1. Educate yourself about endocrine disruptors, and educate your family and friends. Read the novel or other books (like Our Stolen Future: www.ourstolenfuture.com) and share them with others. I wrote a fact-based eco-thriller, because I wanted to share these issues with people in a way that was entertaining as well as informative and that allows readers to experience the reality we face emotionally and not just factually. My goal was to help us understand the real threats and find an inspiring way back into a relationship with the natural world that will allow our children to inherit a healthy world.www.douglascarltonabrams.com
2. Buy organic food and eat as low on the food chain as possible since pesticides concentrate as animals eat other animals.
3. Avoid using pesticides in your home or yard, or on your pet — use baits or traps instead, keep your home especially clean to prevent ant or roach infestations.
4. Find out if pesticides are used in your child’s school or day care center and campaign for non-toxic alternatives.
5. Avoid fatty foods such as cheese and meat whenever possible, since chemicals concentrate in animal fat.
6. Eat small, low mercury fish. If the entire fish fits on your plate (like tilapia), it is generally healthier. Also check out the safe fish eating guide put out by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
7. Avoid heating food in plastic containers, or storing fatty foods in plastic containers or plastic wrap.
8. Use cast iron pans or enamel coated cast iron pans instead of non-stick, which has lots of chemicals that leach into your cooked food.
9. Do not give young children soft plastic teethers or toys, since these also leach potential endocrine disrupting chemicals.
10. The most important thing is to work with other parents and non-profits to get strong government regulation of and increased research on endocrine disrupting chemicals. I provide a list of excellent non-profits on my website. In the end, we cannot shop our way or lifestyle our way out of chemical exposure. Toxins are so ubiquitous in our environment that the only true solution is working together to change chemical regulation. In fact, there are some very exciting new developments. The EPA has just come out with its principles for chemical reform, and it is likely that a bill entitled the Kid Safe Chemical Act will be introduced into Congress this year. But the only way it will pass is if we make our representatives do the right thing. There will be very strong forces of opposition working against it.
I start out every novel I write with a question, not an answer. The day I was sitting by the fire reading to my daughters, I asked myself a question that was both deeply personal and universal. It is a question that many of us are increasingly asking ourselves: Given the ecological challenges we face, can we survive as species, and what might be stronger than our greed, our fear, and our denial? I needed an answer to this question, and there is no better place to ask questions about human nature than in the fictional world. I got an answer to my question.
What I learned from the scientists is that in our species, and in fact all mammals, there is nothing stronger than the maternal instinct. Yes, mothers are the secret, and fathers, too. Today, we can speak of the parental instinct. In other words, it is our love for our children that is our greatest hope for survival. But we cannot protect our children without protecting all children. We have to realize that all children are in our care, even if they are not in our family.
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