Wednesday, April 2, 2008
It wasn't until I had kids that I began to look at the world around us. I mean really look.
What is in the food they're eating?
What is in the cleaners I'm using around them?
What is in the air they breathe? Or the water they drink?
Gradually, I have been making some changes in what comes into the house. I can't control every toxin that they are exposed to, but I can make small steps in my home that could have a pretty big impact on our overall health.
Once I started the process I was pretty motivated to keep going. I felt like I was not only making a positive impact on my kids' health, but also on the environment.
So when Mother Talk announced this month's book tour, I waved my virtual hand in the air at the chance to read Healthy Child Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan.
Pick me! Pick me!
And they did.
I read the book cover to cover in about two days.
It can be overwhelming to learn of all the different toxins we come into contact with everyday. Very. Overwhelming.
The book does a pretty good job of emphasizing how to make small changes. One step at a time. And to really just be more aware of our surroundings. It touches on everything from indoor air pollutants to organic crib mattresses to safer carpet choices.
I think it would be unrealistic to expect to follow every suggestion the author makes. There are, for most of us, cost issues. Buying organic everything is expensive. I wish it didn't cost more to live healthy, but it does.
So Brian and I pick and choose what we focus on, and each year we become a little bit greener than we were the year before.
Brian is more environmentally conscious than I am. But I'm coming around.
He's convinced me that we don't need chemical lawn treatments because, you know, the kids roll around in the yard all summer. Hmmm. Yeah, never thought about that. I just wanted a nice yard like the neighbors.
And so I've learned to appreciate the beauty of crab grass.
Last year we ditched all of our Teflon cookware for stainless steal and cast iron.
This year I've transitioned my cleaning and laundry supplies to non-toxic products. Ever wonder why the big brands don't disclose their ingredients? I did. And the more I thought about it, the more uneasy I was using a product with unknown, but dangerous ingredients.
Despite already being pretty aware of the dangers in the environment, I found this book eye opening.
Here's a quote that did it for me: "The American Cancer Society estimates that 75% of cancer is due to environmental factors...".
That scares me.
I'm going to keep chipping away at making our environment, the one they spend most of their time in, as green and healthy as possible.
And I'm going to keep reminding myself not to get overwhelmed.
Even small changes make a difference.
But you know what? There are times when we need the chemicals. When, despite everything I have just written, I want to shout "ALL HAIL THE TOXIC CHEMICALS". Like when on April 1st (NOT REALLY EVEN FULL FLEDGED SPRING YET) I have already killed 4 f'ing ants in the boys bedroom. Four. Where the hell are they even coming from?
If anyone knows of a safe, non toxic method to rid a house of carpenter ants (I think that's what they are) then, please, do tell.
Because so far nothing has worked except a call to The Bug Man.