Better Safe Than Sorry: How Consumers Navigate Exposure to Everyday Toxics
How toxic are the products we consume on a daily basis? Whether it’s triclosan in toothpaste, formaldehyde in baby shampoo, endocrine disruptors in water bottles, or pesticides on strawberries, chemicals in food and personal care products are of increasing concern to consumers. This book chronicles how ordinary people try to avoid exposure to toxics in grocery store aisles using the practice of “precautionary consumption.”
Through an innovative analysis of environmental regulation, the advocacy work of environmental health groups, the expansion of the health-food chain Whole Foods Market, and interviews with consumers, Norah MacKendrick ponders why the problem of toxics in the U.S. retail landscape has been left to individual shoppers—and to mothers in particular. She reveals how precautionary consumption, or “green shopping,” is a costly and time-intensive practice, one that is connected to cultural ideas of femininity and good motherhood but is also most available to upper- and middle-class households. Better Safe Than Sorry powerfully argues that precautionary consumption places a heavy and unfair burden of labor on women and does little to advance environmental justice or mitigate risk.
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Chemical Regulation in the United States
The Environmental Health
Be a Super Shopper Precautionary Consumption at
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advocacy biomonitoring agency American avoid baby biomonitoring reports body burdens brands breastfeeding Cerena certified-organic food chapter chemical body burdens chemical exposures child children’s health company’s compounds consumer products consumption routine contain conventional cosmetics eating endocrine disruptors environment environmental chemicals environmental health movement ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE Environmental Working Group food and consumer foodwork glyphosate GMOs Government Accountability Office grocery store harm HIGH STAKES household income individuals industry ingredients labels lifestyle low-income manufacturers men’s MOVING TOWARD ENVIRONMENTAL neoliberal nontoxic NOTES TO PAGES organic food packages PBDEs persistent organic pollutants personal care products PERSONALIZING POLLUTION pesticides phthalates precaution precautionary consumption precautionary principle pregnancy protect public health reproductive responsibility retail landscape risk safe shopping SAFE UNTIL SORRY safer social STAKES OF SHOPPING substances SUPER SHOPPER supermarkets synthetic chemicals tion tionary consumption TSCA United USDA Whole Foods Market women I interviewed York City