DR L: A to Z of D-Toxing is a reference guide for people to reduce their toxic exposures from consumer products. It’s comprehensive in scope and detail; yet, it’s very readable and user-friendly. And you created this while expanding your family from one child to three children. What inspired you to pursue this ambitious project during such a busy time?
SOPHIA: First, I must admit that I was never interested in protecting the environment or concerned about toxic exposures before I became a mother. Because I had always been very healthy—rarely got sick—the environment and toxic exposures seemed irrelevant to me. Becoming a mother changed my perspective profoundly, however. While my children were healthy, their biological fragility was obvious to me.
After I had my first born, I skimmed several childcare books at night. Since having a child doesn’t come with a manual, I was seeking basic information, like how to nourish my daughter with a healthy diet and nurture healthy sleep patterns. Because I had a full-time job outside the home, I could review these materials only at night. I would then accidentally encounter alarming claims as I was supposed to be soothing myself to sleep: claims like popular baby products containing carcinogens, endocrine disrupting chemicals, neurotoxicants, and reproductive toxicants. I really disliked that I had no control over when and how I was learning this information. Since I often wished for an informed, wise source to give me an overview of what I should know and what I could buy/do, I decided to create what I wish I could have given my younger self.
DR L: Your new book is incredibly detailed, yet fairly easy to comprehend. How did you drill down and what was your threshold in labeling a particular item as a “no” vs. a “yes”?
SOPHIA: My children inspired the details in the book: My purchasing activity ramped up significantly as a mother, and my curiosity about the ingredients and materials in everything I buy grew as I learned that many of these ingredients end up in our bodies and threaten our health. Plus, healthier options can be more expensive so I wanted to understand what I was really getting for my money. For example, mattresses and carpets can be expensive. New, or imminent, parents often make these purchases for a new child. With many options that span a wide range of prices, I wanted to understand the benefits and “risks” at each price point that I could afford. I knew that I would eventually learn about risks in my household products (whether I wanted to or not) and I wanted to try to make purchases that I wouldn’t regret later. So, the details in my book are a result of me trying to figure out a high impact strategy to prioritize my efforts and budget. (more…)