Debra Lynn Dadd
“The Queen of Green”
– New York Times
“A legendary green consumer activist and pioneer”
– Natural Living magazine
“The guru of nontoxic living”
– KCBS-TV News
“The godmother of natural living”
– New Age Journal (now Body & Soul)
“One of the country’s few authorities on natural and nontoxic consumer affairs”
– Boston Globe
* Internationally known consumer advocate
* First to speak about toxics in the national media
* Author of the first published book on toxic chemicals in consumer products
* 7 books about toxics in consumer products, continuously in print for 30 years
* Largest Q&A on toxic and toxic-free products: Toxic Free Q&A
* Largest directory of websites that sell toxic free products: Debra’s List
* Only talk radio show about toxics: Toxic Free Talk Radio
* Most comprehensive blog about detoxing chemicals from your body: Toxic Free Body
I am “The World’s Leading Expert on Toxic-Free Products.” I really am. Not because somebody gave me this title, but because I really am.
An expert, according to Merriam-Webster, is one “having, involving or displaying special skills or knowledge from training or experience.”
My own personal definition is an expert is one who knows a subject so thoroughly, and has such certainty about it, that he or she can operate with it and think with it to solve problems and create new applications.
I have 40 years experience with toxic-free products—living with them, creating them, researching them, writing about them…I’m an expert. Nobody else on the planet that I know of has my degree of experience with toxic-free products.
* * * *
I first became aware that toxic chemicals in consumer products could cause harm to health in 1978, when I was only 23 years old.
I had constant headaches. I suffered from insomnia every night and was exhausted every day. Taking a shower made me feel faint. Most of the time I couldn’t think clearly. I had strong, sudden, uncontrollable urges to eat anything and everything that had sugar in it—not just a candy bar—a carton of ice cream, a box of cookies, a whole coconut cream pie. I would cry for hours on end for no apparent reason. And I was very depressed.
My father serendipitously found a special doctor who happened to practice a very new field called “clinical ecology” (now known as environmental medicine). This doctor tested people for sensitivities to chemicals found in ordinary everyday products by giving them drops that would turn the symptoms on. He could then turn the symptoms off with a different dose of those same drops.
It turned out that I too was very sensitive to the chemicals used widely in household products. But it wasn’t just “sensitivity.” It was actual immune system damage from toxic chemicals.
I was given a list of chemicals that I “reacted” to and told to avoid these chemicals. That was all the interaction I was given.
The doctor didn’t tell me where these chemicals might be found in the products I used every day. Or what I was supposed to use instead. And there were no books with this information.
I didn’t feel safe in my home. And I was angry. Why hadn’t anyone told me my shampoo and my pretty bedlinen and my tap water were making me sick? Didn’t the government have regulations about toxic products, and warning labels?
Clearly I had to take matters into my own hands.
So I began to research. My father bought a copy of The Condensed Chemical Dictionary for me and I just started looking up the chemicals and their health effects. And then I went to the library and tried to find where these chemicals were in everyday products. There was no internet in those days so it was a very slow process. But I kept at it, day after day.
One by one I began to associate my symptoms with chemicals in products I was using.
I stopped feeling faint in the shower when my father rigged up a filter to remove the chlorine from the steam produced by hot water.
I discovered my headaches were caused by perfume and other scented products.
It turned out my insomnia was the result of the permanent-press finish that was releasing formaldehyde into my bed every night.
As I tracked down chemicals and eliminated my exposures, my symptoms disappeared one by one.
My doctor noticed I was the only patient that was getting well and asked what I was doing. He immediately hired me to work with the other patients—to go to their homes, find their toxic exposures, and help choose nontoxic products that didn’t contain the chemicals that were making us sick.
And that’s how I became the world’s leading expert on toxic-free products.
Today I am still the world’s leading expert on toxic-free products and I am still researching toxic chemicals in everyday products, their health effects and which products we can use safely that are toxic-free.
But now we know much more. We know that virtually every health problem can be associated with toxic chemicals you are exposed to right in your own home. And we also have many toxic-free products available to choose from, in every product category.
Everything you need to choose toxic-free products and create a toxic-free home is right here on this website.
Debra was named a “leading thinker” in the book Meetings With Remarkable Men and Women, published by East West Health Books (now Natural Health magazine).
Others included on the list that numbered nearly one hundred were Christiane Northrup, M.D., Frances Moore Lappe, Helen Nearing, Gloria Swanson, Andrew Weil, M.D., Louise Hay, Yoko Ono, John Denver, Salvador Dali, Roberto Rosselini, Edgar Mitchell, Wendell Berry, and Joseph Campbell.