• List Price: $25.95
  • Save: $2.91 (11%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 1 left in stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Like New
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Dangerous or Safe?: Which Foods, Medicines, and Chemicals Really Put Your Kids at Risk Hardcover – October 8, 2009


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$23.04
$0.39 $0.01


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

Dangerous or Safe?: Which Foods, Medicines, and Chemicals Really Put Your Kids at Risk + Worry Proof: A Pediatrician (and Mom) Explains Which Foods, Medicines, and Chemicals to Avoid to Have Safe and Healthy Children
Price for both: $29.44

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Top 20 Books for Kids
See the books our editors' chose as the Best Children's Books of 2014 So Far or see the lists by age: Baby-2 | Ages 3-5 | Ages 6-8 | Ages 9-12 | Nonfiction

Product Details

  • Age Range: 18 and up
  • Grade Level: 12 and up
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Street Press; 1 edition (October 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594630623
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594630620
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.4 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Cara Natterson, M.D., has treated thousands of children in private practice and has written two books on pediatrics. She works closely with Telepictures Productions, contributing to momlogic.com, and has appeared as an expert on CNN and the Today show. A graduate of Harvard and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Natterson lives in California with her husband and two children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction

What Does "Dangerous" Really Mean?

Overand over we ask ourselves a simple question: is it dangerous or safe? We wonder, should I take this medicine? Eat this food? Buy this product? All day, every day, we make mental calculations that boil down to this black-and-white question: dangerous or safe? When we ask this question about ourselves, it is usually easy to answer. But when it comes to our children, nothing seems clear, and the gray zone feels enormous. For ourselves, we may be comfortable accepting uncertainty when the answer isn't obvious. But for our kids we are not: for them we need concrete, clear answers without risk or ambiguity. When it comes to our children, we worry more.

I suppose it's human nature—we simply don't have enough brain space to worry about everything for everyone all the time. So we pour our angst into our highest priority, our children. Should they be drinking out of plastic bottles, using cell phones, eating processed foods, taking antibiotics, receiving vaccines? Some of these questions have real answers; others just hype. Regardless, we parents have hit a point where we torture ourselves over every detail of our children's lives—all while sipping from our own plastic bottles, talking on cell phones, snacking on processed foods, and swallowing medications.

I am the mother of two young children. This means that I belong to the parenting generation that has been accused of being overbearing, worrying about every little thing, and trying to control every aspect of our children's lives. Generally the accusers are our own parents. "You survived childhood," they say, in a slightly mocking tone, "and we never worried as much about every little thing as you do."

This is true. But our parents lived in a very different world. When our parents had young kids, information was largely limited to the newspaper and the evening news. As a result, the news focused on the most important issues of the day. Today news is a constant barrage that includes twenty-four-hour cable networks, live Web streaming, and anything that might fill a few minutes of screen time or a few inches of crawl space along the bottom of your TV. This lends itself to Breaking Alerts! about pediatric-health horror stories: "Child stops speaking after receiving a vaccine!" "Flesh-eating bacteria spreading through school community!" And then there are the headlines about product recalls: "Don't Give Your Child a Toy Train Because the Paint Is Leaded!" "Don't Let Your Child Sleep in Flame-Retardant Pajamas Because They Are Toxic!" With these arriving on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis, how can we possibly be expected to ignore them?

Beyond being a mom, I am also a pediatrician. A big part of the job is fielding phone calls from worried parents. With each breaking news story, parents want to know what to do for their child. Some take the time to do research on their own, but most people have learned that if you Google long enough, you'll find two sides to every story. This leaves parents even more confused than they were at the outset. So they call the doctor, looking for the simple yes or no answer. When do I need to worry? That's all parents really want to know.

It is ironic that despite our need for simple, straightforward answers we crave more and more information. So much news is coming at us all the time, but most people have no sense of what to do with it, how to prioritize it, and when to worry about it. This is certainly not to say that information should be kept from the public. But as a result of the onslaught, we begin to fear that danger lurks at every turn. With so much to consider, it is easy to lose sight of both the true and relative risks.

Relative risk simply means the risk of an event occurring in connection to an exposure. If one group of people is exposed to something and another is not, the relative risk is the probability that the exposed group will have a specific outcome. In medicine, that outcome may mean developing a disease or even dying.

Risk assessment is a calculation we make many times every day without even knowing it. What is the chance that I will be hit by a car if I jaywalk? What is the chance that I will get a sunburn (or one day even skin cancer) if I don't put on that sunscreen? What is the chance that I will be late to work if I roll over for five or ten more minutes of sleep? Risk assessment can be applied to every decision in our daily life, down to the most mundane.

