“Toxic chemicals affect us deeply and broadly—in body, mind, emotions and spirit. We spend thousands of dollars on health care and personal growth, but none of it can be effective until the true problem is eliminated—exposure to toxic chemicals. When we take that step of freeing ourselves from the toxic chemicals that are working against us, all positive actions begin to become beneficial and we can start to truly live.”
At first I was just one person, struggling to understand the toxic chemical exposures that were disabling my body and mind, talking with others who were having the same experience. When I could get my body out of bed, I spent my days researching in libraries, putting bits and pieces of data together until I could see the connections between symptom, chemical exposure, and product. With these clues, I was able to remove the toxic products from my home that were making me sick and improve my health…improve my health dramatically.
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The connection between my health and exposure to toxic products in my home was so clear, that I had to warn others about this danger. But it wasn’t just that I was having symptoms in response to exposures. My research revealed that these chemicals in consumer products were actually poisons that were causing cancer, birth defects, neurological problems, and other serious health conditions.
And so I became an author. I wrote a little book and self-published it in 1982. I made copies at a copy store and stapled them together with a tape binding. I identified 40 toxic chemicals and listed products available by mail order that were made without these chemicals. it was so different that the media readily picked it up and I was even on national television with my little book made at the copy store. Soon I had an offer from a publisher and in 1984 the very first published book about toxic-free products arrived in bookstores. And my books have been continuously in print since and translated into other languages. My current book is published by Penguin, the largest publisher in the world.
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For many years my task was simply to gain some understanding of the toxic chemicals we are being exposed to in our homes via consumer products and find products I and others could use that did not contain the toxic chemicals that cause health problems.
During that period much new research was done by others on the health effects of chemicals. Organizations were created, lists of toxic chemicals were compiled. It is now well established in the scientific literature that toxic chemicals exist, they are widespread in the world, and they are associated with virtually every malfunction of body, mind, and emotions.
During this time I considered myself to be a consumer advocate—going beyond the writing of books to promoting the idea of living without toxic chemicals via my website, speaking engagements, and media appearances. From 2013-2015 I hosted Toxic Free Talk Radio, doing almost 400 hour-long interviews with innovators who were working to eliminate toxic exposures. I continued to help individuals find toxic-free products through my website and consulting and also helped businesses behind-the-scene to develop and communicate about their toxic-free products.
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Today times have changed.
We now know there are toxic chemicals. We know where they are in products. The number of toxic-free products available today is astounding and encouraging. And yet, toxic-free products are still difficult to identify and access, and while one can easily create a toxic-free home, we still step out of our homes into a fairly toxic world. Just try to find a toxic-free automobile or a toxic-free hotel room, or even a toxic-free baby carrier. or a toxic-free dishwasher or refrigerator. Try to find a house or an apartment or a home of any kind that is toxic-free without building or remodeling it yourself. We still have a long way to go.
Now in 2018 I am moving into a new role—people are calling me visionary, thought leader, changemaker, and gamechanger. I’m gathering up everything I’ve learned on the subject and working on putting it out in the world in new ways that will educate and inspire and continue when I am no longer able to continue to carry the torch (my body is 63 years old and it won’t last forever).
We have all the information we need to literally be free of toxics, it’s just a matter of getting it accepted and applied and used in the world by more and more people and businesses and governments and the medical community and insurance companies and…and…and…and…
Toxic-free should be the basis of living in our society around the world. It can be done.
My mission now is to make it known far and wide that we all can be toxic-free, and provide the tools to do this, so each one of us can flourish in a toxic-free environment, anywhere we go.
“When I reached the point where I fully understood that toxic chemicals were making me sick, I just wanted to get rid of everything toxic in my home. And I did. Now I want to get rid of everything toxic in the world.”
I Believe Our Bodies are Healthy by Design
Well, in fact, your body is designed to run processes every day that maintain health. It’s only interference with these natural processes that interrupts our natural state of wellness. All we need to do is create the right conditions for health to emerge, and it will.
Illness, disability, and death are the result of damaging our native health. And toxic chemicals cause damage.
To be healthy, the first thing we need to do is stop poisoning our bodies with toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products we use in our homes. This goes far beyond keeping labeled poisons out of reach of children. Some of the most toxic chemicals are invisible, not labeled, and are undermining our health day in and day out and all night too. Then, do the positive things that create health.
You could eat nourishing food, take vitamins, exercise, sleep, get massages, and many other things that support health, but unless you remove toxic products from your home they WILL undermine your health and well-being.
Forty years ago I “came back to life” after being disabled by removing consumer products from my home that contained toxic chemicals. Now after 40 years of living toxic-free, at age 63 my body is resilient and getting healthier every day.
You can do this too.
The Truth Shall Set Us Free
While on the surface it may look like I’m promoting toxic-free products—which I am—there’s another part of this I feel strongly about. And that is speaking the truth.
In order to be able to choose toxic-free products, we need to know the truth about the materials products are made from. All of us need to know all the materials. It’s shocking to me how little information there is about the materials used to make products:
* manufacturers don’t know what they are using to make products
* materials have multiple names, are mis-named, have scientific and popular and brand names, or have no name at all
* customer service can’t tell me product ingredients because they are not given that information
* materials are not listed on labels or websites
* manufacturers are protected by “trade secrets”
* even doctors in emergency rooms and poison control centers cannot find out what poison was just swallowed by a child while attempting to save his or her life.
It really is like putting together a puzzle or unraveling a mystery to find out what a product is made from. Without this information, we can’t fully determine how toxic or safe a product actually is.
I am passionate about truth. So passionate that at this point in my work I am starting a whole new phase of educating consumers about materials, labeling, certifications, claims, and everything else that goes into understanding how to choose a toxic-free product. And hopefully along the way I can make a difference to get manufacturers to disclose more materials, communicate more clearly and consistently about them on labels and websites and make products out of materials they are proud to tell the world about instead of materials they want to hide.
Standing By My Side
Though I do all the research and writing and consulting and speaking and media appearances and my name is on everything, none of this would be possible without Larry. If you ever come see me at a live appearance, you’ll see Larry there too.
We met in through a mutual friend. He and my friend Gina were dating and Gina thought “Larry really belongs with Debra.” So she brought him to a lecture I was giving and when he heard me speak about toxics in consumer products, their health effect and what we can do to safeguard and protect our health, he thought, “I want to support Debra in doing this work.” That night he carried my box of books back to my car and has dedicated his lie to this work just as steadfastly as I have ever since.
Our relationship revolves around our spiritual journey and this work.
Larry’s primary role is to keep our domestic and personal life going so I can spend my time finding and writing about toxic-free products. So he’s washing dishes after I cook and carrying books, but he’s also my constant intellectual companion, helping me think through concepts, developing ideas, proofreading, discussing word definitions and etymology, and much more. He’s remodeled several houses to be toxic-free for us and took an old oak library table from Stanford University with tattered edges and turned it into a work of art with purpleheart wood trim that I work on every day.
Larry literally makes my dreams come true. If I need or want something, he is there to help me have it, whether it’s driving me across the country or dropping everything to get me back on my feet after multiple eye surgeries.
As the years have gone by we are more and more in agreement because of our shared experience and viewpoints that we have developed from being around each other so deeply for so long. Just know that when you look at me or my accomplishments or my effects in the world, your are seeing Larry also.
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.