Theres an excellent Los Angeles-based organization Ive linked to many times on this blog Healthy Child Healthy World. It was a great resource (back then it was called the Childrens Health Environmental Coalition) for us when reporting The Complete Organic Pregnancy and continues to be helpful today. It is one of the first places I send parents who are just tiptoeing into this world. Its serious without being scary, and manages to be welcoming at the same time.
Its all about protecting the health and wellbeing of children from harmful environmental exposures. From its mission statement: We educate parents, support protective policies, and engage communities to make responsible decisions, simple everyday choices, and well-informed lifestyle improvements to create healthy environments where children and families can flourish.
The organization was founded in 1991 by James and Nancy Chuda after their daughter died from a rare form of non-hereditary cancer. They felt the need to do something about children whose lives are being lost to cancer (and other diseases) linked to hazards in the environment, especially as they had been unable to find enough scientific research on this very link. In fact, they write on the site, we discovered that virtually all of our environmental protection standards in the United States are based on research that measures the potential effects of carcinogens on a 155-pound adult male. So they set about trying to protect far smaller specimens. We began to see that if the gap in research on environmental toxic impacts on children could be filled, perhaps more appropriate protection standards could be set, and growth in the incidence of childhood cancer might be checked.
Today the list of diseases has expanded. More than 125 million Americans, especially children, now face an historically unprecedented rise in chronic disease and illness such as cancer, autism, asthma, birth defects, ADD / ADHD, and learning and developmental disabilities. Credible scientific evidence increasingly points to environmental hazards and household chemicals as causing and contributing to many of these diseases.
Whats with this Valentine Im writing? Well, along the way the gathered more reliable scientific research, continued to educate families, but also began to share easy how-to strategies as well as what-to-buy information on alternative products that would minimize toxic exposure both at home and at school. Last week Healthy Child came out with a whopper of a book, Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home, written by their CEO/executive director Christopher Gavigan, and it contains all of this information and more. The organization has some pretty well-known Hollywood contacts (Tom Hanks, Erin Brockovich, Sheryl Crow and Meryl Streep were just a few of the big names who contributed to the book), which I assume helped them land a three-pager in People Magazine. The book shot to No. 15 on Amazon.com the first day it was being sold. It thrills me to no end when such solid environmental health information reaches so far into the mainstream. I can only imagine what the founders must be feeling.
I emailed with Christopher Gavigan last week when he was gearing up for the launch and crazed. He described it as the book if you are looking for 'easy' super user-friendly, approachable, not fear-based, practical, and empowering. I have a copy and what he says is true.
Within the framework of reducing toxic exposure at home, the book covers pregnancy, green baby showers, cleaning, food, toys, gardening, beauty care and more. Theres an enormous Healthy Shopping and Resources section at the back (full disclosure: our book is listed). I see it as the green health bible for our generation(s). So: Get a copy, give a copy, spread awareness. All proceeds go to the organization.
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