Relative risk can also be used in a broad sense, forcing us to step away from the trees and look at the whole forest. There are things in our world that are relatively more dangerous than others. For instance, playing with a loaded handgun is a heck of a lot more dangerous than taking a break to get a drink of water out of a plastic bottle. We all know this—no one would disagree. But millions of Americans keep guns in their homes, loaded and accessible to their children.1 This may seem like a ridiculous example, but during the past few years the debate over the safety of plastics has been a continuously covered news item while guns in the home rarely make headlines. Ultimately, what we read about in the paper or online, hear about on TV, and talk about with friends tends to be in the forefront of our minds, often magnifying the actual risk. These days, because we are increasingly focused on specific issues, we may overlook things that are relatively more dangerous.

Whether we agonize over the foods we eat or the chemicals in our environment, it is easy to lose sight of the actual number of people affected in a negative way. When we blow potential hazards out of proportion, we think intently about tiny decisions and start to see much of our world through a narrow lens. Many parents tell me they don't like approaching the world this way but they just can't help it.

The inspiration for this book came from my desire to unburden parents while also educating them about what is truly dangerous for their kids (and themselves). There is good scientific data available out there; unfortunately it is often difficult to decipher unless you are trained to read medical articles. That's why you are reading this book: so that you can understand where the hype ends and where the truth begins, so you can learn to identify what might really endanger your kids and then be able to avoid those hazards like plagues.

The fact is that we do have to worry about every little thing more than our parents did, because life has changed. Since we were children, many new chemicals have been invented. In addition, many materials once used sparingly have now become ubiquitous. Just look at plastics. Phthalates and bisphenol A—chemicals used to increase the functionality of plastics—aren't new, but they are now used in thousands of household items. When a chemical is utilized in every corner of our lives, it is reasonable to ask whether it is dangerous or safe.

A generation ago, a medicine or chemical needed to have catastrophic consequences (like birth defects, cancers, or deaths) to qualify as "dangerous." Now far subtler outcomes are analyzed. Does something cause a fall in test scores, depression, premature breast development, or acne? We remain concerned about disastrous results, but we also want to avoid even the most minor repercussions. This is why it is fair to ask these questions—just because something doesn't have catastrophic consequences doesn't necessarily mean it's safe.

Dangerous or Safe? examines the foods we eat, liquids we drink, chemicals in our environment, and medicines we take. I do not need to write a chapter about why my children will never be allowed to ride on motorcycles, because the answer is obvious. This book concentrates on the cloudy waters of the more subtle questions. It translates the data and provides clear answers. It is not meant to perpetuate drama but rather quite the opposite—to put to rest unfounded and overhyped fears.

There is an army of devoted physicians, scientists, academics, consultants, and journalists studying how exposures to various chemicals may or may not affect our future health. There are people who look at issues on the microscopic level, literally studying one cell or a single chemical reaction, and there are others who analyze how a food or piece of technology or a lab-manufactured additive impacts an entire population. Dangerous or Safe? takes the current data and distills it down to its core facts so that you get the bottom line: what is safe and what is not.

There are answers to questions about whether many of the things we use regularly are safe. The chapters that follow provide you with concrete evidence and advice. To do so, each chapter is organized into four sections: What Is the Question?

What Is the Data?

What Is the Bottom Line? What's in My Home?

The question section takes a broad issue (like plastic bottles) and defines it more specifically (is bisphenol A really dangerous?). The data section summarizes the history of the question and then provides a translation of scientific literature into layman's terms. I use published data from reputable journals and peer-reviewed articles. I also provide government data from the NIH, CDC, FDA, and other agencies because these materials form the basis for many of the guidelines and policies currently in effect. Since the abbreviations and terminology can be confusing, I've put the acronyms and medical terms in bold print the first time they appear within a chapter; any term in bold is defined in the glossary at the back. In the bottom-line section, I offer my own opinion, as a mom and as a pediatrician, about whether something is dangerous or safe. And finally, I answer the question that all my patients and friends a...


More About the Author

Cara Natterson is a pediatrician, consultant, and award-winning author. She grew up in Los Angeles, dreaming of helping others. After medical school and training to be a pediatrician, she returned to her hometown where she worked as a primary care doctor. Her experiences were extraordinary and she learned first hand how difficult it can be for parents to navigate all of the information (good and bad) thrust at them. That's when Cara started writing books. At first she focused on medical issues, but over time her writing shifted to the most common fears and misconceptions about pediatric health.

Working on "The Care and Keeping of You" series has been a career highlight. With more than 4 million copies sold, these books speak directly to tweens and teens, much like Cara used to do in the office. They provide important information about growing up without creating anxiety. Today, Cara is a leading consultant and speaker in the tween health space.

