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 Movement
4 Be a Super Shopper Precautionary Consumption at the Grocery Store
Precautionary Consumption as Mothers Work
6 Precautionary Consumption as a Class Act
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advocacy biomonitoring agency American avoid baby biomonitoring biomonitoring reports body burdens brands breastfeeding carcinogens Cerena certified-organic food chapter chemical body burdens chemical exposures child children’s health cleaning products company’s compounds consumer products consumption routine contain conventional cosmetics diet eating EDCs endocrine disruptors environment environmental chemicals environmental health movement Environmental Working Group flame retardants food and consumer foodwork glyphosate GMOs Government Accountability Office grocery store harm household income individuals industry ingredients labels lifestyle low-income manufacturers men’s neoliberal nontoxic organic food packaging PBDEs persistent organic pollutants personal care products pesticides phthalates plastic pollution practice precautionary consumption precaution precautionary consumption precautionary principle pregnancy protect public health quality standards reproductive responsibility retail landscape risk safe shopping safer shoppers social substances supermarkets synthetic chemicals tion tionary consumption toxic chemicals TSCA United USDA Whole Foods Market women I interviewed York City