There's Lead In Your Lipstick
By Gillian Deacon
Published 2011, Penguin Canada
Paperback, 301 pages
By the time she heads out the front door, the modern woman has spritzed, sudsed, and slathered herself in more than 127 different chemicals, many of them more toxic than beautifying.The book opens with Gillian Deacon's personal story for why she decided to write this book - when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though she believed that she had been living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle for years, she realized that one can never be too cautious. Deacon employs a few new vocabulary terms that help to introduce the reader to what Deacon hopes to accomplish with this book - by teaching the readers to be cautious about what to use in, on, and around their bodies. The first term is pinkwashing, applying to "big cosmetics corporations that position themselves as leaders in the struggle to eradicate breast cancer... [that] are, in fact, makers and marketers of products that contain many ingredients known or suspected to cause breast cancer." This term is related to the next- greenwashing, in which big corporations do the same thing with environmental awareness. She even gives a list of product lines that fall under this heading on page 10.
So how can you look and feel great while safeguarding your health? Get smart and go green from head to toe with the help of eco-expert Gillian Deacon. In The Green Body Guide, you'll learn how to read the ingredients to identify and understand the preservatives that are bad for your body and damaging to the earth, including formaldehyde in deodorant, nail polish, soap, shampoo, and shaving cream; coal tar in hair dyes; lead in lipstick; and many more. This is an indispensable handbook of personal-care choices that are sustainable, both for your health and for the earth.
Deacon's motto throughout the book is "Be your own advocate," and she uses the book to teach the reader how, with multiple resources that can be found both in books and on the internet. The chapter on label reading introduces the reader to the concept of the chemical body burden, which "refers to the accumulation of chemical ingredients in the human body." This chapter was incredibly illuminating, as I am sure most people do not consider the cumulative effect of all of the manufactured products that we use on a day-to-day basis, or even how different chemicals in these different products can react negatively with one another. Governmental bodies such as Health Canada or the U.S. FDA, are also shown to be of little help in curbing the influx of chemicals into the retail market that have been presented to be linked to illness and disease - and are sometimes even prohibited from use in European countries. She gives a list of the 20 worst chemicals to avoid and why on page 31 - a list which had me examining every product in my bathroom.
Each chapter begins with some basic information about the body parts mentioned to illustrate why and how the chemicals found in products can harm the body. Every chapter is supplied with a list of products that can be found on the internet applicable to that chapter's topic along with the pros and cons of each product. If that is not enough, she also supplies recipes for do-it-yourself homemade body care products, such as face masks, hair treatments, and lipsticks.
The book also teaches that many of the common "spin" words that companies use to promote a product as safe or healthy are, in fact, meaningless, without an industry-standard definition: natural, hypoallergenic, botanicals, pure plant essence, herbal conditioning, purifying, and nourishing, to name a few. Other words can be used to hide chemicals, such as fragrance or perfume, as the companies are not legally required to list the chemicals used to achieve them. Even the regulated word "organic" can not always be trusted as anything with less than 60% organic ingredients can not be truly organic.
In short, this book is a priceless commodity for me, and with it I hope to detox both my home and and family, adding years to all of our lives.
The Cover: It's simple and to-the-point, with an image of a tube of lipstick to accentuate the title - just the way a cover should be.
Favorite Quote: "Be your own advocate."
Read For: Off the Shelf Challenge
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*