Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Slow Death by Rubber Duck

At the recent Vegetarian Food Fair I was talking to one of the vendors about how when you start to think about how you eat it becomes inevitable that you become more aware of the rest of your environment. That’s been the case with me recently for sure.

I’m reading Slow Death by Rubber Duck, which is a fantastic book about the toxic chemical stew that we all currently live in. Shockingly, the book isn’t a total downer. It’s well-written, funny and informative. I’m flying right through it and learning so much.

It’s made me really re-think how I live my life. I had already started making changes over the years as I became aware of the potential problems that chemicals could bring, but I don’t think I ever had a real idea of how many dangerous chemicals touched my life every single day.

From my morning shower with scented soap, shampoo and lotion; to my kitchen full of products encased in plastic packaging; to my non-stick, Teflon-spewing cookware and stain-guarded and flame-resistant couch, my life is full of chemicals that can cause all sorts of health issues. And, like so many others, I had no idea about how many places these chemicals are hiding.

In Canada, BPA has been banned from baby bottles, but it’s still cropping up all over the place in the plastics that we use every day. And it seems like every time I turn around there is another toy recall because of lead or other contaminants. It’s scary.

But the book is also uplifting. It talks about the successful campaigns that have sprung up over the years and how they have done so much to reverse the hazards in our lives and to help our bodies clear out so many of the horrible things that have snuck in. It is wonderful and inspiring to know that as more people become educated about the products that we are using, the more likely that manufacturers will be forced to stop using toxic chemicals and to re-think how they do business. We are already seeing that with BPA and perhaps it’s only a matter of time before others are outlawed.

Until then, I’m choosing to voice my displeasure with my wallet. We already traded in our Swiffer for a steam mop and we are slowly phasing out all the chemical cleaners in our home. We’re also phasing out any non-stick cookware we own and going Teflon-free. And once my current crop of scented lotions and potions run out, there will be no more coming in. Unless I know that it’s safe, I am not slathering it on.

It may be impossible to go completely chemical-free – as the book points out, it can be a dizzying prospect. But by paying more attention, I can start to at least improve things. I pay attention to labels on the food that I eat, so now I know that I need to really look at everything that I bring into my home. Clean eating can certainly transition into clean living if I put my mind to it!  

The book's video trailer:

1 comment:

ChrisOnTheRoad said...

I've had my cast iron skillet and cast wok for years and they're my favourite cooking instruments - far nicer than anything "non-stick" I've ever used. Plus, I'm probably going to have them forever, and I can use steel utensils with them, and cleaning them is dead easy (while still hot, add water, rinse, and let air dry - once the patina is well established).