The Good, The Bad, and the Non-Toxic


The Non-Toxic Avenger

Deanna Duke,The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You


by Deanna Duke

author, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You


Choosing to eliminate toxins from your environment poses a lot of issues, not just with figuring out what the heck they are to begin with and what to replace them with, but also how to convince the rest of your family to play along.  When I undertook a radical project to completely remove exposure to known toxins from my family’s food, personal care products, toys, etc. it became a bit of a game.

On one hand, the best method was to just switch things out and hope they didn’t notice. This was certainly easiest to do with personal care products. My kids and husband weren’t exactly emotionally tied to a specific soap or laundry detergent and, for the most part, didn’t even know what were are using. Tougher things, like toothpaste, were met with some resistance but eventually were won over.

I did manage to make my daughter absolutely paranoid about flame retardants in her pajamas and she was always asking “is it safe?” as if she were the dentist in Dustin Hoffman’s Marathon Man film. I quickly realized I was driving her crazy with organic foods when I heard she was lecturing everyone in the lunchroom about their food selections, making it sound as if they were going to succumb to imminent death once they were consumed. I decided to back off on influencing them since they didn’t quite understand the nuances of my book project.

For the most part, beside the occasional paranoia, they didn’t really put up much of a fight. My daughter, Emma, didn’t balk when I surreptitiously got rid of some of her toys that had enormously high cadmium and lead counts and my son, Henry, complained but, ultimately, didn’t prevent me from adding a rainforest’s worth of tropical plants to help rid our indoor air of pollutants.

While a few things just ended up not being worth the fight and I let them have their way, the vast majority of changes were accepted and we all went on with our collective lives, with our household environment and other exposures being that much cleaner. And, it was completely worth the minimal struggle.


Deanna Duke is the author of the blog,, and the author of the book, The Non-Toxic Avenger: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.

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