Before you started learning about harmful chemicals found in everyday products, did you used to think people who did talk about it were crazy?
Like tinfoil hat crazy?
Like shape-shifting lizard people are taking over the planet and controlling our media and banking kind of crazy? (there are a LOT of people who legitimately believe this is real, btw.)
The main reason that people associate topics like dangerous, unregulated chemicals in consumer products and how they can "kill us" with pure hype and sensationalism, is that there are people out there who approach this topic in just that way:
- over the top sensationalism
- lots of hype
- LOTS of fear-mongering
- plenty of "out to get you" and "they're trying to kill us" language.
And the result is that it turns a lot of people off. It definitely turns me off.
And for good reason!
One of the things I've noticed is that when people start learning about endocrine disrupting chemicals or reproductive toxins hiding in plain sight, then get really riled up and eager to tell everyone.
I both LOVE this, and caution people to pause, take a deep breath, and be thoughtful about HOW you share this information.
Because as much as I wish it weren't true, the WAY we talk about the issues around harmful chemicals can literally make or break not only whether or not people hear you, but your credibility too.
If you're a professional in the health space, credibility is essential to your success. If you're not a professional, but you want to be taken seriously by those in your family or community, that credibility is equally essential.
A few weeks ago, for a reason that I don't think is totally clear yet, Google blacklisted the NaturalNews website run by Mike Adams, aka the "Health Ranger."
Blacklisting essentially means that his website no longer comes up in any Google searches even though he's got extremely high traffic and normally a high Google Ranking.
While I'm not a fan of censorship of any kind, Adams' overly sensational, conspiracy-theory tone, and his alignment with the website InfoWars and the radio show host Alex Jones strips any sympathy I could possibly have for his situation.
His approach to the issues he writes about and his association with InfoWars and Alex Jones (for example, Jones believes that Lady Gaga's Super Bowl halftime show was cover for a satanic rite, that the Sandy Hook shootings were all fake) automatically strips the credibility of everything he says, even if he's not totally wrong sometimes.
And he's NOT totally wrong! In fact, the Natural News site publishes content on similar topics that I post about; contaminated seafood, contaminated water, chemicals in consumer products...
It's clear that he's reading many of the same studies about chemicals and disease that I am, but his extremely sensational, click-bait, "they're out to kill us all" rhetoric makes me shake my head in sorrow.
It is infuriating and heartbreaking for those of us who are trying to point out similar issues from a sound, logical, research-based perspective...
There's an expression that goes "a rising tide lifts all boats." Natural News and sites that have these totally over the top approaches to the conversation pulls the plug in the ocean, and drains all integrity out of it. And we all get lowered because of it.
Is that a little harsh?
Maybe, but whether we like it or not, how we share our passion is directly tied to whether people take us seriously.
And you didn't step into this conversation to be accused of wearing a tinfoil hat, did you?
You stepped into learning about environmental health so you could HELP and be of service to others, and so you could safeguard yourself and your family from the chemicals that can cause us harm...
So, how DO you talk about this stuff without being dismissed?
Here are a few tips around sharing information about environmental toxins in a way that doesn't damage your credibility:
1. SHARE FROM REPUTABLE SOURCES: If you're sharing information about a study, either find an article from a well respected news outlet (I realize that in the current political climate there's a lot of debate about who's "real" and who's "fake), like the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal, rather than from a health blog, or track down the actual study itself on PubMed.com and share that. Seek to read from sources that cite their sources, and READ those citations. Don't take someone else's word for it (even mine!).
2. AVOID SENSATIONAL LANGUAGE: Making blanket statements "Chemical X will give you cancer" isn't doing you any favors. This can be impossible to prove, so making that statement opens you up to criticism. While you're at it, avoid overly emotional, sensational language. You don't want to be perceived as a raving lunatic!
3. BE WILLING TO SEE BOTH SIDES: Issues with chemicals associations with illness aren't black and white or cut and dry. There's a lot of gray area, and we need to be willing to understand that and speak to it. There's a lot we don't know, and we have to acknowledge that. "We" are not infallible just as "they" are not infallible.
At the end of the day we just want to reach people, and do so in a way that sparks curiosity, and encourages them to look deeper and take action.
Chemicals showing up in our drinking water isn't some grand conspiracy for mind control... they're there because of failing infrastructure, poor decisions, and financial greed.
I realize this topic can be a button pusher, and that this email might ruffle a feather or two depending on what YOU believe to be true, or where you stand in the current political climate, but at the end of the day I believe that HOW we communicate is as important as WHAT we're communicating about.
My aim is to not only help you understand what the issues are, but to hone your skills in spreading the word in a powerful and engaging way.
I'm not perfect. I don't claim to be perfect, but I do strive to approach environmental health issues from a sound, level-headed, practical, and realistic way.