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Armstrong, Liz and Adrienne Scott
Toronto, HarperCollins, 1992. 194pp, paper, $12.95, ISBN 0-00-637709-2. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Ruth Bainbridge

Volume 20 Number 4
1992 September

This book was written to encourage North American women to follow the lead of their sisters in Britain and Sweden and demand chlorine-free sanitary products. Adrienne Scott, an environmental lawyer, and coauthor Liz Armstrong undertook to write this book for the Women and Environments Education and Development Foundation (WEED).

The authors point out that while women only own 1 per cent of the wealth they do 80 per cent of the shopping and, if mobilized, can exert enormous pressure on big companies, including paper companies, to mend their ways. The book clearly demonstrates the environmental cost of the use of paper products in our society, from the wholesale destruction of forests to pollution from the processing of these products, especially in making them white, over packaging and then, after use, the problems of disposal in already heavily taxed landfill sites and raw sewage.

While researching sanitary products in Canada, the authors discovered that many of the studies quoted by the paper companies were misleading and that profit was their main concern, not safety to the individual users (as in tampons) or to the environment.

Included in this book are ways to pressure companies to stop using chlorine to whiten paper and alternatives to paper products. There is a glossary, index, and chapter-by-chapter list of resources. The publisher has set a good example by using non-chlorine-bleached paper for this book. This is a very readable book that should be required reading for all women ages 15 and up.

Ruth Bainbridge teaches nursing at Plumber College in Etobicoke, Ontario.

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