We haven’t quite got to the end of this book yet, but we already know that it should be on the reading list of anyone at all concerned with the high levels of toxic chemicals in our everyday environments. Actually, let’s change that, we think it should be on everyone’s reading list.
‘The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being’, is written by investigative journalist Nena Baker. Her research into this topic began after reading an article in The New York Times about a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study was on the increasing number of synthetic chemicals found present in human blood and tissue. Biomonitoring was the name given to these measurements which would be released every two years. The fact that the CDC thought this process neccessary fueled Nena’s journalistic curiousity. She soon unearthed some shocking and worrying facts. In her research Nena had our own body analysed, traces of at least three dozen persistent toxic chemicals were found, including DDT and PCBs. DDT is a very toxic pesticide and PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) are industrial insulators, both of these were banned over 30 years ago. However they are still routinely found all over the world in human blood and tissue as they are taking such a long time to break down in our environment.
The book talks about how in the last 100 years chemicals have revolutionised our lives but also how now we are starting to realise the damage that they are doing. With chapters on pesticides, bisphenol A, flame retardents, perfluorinated chemicals (non-stick frying pans etc) and beauty products, it will make you think twice about the things around you. Nena doesn’t just dish the dirt, she also gives tips on how to reduce your own body burden by making informed choices on the products you use and have in your surroundings.