Although chemical and medical products are often banned from sale in this country, some continue to be manufactured, and the U.S. government does little to prevent the sale of these items elsewhere, according to an exhaustive 24-page investigation in the November Mother Jones. For example, the magazines says:

400 Iraqis died in 1972 and 5,000 were hospitalized after consuming by-products of wheat and barley coated with a mercury fungicide banned in the U.S.

The Dalkon Shield IUD, withdrawn from the market here, is still in common use in some countries.

After the Consumer Product Safety Commission found the fire retardent chemical Tris to be carcinogenic, several million Tris-treated children's pajamas were shipped overseas.

Winstrol, a synthetic hormone found to stunt the growth of children, is promoted as an appetite stimulant for children in Brazil.

The report, by a team of six reporters, claims that $1.2 billion in unsafe goods are sold overseas annually, and that these sales could be stopped immediately by an act of the president or Congress, as well as by the Commerce, State or Treasury departments.

"There is a spiritual corollary to the way we are currently deforesting and denaturing our planet. In the end what we must defoliate and deprive is ourselves. We might as soon start collecting up the world's poetry, every line and every copy, to burn it in a final pyre -- and think we should read richer and happier lives thereafter." -- John Fowles, writing on nature in the current Harper's.

Andrew Tobias, a financial writer who's been studying the insurance industry for the past year, gives the first peek at his finding in the Nov. 5 New York. Tobias uses the ubiquitous Tv ads for Gerber Life as ground zero for a general attack on the commercial insurance industry.

Tobias' main point is well made: most people "have no idea what life insurance should cost. As it happens, the structure of the life-insurance industry in America today depends very heavily on that fact." He effectively documents the extraordinarily high cost of Gerber insurance, provides a good primer on life insurance in general and, basically, makes this simple advice: "The only difference between cheap term insurance and expensive term insurance is that with expensive term insurance you are paying too much." So, suggests Tobias, shop around even more for insurance than when shopping around for a car.

And now this statistic from Ms., which the women left to do the chores have always known:

"As of 1975, unpaid houswork was estimated to be worth as much as $499 billion."

Energy mavens are directed to "Public Power," which provides fairly non-technical reports on various new and old sources of energy, including wind, synfuel and solar ($8.50 annually from 2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Washington D.C. 20037).

If you're sick of endless boasting from joggers about their latest mileage conquests, be prepared for a new onslaught of sexual banter from the folks in the Nikes.

The November Runner includes a special section on running and sex that not only debates the eternal question about sex before sports (uses as much energy as a 50-yard sprint, says Dr. George Sheehan, who does not disclose his scientific method), but also suggests that the jogging path has become the new singles bar.

"It's really the perfect way to choose a mate," the magazine quotes one runner saying. "If I know a woman's a runner . . . right away I know how she feels about herself -- strong, confident and independent." Fives new

Five new ones:

Barbara Courtland's "World of Romance" premieres not only with thehe author's 259th book, her new novel "A Heart Is Stolen," but also includes one of her favorite recipes, chicken and orange suprise, and her life story in photos ( $15 annualy from 57 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019).

Savvy, which is indeed very. This may be the best post-Ms. magazine yet to emerge, with intelligent pieces on economics and politics and social trends aimed at the executive women. Even the fashion and design articles aren't condescending or fluffy. There's an incisive update of a 30 year-old Life photo essay on career girls, and a delightful first-person essay by a writer whose wife is a high-powered corporate exec, appropriately titled "Love on the Lunatic Fringe":

"She has been known on numerous occasions to telephone the butcher and the fruit store (everything we eat is delivered) from places as far away as Phoenix, Arizona, to make sure that I have something to cook for myself" ( $12 annually from Box 2495, Boulder, Colo. 80321).

Games, which achieved a circulation of 500,000 in four issues, is already 112 pages thick, edited for the person who's hooked on crossword puzzles and brain teasers and card games and all those mail order sweepstakes ($5.97 annually from Box 10145, Des Moines, Iowa 50340).

Men at Arms is a surprising relief from the usual macho nonsense of gun mags.This one's filed with nice photos of old weapons, aimed at the serious collector ( $15 annually from 22 West Exchange St., Providence, R.I. 02903).

Night, a big (17-by 22-inch) slick personality and fashion monthly out of Manhattan that combines the outrageousness of WET and the silliness of Womens Wear Daily's social coverage in an attempt to go after Andy Warhol's Interview magazine ( $15 annually from 210 Fifth Ave., New York, New York, 10010).

In an attempt to explain to the Cuban people why the U.S. was blockading their island in 1962, the USIA prepared 6 million propaganda leaflets which were loaded onto four Air Force fighters on Oct. 27 of that year. The following day the leaflets were grounded when the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw its missiles.

History buffs will find this and other military tidbits well reported in the October issue of the United States Naval Institute Proceedings ( $18 annually from the U.S. Naval Institute, Annapolis, Md. 21402).

The ever-thorough National Journal, which meticulously covers the political scene here, has published an exhaustive Election Handbook for 1980: p1980: "Monday Night Politics, a spectators' and players' guide to the candidates, the campaigns and the American electorate" ( $8 from 1730 M St. NW., Washington D.C. 20036).

The Audit Bureau of Circulation reports that 44 percent of consumer magazines lost circulation during the first six months of 1979 . . . meanwhile magazine ad revenues continued to rise undaunted through Septembertember setting highs for the first nine months of any year . . . The November Travel & Leisure includes a special report on Washington as a new chic city . . . The National Lampoon has declared a winner in its seven-year-old "Guess When Mamie Dies" contest. Editor P.J. O'Rourke said last week that the lucky contestant was "a nurse at Walter Reed who said, 'In about five minutes.'" . . Scientific American will go on sale in China in January, to be followed shortly by Reader's Diegest. In Chinese, of course . . . Henry Kissinger received $112,500 from Time for the excerpts from his book printed in three issues of the magazine.

We close on a clever note. Hamilton Fish, publisher for the last year and a half of The Nation, has managed to boost his magazine's circulation from 18,500 to 40,000. One of the ways Fish did this was by printing a subscription blank on the back of the business cards of his 30-person staff.

In one year, Fish claims he's sold over 1,000 subscriptions this way.