My Children Are Covered In A Blanket of Smog

BY ON September 20, 2011

Smog over LA from the Hollywood Hills.

This is a Guest Post from Jessica Gottlieb:

This morning I dropped the kids off to school and headed into the Hollywood Hills for a quick hike. As I often do in the mornings, I took advantage of the time alone to think about my day, how I would tackle the duties in front of me and the timing of our afternoon. As often as I like to use this time to plan my days I also end up daydreaming and wondering what the kids are up to. I think about Alexander and hope that he’s raising his hand in class. I think about Jane and remember that I need to email the science teacher and remind him that it’s the other Jane who tried to eat the science experiment and please don’t punish my daughter.

I came to a turn in the trail and looked out over the city where my children were in school. I wondered if they were playing outside. And I saw the scene above.

Today is a warm day. You are not looking at fog creeping over Los Angeles. You are looking at brown haze that covers my city dropping particulate matter into the eyes, ears, mouths and noses of it all. We exercise and breathe in deeply gasping fresh air only to breathe in brown dust and dust too small to be seen.

I sent the kids to school this morning with sunscreen on, but it’s the good sunscreen because my husband doesn’t want them to have Vitamin A in their sunscreens. I pay seven dollars a day for Jane to get the organic lunch at school with most of the snack bar being grown right there on the school campus. Where there once were impatiens there are now leafy greens. I carefully packed Alexander’s lunch so that his perfectly ripe organic peach wouldn’t get squashy.

It is second nature for me as a mother to care deeply about what goes into my children’s bodies. I have happily sacrificed a few luxuries so that I can provide them with a healthful plate and a less toxic home. I have taken the same actions as most of the women I know. We love our children and we want to put only the best into their bodies.

This morning I sent my children to school to play in a cloud of brown stuff that can’t easily be identified. I’m asking you to take an action today. Just one action and it won’t take much time. The Moms Clean Air Force has  list of ways that you can get involved. I’m asking you to be involved and to stay involved. We can take the lead out of our paint and the formaldehyde out of our carpeting, but we all have to leave the house at some point. Our children and our elderly are most at risk when the air quality is compromised.

“The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” Remarks at the dedication of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, November 1, 1977


Thank you, Jessica!

Jessica is a career blogger and digital strategist. She is madly in love with technology but her first love is her two kids and husband. Jessica is the eponymous writer at and a panelist at Momversation. She has spent a good bit of her blogging career writing in shades of green at Green Options, EcoChildsPlay, MomsLA and Celsias, but she rounded it out with a little humor at National Lampoon. She has received accolades from Forbes, Nielsen, Babble and Fast Company as well as coverage from every news source worth mentioning from the New York Times to NPR and from Fox News to CNN.

TOPICS: Pollution

  • Naomi

    Super post, Jessica. It’s true that if we want anything to be done about our environment, it has to begin at the grassroots with me and you. What a great organization to get involved with.

  • Christina

    Wow! Amazing perspective Jessica. You sound like a pretty responsible mom to me. Hard to believe that we can do everything in our power and our kiddos are still exposed to crap. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jessica Gottlieb

      Oh you are the sweetest Christina. I’m actually totally irresponsible and masquerading as an adult. I just feel like everything we do can be negated so quickly. Which is frustrating.

  • Apple

    I was inspired by your insights! I have been fighting for clean air myslef for my son and for all the kids by planting guerilla gardens and putting house plants indoors to absorb toxic substances off gassing from all our belongings. More power to you!

  • Jennifer Lance

    Well said Jessica! We can make the changes in our homes and families to only natural, organic products, but when the very air is so toxic…what to do! Even in the mountains where I live, the air quality appears to be crystal clear, there are still pollutants wafting in from far away factories. Your pictures says it all.


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