Next up for Book Review Tuesday:
Smart Mama’s Green Guide.: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure
Environmental engineer turned environmental lawyer Jennifer Taggart makes a hearty attempt to educate and assist Moms (and dads) with small children be Greener, be more aware of the environmental dangers in the typical household and live healthier and less toxic lives. She tackles all the usual suspects: Radon, Abestos, Mold, Lead, and the lesser known by products or derivative elements that make up some common toxins or contribute to toxic environments. For advice and tips for the PREGNANT mom, she goes beyond the typical mercury warnings and delves deeper into dangerous foods and household chemicals that could impact the mom or her unborn baby.
I must say while I pride myself on living a “Green” life, I shamedly admit that really amounts to using mesh grocery bags, recycling, using water delivery versus purchasing multiple bottles and purchasing organic when I can afford to…um yeah.
Imagine my surprise to go through Smart Mama’s GreenGuide and read about all the horrific toxins that pollute every bit of mine and my family’s existence. So the author started off a bit neurotic and compulsive about being toxic free. Being an environmental engineed didn’t help. I suppose her sensitiviy to toxins were also on account of the fact that she suffered early miscarriages and looking for sources was convinced that the environment must have been the cause. She had an uphill battle to learn all she could being that tragic momentous event happened in 2002. Fast forward to 2009, readers have the benefit of her research, background, education and resources in this book. The premise behind the book, especially for pregnant women, is that you are indeed what you eat and you can control what you are exposed to, once you are educated and become informed. Good try.
At times, the descriptions of the toxins and hazards caused my eyes to glaze over and I eventually skipped those sections where she tries to explain in a little too much detail about the hazard, its source, cause and potential side effects. Me=lazy reader. Also, to really live a Green life taking all the precautions outlined in this book one would need to have gotten at least a C in high school chemistry or have a small microbiology lab stashed in the den somewhere. Also, some of the stories between the covers of this book were horrifying. The worst is the case example of the woman whose breast milk became so toxic that it leaked a smelly and pungent discharge. Eeek! Smart Mama has tiny text blocks of “Scary Mama Facts” that I suppose are put there to alarm you into compliance, but in all honesty, the entire book got me cringing and ready to pack up my brood and head for a mud hut in Outer Mongolia where we can’t be impacted by all the Radiation and Poisons polluting life in America.
Most helpful were the tables and side bars which give you a cut and dry listing of the toxins, tips for reducing or eliminating exposure and her expert analysis of the real life practical effects of such exposure. I especially found helpful the “Smart Mama Tips” and wish there were more of them because they were simple, easy to follow advice that most could understand and follow. The latter chapters that dish out very real practical tips for being “Greener” are also very helpful especially Chapter 5-8. I know plenty of moms who are/were very neurotic about limiting their infant and children’s exposure to all things toxic and those last chapters provide a very helpful and thorough treatment to creating the perfect environment. *sigh* What a big undertaking and exhausting one, but I suppose our children are worth it. Until this book, I lived life under the “ignorance is bliss” category of apathy. Maybe I STILL am…Ha!
If anything, this book is a very good resource book that deserves at least a pass over and a space on your library shelf.