Title: Chemicals and Christians
Author: Martha McLaughlin
Major Themes: Chemicals, Fragrances, Illness
Synopsis: Many people have major health problems because of chemicals—what is the Christian’s responsibility toward them?
I have never read a book quite like Chemicals and Christians before. The description of this book caught my attention for several reasons. I know there are some chemicals that I am sensitive to, and I know some people who are very sensitive to chemicals. For many years I have been working to cut down on the amount of chemicals, especially fragrances, in our home. This book sounded quite interesting to me, and I learned a lot from it.
Martha McLaughlin has written a very interesting book about the effects of toxic chemicals, especially common fragrances, on people. Most people can handle certain amounts of these chemicals with no obvious problems—but for some people, these chemicals cause major problems. She talks about the sequence that most people with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) go through. First, they begin to get sick, and then they search for answers. Then, they sift through the things surrounding them and remove all they can that makes the sickness worse. Most of these people find themselves needing to separate themselves from other people just to survive. They strike out at the illness, and then sigh—grieve for what they have lost. After going through the scream and seethe stages, they salvage what they can of their life and then learn to smile where they can.
I found it incredible that many people are unwilling to stop using fragrances even when they know it bothers or harms people around them. The author makes a very good point that, as Christians, we need to do all we can to help those around us—and one of those ways is to avoid fragrances that harm them! The number of things in the environment that cause problems for supersensitive people was unbelievable. I was not surprised at some, such as driers venting out of other houses, but reroofing a house in the neighborhood? That made me pause—it was a new thought to me that that could be a problem!
I also learned some things about myself while I was reading this book. I have often, ever since I can remember, had a headache on Sundays. Is it because of the fragrances, especially from drier sheets and personal care products, that people in church carry with them? And the headaches I almost always get after going shopping—could they be from the chemicals in the supermarket and not just the stress of driving an hour or two? It’s hard to know—but I wonder.
Chemicals and Christians is a very well-written book that will make you stop and think about what is around you. What is in your life, or my life, that causes invisible harm to my family and to others? What can I do to cut down on the harm done to myself, my little children, and people in the church or community who are sensitive to chemicals? There are many helpful suggestions, and a long list of resources in the back of the book. This book is a good reference to have around and refer to when someone needs help with chemical sensitivities.
I received a free copy of this book from CelebrateLit, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
Reading Independently— Adults