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Slow Death by Rubber Duck

Before the holidays, I read Slow Death by Rubber Duck.

I’m glad that I read it BEFORE the holidays, because it’s not exactly your typical uplifting holiday-type reading.  Having said that, I highly recommend this book to all of you.  Really, it’s a must read.

Slow Death By Rubber Duck

Overall Impressions

Slow Death by Rubber Duck is written by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie.

It’s an account of a study they both did to test the effects of seven chemicals that are prevalent in our daily lives.  Who did they test these chemicals on?  Themselves!  Yes, they’re both pretty committed to learning about these chemicals and then educating the rest of us about their findings.

It’s terrifying to learn just how much the use of chemicals has spread into everything we touch.  It’s even more scary to learn that babies ingest these chemicals at a much higher rate because they touch and mouth everything so much more, not to mention their fast rate of breathing.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Lourie tested seven different chemicals  They are:

  1. Pthlates
  2. Teflon and other non-stick products
  3. BPA
  4. Mercury
  5. Triclosan
  6. Chemicals that make things flame retardant
  7. DDT

Each one has different properties and has a different history.  Perhaps more importantly, each one has a different effect on our bodies and our environment.  Some are hard to avoid and some aren’t.  Some stay in our bodies for a long time and others don’t. Are you curious yet?

Alia’s Learnings

I learned a lot by reading this book.  It’s full of information and I’m sure I didn’t actually absorb it all on this first read.  You can bet that I’ll be reading it again and again.

From the first time through, here are a few of the quick hits that I can share with you:

Chemicals like Triclosan seem to be incorporated into everything.  For some reason, we have become hypersensitive to germs and rely on this chemical for the feeling of protection from them.  Yet, just a little bit of this chemical isn’t enough to offer protection.  Enough has to be used for it to be effective.  By just using a little bit, we are effectively polluting our bodies and environment for no reason, other than the perception that we might be protected from germs.

The most bizarre example of a product that has Triclosan is the germ-free pizza cutter.  Basically, the handle of the pizza cutter contains a germ-fighting chemical, possibly in a minute quantity.  I’m just not sure why you would need this.  Don’t you wash your pizza cutter after you use it anyway?  And is there enough of the chemical to actually fight the germs in the first place?

Pthlates are in everything!  In a general sense, they make products feel rubbery.  They are in a multitude of plastics, plastic bags, plastic toys and yes, rubber duckies.  As soon as I realized this, I checked my son’s bath toys.  Fortunately, they are all BPA- and pthalate-free.  I was so relieved!  Given the amount of chewing that he does on those bath toys, I’m quite pleased that they don’t have unnecessary chemicals in them.

I love Tuna.  I knew it was high in mercury.  I had no idea just how much mercury is in this fish.  The results of the tests were astounding and it’s made me think twice of just how often I will be eating tuna fish in the future.  Is it worth it?

Why Should You Read This Book?

This book is informative.

It’s funny.

It’s full of practical tips for those who want to live a cleaner life.

If nothing else, you’ll learn something.


The Most Common Toxic Ingredients in Cosmetics

I stumbled across this infographic a little while ago.  It was posted on the Toxic Beauty Blog via Facebook.

Which Ingredients are the Good Ones, again?

There is a lot of information out there about what ingredients to avoid and which ones to use more.  I find that there’s a lot of information about it all and it can sometimes be contradictory.  This infographic is a great visual of some of the most common toxic ingredients in everyday cosmetics. (If this infographic is too small for you to read clearly, just click on it to see the bigger version).

Related Posts:

Is Your Nail Polish Safe To Use?

One Step Closer to Banning Triclosan

Seeking Safe Skincare

Try to Look Pretty Without Poisoning Yourself

No More Dirty Looks

Not Just a Pretty Face:  The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry

Petroleum Jelly:  Should you Use it your skin or not?

There’s Lead in Your Lipstick – Definitely worth a read

What’s In Your Facial Cleanser?


One Step Closer to Banning Triclosan

The federal government will be announcing that it will start an assessment on the antibacterial chemical, Triclosan.  Reported last week, Postmedia says that this is an important step in improving environmental and human health conditions.

Why is Triclosan a concern?

Triclosan is one of those chemicals that many advocate to remove from skin Ban Triclosancare products.  It’s been shown to be toxic to both fish and wildlife and to humans.  This chemical is known as an endocrine disruptor, possibly being linked to thyroid problems and cancer.  Further, it is thought that Triclosan contributes to antibiotic resistant bacteria, contributing to formation of “superbugs”.

Where do you find Triclosan?

Triclosan is in a multitude of everyday products.  You’ll find it lurking in hand sanitizers, in all kinds of makeup in even in plastic goods, like smartphone cases.

Environmental Defence has been a leader in the campaign to ban Triclosan from every day products.  Read all about this latest development here.