12 of our favorite reads on toxic chemicals and environmental justice

Mark Earth Day at home this year? We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite books, blogs, and articles to learn more about the fight to stop the chemical industry from polluting our homes, schools and workplaces with toxic chemicals and achieving justice. environment for the most affected communities. To learn more, check out our top 10 documentaries to stream.

Silent spring

By Rachel Carson

Rarely does a single book change the course of history, but Rachel Carson Silent spring does exactly that. The outcry that followed its publication in 1962 forced a ban on DDT and brought about revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land and water. Carson’s passionate concern for the future of our planet reverberated powerfully around the world, and his eloquent book was instrumental in launching the environmental movement. It is without a doubt one of the seminal books of the 20th century.

Washington Post: ‘It’s environmental racism’: How a protest in a farming town in North Carolina sparked a national movement

By Darryl Fears and Brady Dennis

Introduces our colleague and friend Peggy Shepard from WE ACT for environmental justice.

WARREN COUNTY, NC – Ben Chavis was driving a lonely road through rolling tobacco fields when he looked in his rearview mirror and saw the State Soldier.

Chavis knew he was a marked man. Protests had erupted against North Carolina’s decision to dump 40,000 cubic meters of soil contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals into a poor black farming community in Warren County, and Chavis was a leader in the uprising. The soldier stopped him.

“What did I do, officer?” Chavis asked that day in 1982. The answer shocked him.

“He told me I was driving too slowly.”

Chavis was arrested and thrown in jail. When the cell door closed, he grabbed the metal bars and said, “This is racism. It’s environmental racism. “

Learn more →

Slow Death by Rubber Duck Book Cover

Slow Death By Rubber Duck: The Secret Danger Of Everyday Things

By Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith

Pollution isn’t just about belching ugly chimneys and sewers – now it’s personal. The most dangerous pollution, it turns out, comes from common items in our homes and workplaces. To prove this point, for a week, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie ingested and inhaled a host of things that surround us all. Using their own bodies as a point of reference to tell the story of pollution in our modern world, they expose the giants of the companies that make the toxins, the government officials who let it happen, and the effects on people and communities. families around the world.

This book – the testimony of their experience – also exposes how poisoned we are every day of our lives, from simple house dust that pollutes our blood to toxins in our urine that are created by the flow of life. shampoo and toothpaste mill. Ultimately, hopeful, the book gives readers simple ideas to protect themselves and their families and make a difference for the better.

Toxic Communities book cover

Toxic Communities: Environmental racism, industrial pollution and residential mobility

by Dorceta Taylor

From St. Louis to New Orleans, from Baltimore to Oklahoma City, there are poor and minority neighborhoods so plagued by pollution that just living there can be dangerous to your health. Due to entrenched segregation, zoning ordinances that favor wealthier communities, or because companies have found the “ lanes of least resistance ”, there are many hazardous wastes and toxic facilities in these communities, which leads residents to experience health and wellness issues in addition to running. and class discrimination is for the most part already experienced. Take stock of the recent environmental justice scholarship, Toxic communities examines the links between residential segregation, zoning and exposure to environmental hazards. Renowned environmental sociologist Dorceta Taylor focuses on the locations of hazardous installations in low-income and minority communities and shows how they were dumped, contaminated and exposed.

the Guardian: Toxic America Series

Pesticides in your breakfast cereals. Carcinogenic chemicals in your furniture and contaminated drinking water.

Welcome to Toxic America – a Guardian project that will explore the health implications of living in an environment that can expose us all to daily chemical contamination from the air we breathe, the food we eat, the products we eat. we use and water we drink.

The American public is regularly exposed to toxic chemicals that have long been banned in countries such as the UK, Germany and France. If they are considered harmful in these countries, why not in the United States?

