Did you know that if you are good to our earth that you will also be good to yourself? I don’t mean in an indirect way, that we’ll all have have a better place to live, etc. I mean, if you, for example, use cleaning products that don’t pollute the earth’s water, then it just so happens that you won’t be polluting the air you breathe in your own home and the table you are eating your food off of will be safer too. I’ve been “going green” ever since we adopted a dog in 1999 with severe respiratory problems. I had to discontinue using those popular brand cleaning products which contained bleach or ammonia in exchange for non-toxic, non-polluting cleaning products like vinegar and baking soda. Because I am sensitive to chemicals and would suffer a sore throat whenever I cleaned with those toxic products, I was thrilled with the change! When we moved into our suburban home a year later, we continued to protect our dog from harmful toxins by refusing to use artificial fertilizers and weed killers on our lawn. Ten years later, our lawn may have few more dandelions than the lawn next door, but it is still beautiful, and it doesn’t poison me, my dog, or my children.
Thanks to Chicago Moms Blog, I was given a copy of National Geographic’s Green Guide Families by Science Editor Catherine Zandonella. This book’s secondary title, “The Complete Reference for Eco-friendly Parents” is, in my opinion, a misnomer. It should be, “The Complete Reference for Healthy Families and a Healthy Planet,” because the information in this book should be of interest to all parents, not just the “eco-friendly” ones. This book makes it easy to protect your family and the earth from toxic pollutants because all the research and data is consolidated into this one easy guide. Oh, how I wish I had this ten years ago. Oh, how I wish I had this book when I was pregnant. It would have saved me the countless hours I spent pouring over medical journals, magazine articles and books trying to make sure everything in our home, from the clothes we wear, to the paint we put on our walls, to the food we put in our mouths was as healthy as possible. There is an amazing amount of information packed into this 400 page book and every parent should know what is in here, from the hormone-disrupting toxins found in popular sunscreens( p.212) and endocrine disruptors in many baby care products (p. 208) to weighing the health risks and environmental impact of reusing carseats (p. 214).
I love that this book suggests that parents go to my favorite site for ratings on the health risks for make-up, cosmetics and sunscreen: www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. The guide explains ingredients such as sweeteners and preservatives in a way that is easy to reference and easy to understand. It has ideas and guidance for healthy birthday parties, Easter, Passover, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The book even explains how to pick a healthier toy and a healthier chocolate treat (for you and the planet). I’m so excited about this guide that I’m going to buy one for my brother who is expecting his first child.