It's that time of year again.
No, no…It’s not a time for Christmas cheer and the holiday giving spirit. It's time to FREAK OUT about the toxicity of perfectly safe and sensible items sold to holiday shoppers in a big box store near you. Nothing says Merry Christmas like total paranoia that the toy you've picked out for your kid is a silent killer. Good times.
But that's precisely what Rhea Suh, President of the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) (and Christmas ghoul), wants you to believe.
Clearly Suh doesn't think the holidays are stressful enough. She thinks you should needlessly worry that toxins and poisons lurk unseen in toy stores across the country. Instead of the regular questions that swirl around one's head when out Christmas shopping, like "will little Timmy like this?" or "Is this too expensive?", Suh and her fun-stealing colleagues at the NRDC want you to ask "will it kill the kids?" or, "will this give little Timmy cancer and little Susie autism.” Maybe Suh thinks we should just give our kids rocks, sticks and organic baby carrots for Christmas.
In a blast email the NRDC sent out just before Black Friday, Suh dramatically warned shoppers:
Before you storm the aisles of your favorite stores for Black Friday deals today, you’re going to want to read this. NRDC and our partners just released a consumer report grading retailers on the toxicity of their products — and many of America’s most popular stores failed. When we shop at a trusted store, we expect the products lining the shelves to be safe. But the alarming truth is that toxic chemicals are hiding in everyday products, from cleaning items and cosmetics to baby toys and electronics.
Of course, like most alarmist messages from radical green activist organizations, there's always a teeny nugget of truth in the message. Suh's correct that toxic chemicals are contained in cleaning items and cosmetics and baby toys and electronics. Yes, those items do contain chemicals and if consumed at high enough levels, they’re toxic. But what Suh and her ilk always leave out is that the dose makes the poison.
In order to get a toxic dose of the chemicals Suh's so worried about, you'd have to EAT the baby toy (entirely and many of them) and multiple containers of cosmetics. You'd have to drink that Windex (yum!) and devour that Wii console or that shiny new iPhone (chewy!). If this is happening…if you're actually seeing little Timmy chew and swallow his gaming device and little Susie drink her bottle of Kim Kardashian's latest fragrance (or vice versa, I don't want to be too gender specific here), well, you have bigger problems on your hands. You’ve got a nutty kid.
Suh also leaves out a critical bit of information about these so-called “toxic” chemicals that moms might find interesting. Chemicals (used in small and very safe quantities—that are highly regulated and tested for safety) make products better, safer, more durable, less expensive and free from many of the pathogens and bacteria that actually do kill. For instance, there’s a reason my 6-month old mascara (that I really should discard and replace) doesn’t give me an eye infection—it contains these handy things called “bacteria killing chemicals”—the very thing Suh likes to call toxic. Yes, science-challenged Suh and the other geniuses at the NRDC like to say that chemicals are toxic but moms should know the facts—chemicals are toxic TO BACTERIA! That’s a good thing.
It’s natural to worry about your kid’s health but don’t be a victim of the nonsense peddled by groups like the NRDC who seek to profit off of this sort of bad information. Naturally, the organization is running a fundraising campaign at the moment and will no doubt profit off the fears they’ve stoked on holiday shoppers.
Enjoy your holiday and do a little stress-free shopping. Okay, that may not be possible, but stress about the real things—like will Timmy and Susie love or hate their gifts this year.