While we're on the topic of environmental causes of cancer (the Green Moms Carnival is covering it this week and I recently wrote about my own little cancer scare), I thought it would be a good time to share a couple of books I've read on the topic of reducing toxic chemical exposure in everyday life.
My blogging pal, Jennifer Taggart, wrote a book called Smart Mama's Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child's Toxic Chemical Exposure. She is an environmental attorney and let me tell you, she knows her stuff!! I met her at BlogHer last year and to listen to her rattle off the names of chemicals is darned impressive. The book explains how toxic chemicals have come to permeate our everyday lives, informs us which products are the worst offenders and shows us how to find safer alternatives.
The primary focus of the book is on families with kids although anyone could learn a ton from it. You'll find information on food, baby gear, bath products, cleaning products...there is even a chapter on what to ask when you are searching for a day-care. If your concern is radon, lead, BPA, phthalates, parabens...you name it...it's in this book. I am constantly looking things up in here - it's a very helpful resource!
Slow Death by Rubber Duck is an intriguing book written by two environmental big-wigs (Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie). In order to see first-hand the effects of environmental toxins, they experimented by using suspect chemicals on their own bodies. And they came to some pretty worrisome conclusions when they measured the results.
The book is pretty engaging, for a book about chemicals. Each chapter starts with a story. One of my favorites was when one of the authors was appalled to discover that there was triclosan in his garden hose. "For the love of God...Is there no corner of our lives that hasn't been invaded by chemical companies peddling their modern-day snake oil?" he said, when he realized that he had been watering his homegrown tomato plants with germicide.
One of the more salient conclusions of the book is that, yes, individual action does matter but "for a long-term fix, only improved government regulation and oversight of toxic chemicals is the answer." I'm with the authors 100% on that one!
Both books empower readers with simple steps and changes that will make your world a safer place. Both books also reinforce the fact that it is impossible to completely eliminate exposure to toxic chemicals. We don't live in a bubble. But as Jennifer says in the introduction to her book: "I believe you can change your world."