As Long As Grass Grows book cover

As long as Grass Grows Up: The Indigenous Struggle for Environmental Justice, From Settlement to Standing Rock

by Dina Gilio-Whitaker

Through the unique prism of ‘indigenized environmental justice’, Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker explores the history charged with treaty violations, struggles for food and water security, and the protection of sacred sites, while highlighting the important leadership of Aboriginal women in this area. struggle of several centuries. As long as the grass grows gives readers an accessible history of Indigenous resistance to government and corporate incursions on their lands and offers new approaches to environmental justice activism and politics. Throughout 2016, the Standing Rock protest shone a spotlight on Indigenous activists nationwide, but it also underscored how uninformed Americans are about the long-standing historical tensions between Indigenous peoples and the movement. dominant environmental. Ultimately, she argues, modern environmentalists must look to the history of Indigenous resistance for wisdom and inspiration in our common fight for a just and sustainable future.

The Intercept Series: Bad Chemistry

By Sharon Lerner

Articles by Sharon Lerner on the global contamination crisis surrounding toxic industrial chemicals such as PFOA, PFOS and GenX. The United States has refused to regulate chemicals in this class, known as PFAS, despite the fact that they persist indefinitely in the environment and have been linked to cancer and many other diseases.

Love Canal book cover

Love Canal: my story

By Lois Marie Gibbs

Today, “Love Canal” is synonymous with the fight for environmental health and justice. But in 1972, when Lois Gibbs moved there with her husband and new baby, it was simply a humble neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York. How did this community become the benchmark for toxic disasters? How did Gibbs and his neighbors start a national movement that continues today? What do their efforts tell us about current threats to environmental health and how to prevent them? Love Canal is Gibbs’ original tale of historic wrestling, updated with information gained over three decades.


Our former team member Lindsay Dahl writes an amazing blog. She says: “I am an activist, a writer and a shaker. I am not happy with the status quo and therefore I write about: a clean lifestyle, the environment, feminism and stories about people who are agents of change.

Count Down Book Cover

Countdown: How Our Modern World Threatens Sperm Count, Impairs Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Threatens Man’s Future Race

by Shanna Swan

Find out more in our interview with Dr. Swan!

In 2017, author Shanna Swan and her team of researchers carried out a major study. They found that over the past four decades, semen levels in men in Western countries have dropped by more than 50%. They came to this conclusion after reviewing 185 studies involving nearly 45,000 healthy men. The result sent shockwaves around the world, but the story didn’t end there. It turns out that our sexual development is changing more broadly, both for males and females and even for other species, and the modern world is on the way to becoming infertile.

How and why could this happen? What is hijacking our fertility and our health? Countdown breaks down these questions, revealing what Swan and other researchers have learned about how lifestyle and chemical exposures affect our fertility, sexual development – potentially including increased gender fluidity – and health general as a species. Engagingly explain the science and implications of these global threats and provide simple, practical guidelines for effectively avoiding chemicals (from water bottles to shaving cream) both as individuals and as companies, Countdown is both an urgent wake-up call, an enlightening reading and a vital tool for the protection of our future.

Chigago Tribune: Playing with Fire: Chemical Companies, Big Tobacco, and Toxics in Your Home

By Patricia Callahan, Sam Roe and Michael Hawthorne

The average American baby is born with 10 fingers, 10 toes, and the highest levels of flame retardants recorded in infants in the world. Toxic chemicals are present in almost every home, packaged in sofas, chairs and many other products. Two powerful industries – Big Tobacco and the chemical makers – have run deceptive campaigns that have led to the proliferation of these chemicals, which don’t even work as promised.

Learn more →

Fairly green: eat better, live cleaner, be happier, all without driving your family crazy!

By Leah Segedie

To get a feel for Leah’s counseling style, check out this excerpt that she shared with us when she published the book.

In Fairly green, Mamavation Blogger Leah Segedie uncovers the truth behind food and household products that are falsely labeled as natural and healthy, but are actually filled with chemicals and toxins. From furniture to packaged foods, Leah guides you through detoxifying your home, diet, and lifestyle, showing you how to make the best choices possible.

It exposes brands and products that contain toxic and hormone-disrupting ingredients and provides guidelines on choosing safer products and organic products free from toxic and persistent pesticides. She tells you how to switch to meat, dairy and eggs without antibiotics, GMOs, growth hormones and dangerous pathogens. It explains at which stages of childhood children are most vulnerable and need more protection. And it includes delicious, kid-approved recipes to help you detoxify your cooking routine. It’s not about being perfect or 100% clean – none of us are – it’s about being green sufficient.

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