Wondering what books to pack for your upcoming vacation or next poolside outing? We’ve rounded up eight page-turners perfect for conscious consumers who may be concerned with making safer choices. These titles will guide you to make more-informed shopping decisions, offering compelling reading for downtime during these long summer days.
Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products
and What’s at Stake for American Power
by Mark Schapiro
For the Politically Savvy Eco-Warrior
Schapiro’s exposé is a fantastic primer on the politics behind the American approach to chemical regulations. The book features both concise discussions of the health and environmental hazards in consumer products (such as toiletries, cosmetics, and food) and a clear series of arguments for how the U.S. is falling behind Europe when it comes to regulating toxic chemicals.
A must-read for anyone already concerned about toxic chemicals in consumer products and looking for more insight on the politics behind our broken regulatory system.
Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
by Florence Williams
For Those Who Like Their Breast Cancer Research With a
Dash of Humor
With a witty and conversational tone, Williams gives readers an environmental history of the breast and a timely reflection on the lack of knowledge about the environmental causes of breast cancer. Synthesizing scientific data and social analyses, the author builds a foundation of the biological function of the breast in order to help clarify the alarming trends in environmental exposure to toxins and the implications they have for breasts and breast cancer.
An accessible and entertaining format for anyone touched by breast cancer who wants to learn more about the environmental causes of the disease.
The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-Being
by Nena Baker
For Someone Who Wants to Reduce Their Chemical Exposure
but Doesn’t Know Where to Start
The Body Toxic takes a comprehensive look at our everyday exposure to toxic chemicals and the impact these substances can have on our bodies. This book is a great introduction to environmental health issues and is ideal for those who have newly become interested in the topics of chemical contaminants and human health. Baker provides succinct overviews of a number of commonplace sources of exposures and details how and why the U.S. regulatory system is falling behind.
A great read for anyone who wants to bolster their knowledge of the connections between toxic chemical exposure and human health.
Little Changes: Tales of a Reluctant
Home Eco-Momics Pioneer
by Kristi Marsh
For Parents Who Want to Make Safer Choices for Their Families
Marsh, a breast cancer survivor and mother of three, draws upon her own efforts to reduce her toxic chemical exposure to craft a book that’s filled with advice for like-minded consumers. The book translates the scientific information on toxic chemicals into digestible formats and provides clear insight on how making little changes in your life can have a big impact on your health.
Part memoir, part how-to guide to help you and your loved ones make safer and healthier choices.
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
by Michael Pollan
For the Intellectual Foodie
You’ve likely heard it before: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” This advice is Pollan’s take-home message in his book, which offers a brief glimpse into the pitfalls of an industrialized food system that has lost sight of the value of real food. Without being overtly political, the book delves into the overlapping dynamics of food marketing, nutrition science, and the rise in processed foods to explore how our contemporary approach to food is anything but nutritious.
Perfect for when you’re focused on setting lifestyle goals and trying to make good food a priority.
Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children
in an Age of Environmental Crisis
by Sandra Steingraber
For Those Who Crave the Personal Stories Behind Political Activism
Steingraber is a skilled memoirist with a number of books about her personal connections to environmental health issues. All of her work seamlessly weaves scientific research and evidence into clear and compelling narratives. In Raising Elijah, she tackles childhood health issues that have environmental roots—for example, the topic of hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking)—and also provides clear suggestions for policy changes.
Ideal for environmentally conscious individuals who are concerned about children’s health, this book nicely balances personal stories with politics and science.
Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the
by Stacy Malkan
For Women Who Are Ready to Embrace Non-Toxic Cosmetics
This book takes an in-depth look at the cosmetics industry in the U.S. and explores
the link between toxic chemicals in cosmetics and their impact on human health, particularly as it relates to the recent surge in breast cancer rates. Malkan blends scientific research on the environmental causes of breast cancer with important consumer questions about why cosmetics companies continue to profit from toxic products. This critical perspective is made more hopeful as the book offers insights about the options for changes to both the marketplace and the regulatory system.
A smart read for anyone who’s ready to make the shift away from conventional cosmetics and wants to know more about the interlocking nature of economics and politics in the mainstream beauty industry.
The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early
Development in Today’s Girls
by Louise Greenspan, MD, and Julianna Deardorff, PhD
For Anyone Looking for a New Perspective on Raising Teenage Girls
This book is a critically important investigation of some of the root causes of early puberty in girls (according to the authors, just a generation ago fewer than 5 percent of girls started puberty before the age of 8; today that percentage has more than doubled). Emphasizing the range of environmental and social aspects of these biological trends, the authors also offer strategies for helping girls as they navigate bodily and hormonal changes that can start to happen before they’re socially or cognitively prepared.
This is both a handbook and a font of information to prepare yourself and the girls in your life for today’s very real changes in adolescent health.
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