The Toxic Consumer: A Review

Click Image to Buy

Click Image to Buy

Toxic chemicals are a fact of everyday life.  Undoubtedly many chemicals have done much to improve human life, but many more have been proven over time to have had disastrous effects on both our health and the environment.  If you want to learn more about toxic chemicals and their prevalence in our lives you could do worse than get hold of a copy of The Toxic Consumer.

This was not an easy book to read.  In part this was because it was a bit like reading the back of your shampoo bottle and is full of letter combinations they just never covered in a jolly phonics programme!  Mostly it was a difficult read because it brought home to me how badly we have pretty much polluted everything.  Not much of a feel-good factor I’m afraid.

Neither of these gripes, of course, are the fault of the authors, Karen Ashton and Elizabeth Salter Green.  The authors write lucidly on a difficult subject.  By the time I’d finished reading it I felt alarmed, yes, but also enlightened and to some degree empowered to make changes.  And for that reason I would recommend the book to anyone wanting to live a more sustainable life. 

The Toxic Consumer offers a critique of the chemical industry and the of legislation that has failed to regulate the industry and to protect consumers and the environment.  It also offers a clear guide to some of the worst everyday chemicals we are likely to come into contact with and suggests useful and practical changes we can make in our lives to avoid them or at least lessen their impact.

I was surprised to learn that if you bank with The Co-operative you can opt to have a pthalate free debit card.  I had no idea that the chemical Bisphenol-A is the stuff used to make products as varied and diverse as CDs, baby bottles, dental sealants and the linings of  of baked bean cans.  It is in fact a synthetic hormone mimicking oestrogen and causes snails to explode with the pressure of over producing eggs.  (If you remember, right now I’m very defensive of snails!)  I will probably be throwing out my non-stick pans and replacing them with, well, stick pans I guess.  I may never make a decent omelette again but the ones I have been making had the potential to kill a canary with the fumes.  I’ m also now going to track down an affordable alternative to the shampoo I currently use, something containing ingredients I can read with ease and pronounce!

Snail cunningly camouflaged as Euonymous!

Snail cunningly camouflaged as Euonymous!

 The Toxic Consumer by Karen Ashton and Elizabeth Salter Green is published by Impact.

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