Cara doesn't just know this topic, she lives it: she has a 10-year old daughter and an 8-year old son. She graduated from Harvard College and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
5 star
10
4 star
2
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
3
See all 15 customer reviews
I would recommend this book to anyone who cares about the safety of their children.
First Time Mom
I like how interesting and useful the information was, as well as the organized manner it was presented in the book.
James Stokes
Everything I looked at in this book was either very superficial or just plain wrong.
Anthony Stratton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By wiredweird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Caring parents want the best for their children. The problem is, "the best" is all to hard to determine. The internet often makes things worse. Yes, it provides information about vaccinations, baby food, and environmental hazards. The problem is, it provides too much information: solid scientific research mixed in with outdated beliefs, exaggerated or simply false claims from both sides of a question, alarmism, and plain old superstition dressed up in scientific jargon. Simply figuring out which sources to listen to is hard enough. Weighing carefully researched and opposing claims against each other can be nearly impossible, even for specialists. Then, the search for real information has to be repeated again for each separate issue affecting us and our children: environmental pollution, food additives, medications, cell phones, ... the list seems endless.

Natterson, in her role as pediatricion, has heard all these questions from concerned parents. In her role as mother, she's had to answer them for herself. This book offers her answers. More than that, however, Natterson offers the data she has collected on each question, followed by the kind of reasoning she follows in turning the data into decisions. Far too often, the question is not "safe or not?" but "safer than what?" For example, oils in some foods can oxidize to form known carcinogens. So, when weighing potential effects of preservatives in food, potential effects of not using them need to be weighed, too. Seeing Natterson's reasoning won't make you agree with her in all cases. I know I found a few things to dispute. But, when the whole discussion is laid out, the reader can intelligently decide what to dispute, and why.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jill on May 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a mom of two young kids, I always have so many questions about the potentially "scary" things--milk, plastics, pesticides, soy. It was great to read a book that is no-nonsense and, best of all, tells me what a pediatrician does in her OWN home. I own all of Dr. Natterson's books and find them to be very useful reference tools. This book encourages readers to ignore the hype and consider the facts when making decisions on what their kids put in and on their bodies.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By James Stokes on February 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like how interesting and useful the information was, as well as the organized manner it was presented in the book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By No Longer Worried on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Have you ever wished your pediatrician had all the time in the world to sit with you, and really go into detail about what is healthy for your child? I'm not talking about the 15 minute sick visit, I'm talking full out discussion about what you are putting in your child's body. Well, this pediatrician took the time. Dr. Natterson has written a fact filled yet highly readable version of that chat you wish you could have with your child's doctor.

Dr. Natterson has taken the hype and hysteria out of today's most common worries (micro waving food in plastic, vaccines, peanut allergies and the like), and lays out a solid explanation of the safety or dangerous nature for each topic she covers. She provides a great deal of scientific data, but you do not need a degree from Harvard or Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to understand it (she has degrees from both schools, by the way). And, if you want, you can cut to the chase, and skip the wealth of information to simply get the answer. At the end of each chapter, she provides a section called "What's the bottom line?". It puts the information in a nutshell. She then proceeds to tell you what she has/does in her own home, with her two children. (Interesting to know she is operating not only as a doctor, but as a mom).

While the book covers all the topics I expected in a book about children's health, there were a many pleasant surprises. I have a 4-year-old boy and a 7-year-old boy, so the chapters on cell phones, cosmetics and antiperspirants don't really apply to them. Yet, they were still very informative, as they are products I use in my daily life. I didn't expect to find pearls of wisdom for myself, and yet, there they were.

The timing of this book couldn't be better.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By momdoc on October 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Natterson does as promised, and gives us the REAL deal on what's dangerous or safe, not the hype that we hear about from school drop-offs, parks, or sensationalized news stories. The advice is practical and usable, and she gives both sides to a story when necessary. The book is extremely well organized, readable, and accessible, no matter what ones background. We can all finally get some sound advice, backed up by reputable data sources and presented by someone with a wealth of her own experience, at home and with patients.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By antherium on October 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book takes all the questions we have as parents and answers them in an incredibly easy-to-read format. I have had questions about the effects of cell phones, soy products, vaccines and so many other things on my children and Ms. Natterson did all the research for me to get to the real - not hyped up -- answers.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mom of Two in LA on October 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Loved this book because you can either go through all the data and evidence, or you can flip to the back of the chapters for her quick synopses on each question: What's the bottom line? and What's in my house? Her tone is chatty instead of dry. Overall, a great resource. Highly recommend.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search