The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being is one of those books that freak me out…sometimes I just don’t want to know. In reality, we need to know about all of the chemicals of modern industry and how to protect our families. Knowing is the first step to making informed decisions, which is probably one reason you are a reader of Eco Child’s Play.
Publishers Weekly describes The Body Toxic:
This is a chilling look at the questionable safety of nearly everything we store food in, drink from, wear, walk on, rest on and drive. Chemicals used to make everything from water-repellant jackets and flame retardants to unbreakable plastics used for food storage are building up in our bodies and the environment with possible far-reaching consequences, says journalist Baker. She focuses on endocrine disruptors that alter hormone levels, even in fetuses. Individual chapters consider the weed killer atrazine; phthalates found in many cosmetics; and perfluorooctanoic acid, used in nonstick and stain-repellant coatings. Lab studies have linked these chemicals to cancer, diabetes, obesity and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, among other problems. Baker blasts both Democrats and Republicans in Congress for the toothless Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, which leaves testing and reporting results to the manufacturer. But the companies rely on skilled public relations firms to attack scientists who raise safety concerns. The current pro-business administration also takes some licks from Baker. Although she offers suggestions for reducing exposure to these chemicals, No place—and no one—is immune.
It certainly is “chilling” when you consider how pervasive these chemicals are in our “fat, bones, blood, and organs”. My favorite part of the book is actually one of the appendices that list “Environmental and Public-Health Groups That Get It”. These are the groups I rely on for information, rather than the government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. Such groups on the list include:
- Environmental Working Group
- National Resource Defense Council
- Children’s Environmental Health Network
- Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
- Making Our Milk Safe
Author Nena Baker was motivated to write this book after her own body burden analysis revealed more than three dozen chemicals. I wonder what my body burden test would reveal? I am too afraid to find out!