Risky Business

Great reads


There's no shortage of safety tips for expectant moms—avoid lead paint and soft cheeses, steer clear of cat-box chores—yet according to Healthy Child, Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home, more hazards aren't being sufficiently scrutinized. In this book, author and environmental activist Christopher Gavigan aims to educate parents and parents-to-be about dangers our government is ignoring. Recalling the foolishness of earlier generations who "knew" smoking was dangerous, yet puffed away until officials finally said to quit, he urges actively avoiding such potentially detrimental chemicals as phthalates and bisphenol-A instead of waiting for formal warnings from the feds.

Gavigan's message is watered down by essays by celebrities like Kate Hudson and Brooke Shields, who admit that it's difficult to adopt a greener lifestyle and that they use potentially harmful products now and then. While it's wise to pace yourself to prevent feeling overwhelmed, the book would have been harder hitting with messages from those who wholeheartedly embrace the green-living ethos.

MOST VALUABLE TIP: To prevent an influx of unwanted items, request a green baby shower and register for baby gifts at a purveyor of natural and organic infant goods. (Dutton/Penguin, $25)