitrogen from air, eugenics, lobotomies, DEET, BPA and our all or nothing attitude toward chemicals, and nutritional supplements. While the individual stories are all fascinating in their own right, the main takeaway that is especially important for those of us in public health is to approach scientific claims by demanding data and evidence, not allowing a notable name to forego questioning, and recognizing the importance of the dose-response relationship.

This is a great book that provides interesting facts and provides people like myself, with a more limited scientific background, with digestible scientific lessons that I can bring to my work.

Given my love of Paul Offit’s writing style, I’m sure this is not the last recommendation I will give for an Offit book, but especially given our placement in the era of “fake news,” I think this is an important read for all of us who rely on science and discovery.

Want to discuss this book and others? Head over to NACCHO’s Virtual Communities page and connect with peers.


About Emily Yox

Emily Yox is a Program Analyst for the Global Health program at NACCHO.

More posts by Emily Yox

Related Posts

Pregnant parents
  • Tools & Resources
  • Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health
  • Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health Month: Breaking the Stigma

Maternal health care programs are dedicated to ensuring that new and expectant...

May 17, 2021 | Aderonke Ibironke, MPA

Maternal Mental Health Month: Breaking the Stigma

NRC RIM logo
  • COVID-19
  • Tools & Resources
  • Immunization
  • Success Story

National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants &...

NRC-RIM offers three new promising practices that have a positive impact on...

May 17, 2021 | Andrea Grenadier

National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants &...

Adult woman special needs disability rehabilitation i Stock 858357996
  • Tools & Resources
  • Health & Disability

Amplifying Their Voice by Lowering Ours: What it Means...

It is time to reflect on the progress made towards total inclusion of people...

May 14, 2021 | Joseline Raja Vora

Amplifying Their Voice by Lowering Ours: What it Means...

Shigella 2
  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis
  • Infectious Disease

CDC Releases Shigella Prevention and Control Toolkit

The toolkit was developed to help state and local health departments respond to...

May 13, 2021 | Julia Zigman

CDC Releases Shigella Prevention and Control Toolkit

Self Testing
  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis

Self-Testing: A Strategy to Improve Access to HIV, Viral...

APHL and NASTAD collaborated to develop this toolkit to help health...

May 13, 2021 | Shalesha Majors

Self-Testing: A Strategy to Improve Access to HIV, Viral...

  • COVID-19
  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis

Video: American Academy of HIV Medicine’s Academy...

This video from the AAHIVM’s Academy Council for Racial Equity features Black...

May 13, 2021 | Shalesha Majors

Video: American Academy of HIV Medicine’s Academy...

  • COVID-19
  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis

Deconstructing Silos in West Virginia: Breaking Down...

This new report, issued by the Community Education Group (CEG), details what...

May 13, 2021 | Shalesha Majors

Deconstructing Silos in West Virginia: Breaking Down...

  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis

U.N. Secretary-General Report: “Addressing Inequalities...

This report, submitted pursuant to General Assembly resolution 70/266, provides...

May 13, 2021 | Shalesha Majors

U.N. Secretary-General Report: “Addressing Inequalities...

NHTD bubble logo HI Vgov
  • HIV, STI, & Viral Hepatitis

National HIV Testing Day Theme Announcement

On June 27th each year, we observe National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) to emphasize...

May 13, 2021 | Julia Zigman

National HIV Testing Day Theme Announcement

Back to Top