Deanna Duke wears many hats. She is a mother, author and founder of the well known environmental blog, Crunchy Chicken. Deanna is also a self-proclaimed urban homesteader who lives in Seattle with her husband , two children and three chickens, a rescued chihuahua and four fish. Over the past few months I have gotten to know Deanna through a group that we both belong to: Green Moms Carnival. Deanna is a woman filled with compassion, passion and humor-all of which come through loud and clear in her new book.
Deanna’s book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You, walks us through how pervasive toxins are in our environment. Her husbands cancer and her son’s autism are the driving forces in her commitment to reducing the amount of toxins her family is exposed to in their everyday life. Deanna share’s with humor and insight the ways we can all avoid and reduce our own exposure to toxic chemicals.
I am honored that Deanna invited me to participate in her book tour. I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions after reading her book.
Lori: What is the most worrisome toxin out there?
Deanna: Right now I’d say it’s Bisphenol A (BPA) mostly because of the prevalence of this chemical. It’s in plastics labeled #7 (and some labeled #3), in almost all canned food and beverages, on cash register receipts and on paper money. The concerning thing about BPA is its potential health effects. Recent research has shown that BPA not only is a hormone disruptor and has the potential for causing neurological issues, but that it can make healthy breast tissue cells act like cancerous ones and can block the efficacy of certain breast cancer treatments. Additional research has shown that BPA may cause arrhythmia and heart attacks in women.
Lori: What are your top three products to avoid and why?
- Non-stick products: Anything made with Teflon, stain resistant material or non-stick materials, particularly in food packaging. These all contain some form of Perfluorochemicals (PFCs), which persist in the body for decades and present potential harm to a wide range of organs.
- Personal care products with parabens: Parabens are another hormone disruptor and can cause organ toxicity.
- All products with artificial fragrances and parfums: Artificial fragrances harbor the chemicals phthalates. Phthalates have been found to disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive abnormalities in males. Some studies also link phthalates to liver cancer.
Lori: If you were advising someone on how to begin detoxifying their lives where would you tell them to begin?
Deanna: Start in the bathroom. Get rid of toxic cleaning supplies and analyze all your personal care products for parabens and artificial fragrance. The process of ridding toxins can be very overwhelming so I generally advise people to pick what’s doable for them and start with that. They can always go further once they’ve tackled, say, hair care products. It’s easy to feel like you have to do it all at once but, like everything else, pick your battles.
Lori: What feedback have you received on your book so far?
Deanna: Most of the feedback I’ve gotten was what an easy read it is and that it is funny. I tried to take a topic that is, for the most part, frightening and make it into something approachable and easy to read, while at the same time educational. So, I’m happy that I’ve accomplished that goal.
Lori: Do you see movement in the right direction when it comes to toxic chemicals? Are you optimistic?
Deanna: Absolutely. Recent research and increased public awareness have caused a lot of changes not only with manufacturers offering up alternatives but also from a legislative standpoint as well. From local laws being written in states banning BPA from certain products and other chemicals to the introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act in the Senate, I’m hopeful that, between consumer awareness and scientific research, we can prevent many of the health and environmental effects that these chemicals can cause.
Deanna’s book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You, is a worthwhile guide to help navigate our way through an environment filled with hidden toxins. If you haven’t already, check out Deanna over at the Crunchy Chicken.
Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of The Non-Toxic Avenger for review. This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase the book through the link it will put a few pennies in my pocket. The opinions are my very own.