Books about chemicals and health

A good book is a gift that keeps on giving and a door to a place you’ve never been. A good book is so much cosier than scrolling through your phone. So my gift to you today is 3 books to read to educate yourself on the effects of synthetic chemicals on you and your loved ones.

Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, John Peterson Myers

This book is awesome, not least because the grandmother who co-wrote it was tired of not being taken seriously about the changes she was witnessing with her own eyes, so she went ahead and got a PhD on the topic. And her research summaries and conclusions are thorough, decades-long and frankly pretty disturbing. This book was  written 20 years ago and then the global media said:


It comes as a surprise to many of us to see how much evidence there is, because we have not heard it explained well in the mainstream media.  But the evidence is pulling up from all directions. The problem of BPA is now well-known, but when they take that out they put in BPS, another known endocrine disruptor. It may well be that in the not-too-distant future we’ll look back on plastics and untested synthetic chemicals as we now look back on smoking and tobacco.

Read it to get really sure that reading labels and rejecting untested synthetic chemicals is worth the effort.

The Case Against Fragrance by Kate Grenville

This book is a short, personal investigation into why so many fragrances make the author – and many others – sick. It’s written by a novelist, which means it’s an easy read, but still fairly in-depth look at the fragrance industry. She writes about why synthetic chemicals are used in fragrances, how they’re created, and regulated, and why they affect people.

Read it to learn why your favourite smelly stuff makes more than one person you know and love feel ill and is maybe not so great after all.

The Lost Language of Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhner

This whole book is a beautiful exploration of a world that is ignored and forgotten nowadays. It’s a fascinating examination of plants, their chemistry, connections and capacity. And how plants have been used as medicine for humans, animals and soil throughout time. There is one exceptional chapter that really shows the effects of pharmaceutical medicine on the wider environment, and I’d recommend reading it just for that chapter.


Read it to understand why popping a pill is not the best way to deal with your fragrance headache, and to understand, once again, that small actions multiplied by millions of people have massive effects, whether we choose to recognise it or not.

These are three books that really opened my eyes to the less savoury effects of synthetic chemicals on us and the world we live in. But there are many books out there, and I haven’t read most of them so I’d love to hear your suggestions.

What books would you recommend?