Mom On A Mission

Award-winning documentary filmmaker and now children’s environmental health advocate Penelope Jagessar Chaffer made a horrific, life-changing connection regarding her health that was so powerful that she now contributes her time to spreading awareness. While pregnant in 2005, she received blood test results revealing that she was exposing her unborn baby to chemical compounds linked to hormone disruption, brain development retardation, birth defects, and even cancer. Dumbfounded, Chaffer couldn’t imagine how a responsible, healthy mother-to-be with an overwhelming eagerness to bring a child into her life could possibly be endangering that new life. What the blood tests also revealed was that the chemicals behind these threats – bromides, phthalates – are used in everyday household items, cosmetics, and the soil that yields the foods we eat and is then infiltrated into the water we drink. Chaffer was determined not only to prevent further damage to her baby, but to go on a mission making the information she gained in her private consultation common knowledge to all, particularly parents and especially women.


 Chaffer literally gave all she had – sold her house – to create the film Toxic Baby where she investigates exactly what we as humans are putting into our products, into nature, and ultimately back into our own bodies. Powered by this message: “a wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future”, Toxic Baby aims to bring transparency to major causes and solutions to human health issues so that we can ensure a healthy future for our children, and their children after that. Most importantly, Chaffer uses the film to answer the question “What would my fetus say to me?” as she ingests the lethal chemicals we find in products we trust. The ultimate goal is to change this answer from its current status: “HELP ME”.


In response to Toxic Baby Chaffer was invited to join renowned biologist and advocate for toxicology awareness Tyrone Hayes for a TEDTalk promoting Toxic Baby and introducing the issue of chemical exposure on a smaller level – literally. Hayes’ specialty is in frogs, creatures some may not know are a crucial indicator of our environment’s health. The talk focuses on both the prevalence and dangers of Atrazine – the leading herbicide used in the US and a major cause of hormone imbalances in organisms. Frogs exposed to only .1ppm of the compound were born with multiple testes AND ovaries, testes WITH eggs growing in them, and the ability to reproduce as either gender.

A quick lesson on frog biology – this is as abnormal for them as it would be for us. And we are exposed to the same chemical – in higher dosages – in our drinking water. It’s no wonder infertility is skyrocketing in our country. On top of Atrazine poisoning, the now infamous compound BPA is still used in making baby bottles. Like Atrazine, BPA exchanges testosterone for estrogen, creating an abundance of estrogen that becomes cancerous. Chaffer reveals these statistics to plainly point out that women are drinking water and using containers that leak an overload of estrogen into their bodies, which feeds their fetuses, who, once born, directly take in more of these deadly chemicals,  changing the physiology and toxicology of our bodies, permanently. So why has the FDA continued to allow these chemicals in product composition when the EU has completely banned them? Why is the same company funding the chemicals behind hormone disruption also endorsing the – of course – chemical cure for it?


The issue is provoked in the TEDTalk and further revealed in Toxic Baby. How will you change your future and how will that change impact generations of you to come? Lux & Eco supports the revolutionary efforts of Penelope Jagasser Chaffer and we encourage you to educate yourself and keep yourself safe by passing along her message! And right now you are invited to our  exclusive curated sale featuring these celebrated brands who support Toxic Baby  too!

Jacquelin QuoteI came across Penelope’s TED Talk by accident and was so drawn in by her speech that I felt compelled to contact her the same day. Emotional, profound, informative and inspiring, Penelope’s speech about her discovery of the chemicals that effected her former pregnancy and continue to cause birth defects around the world today, drives home such an important message: “We know so much about global warming and climate change, but yet have no concept of internal environmentalism.” This was one of the very messages that became the foundation of why we started Lux & Eco; to not only provide the best non toxic products on the market to our customers, but to also be informative so there is an understanding of the significance behind the lifestyle we celebrate.” – Jacquelyn Willard, CMO, Lux & Eco

Allison Beauregard

Allison is a New York City based writer with a focus on sustainability. Her work demonstrates how it is possible to have the “things” that make us happy without compromising the resources that provide these goods. With this vision, Allison sees a future where environmental degradation is reversed and the quality of human life is equally distributed. She is the Category Editor of The Franklin Report and was among the top 5 contributors for Elephant Journal in October 2014.

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