After the Jump: Dominique Browning Discusses Toxins in the Design Industry

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This week’s radio show was a very meaningful full circle for me. The first design job I ever had turned out to be my absolute favorite. It was working with House & Garden Magazine’s web team and I relished every minute of it. Getting to work alongside some of the most talented writers, editors and photographers made me up my game in a way I felt excited for and set standards for me that I’ve tried my best to maintain ever since. At the helm of that magazine was Dominique Browning- one of the most incredible women I’ve ever known.

Dominique has had a long and impressive career in publishing, including her tenure at Newsweek Magazine where she was the first woman at any newsmagazine to be appointed an assistant managing editor. In addition to writing for publications like Savvy, American Photographer and Esquire, Dominique was the executive editor of Texas Monthly and the Editor-in-Chief of Mirabella before joining Conde Nast, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of House & Garden Magazine until 2007.

Since her time at the magazine, Dominique has published numerous articles for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Environmental Defense Fund in addition to publishing a wonderful and deeply personal book: Slow Love: How I Lost my Job, Put on My Pajamas, and Found Happiness.

In 2011, Dominique founded the Moms Clean Air Force with the Environmental Defense Fund, to rally mothers to fight air pollution as a children’s health issue. Last week Dominique and I met for lunch and we discussed the ways in which the design community is infinitely connected to environmental issues. Dominique described the dangerous chemicals that are used in everyday home goods and ways in which we can band together to have them eliminated from the design objects we love so much. I was so intrigued, fascinated and concerned about the issues she was raising and really appreciated her coming on-air today to discuss why the design community should care about these environmental issues, how people (particularly women) can get involved and how we can all stay informed about the chemicals and materials that make up the design goods we love so much. Thank you so much to Dominique for talking with me. You can listen to the show below or visit her online, at her blog and check out the Moms Clean Air Force website for more information and ways to make a difference. xo, grace

“Nobody in Washington wants to make a mother angry…and we don’t exercise this power enough.”
-Dominique Browning on After the Jum
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Tracy Amos

I am a HUGE fan of Dominique Browning and was so sad when my magazines quit coming. I have saved all of them or tore out all of her editors letters. The BEST written letters. You were very lucky to have been able to work along side her!

Emma

I love this. And it’s true mums (I’m Australian) can make such a difference. Also remembering that someone’s making these toxic products. So not only are we helping our own family, but someone else’s as well.

VWgarden

Hooray for Dominique! In recent years I have become sensitive to many furniture finishes, paints, and fragrances. It is difficult to find new furniture that won’t give me severe headaches and nausea until it finishes offgassing (which can take years). I feel very grateful to those who are working to find and promote design goods that are safe and healthy for all of us.

susan

In terms seemingly benign lifestyle/health choices that we make without realizing…this segment was so eye-opening… and also in terms types of power…the “soft power” of Mom is actually anything but. : )

It’s always so cool to hear more about people like Dominique who have the courage…and drive…to make a difference, especially in a space that is not common knowledge.

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Karen

Interesting interview. I always like reading Ms Browning’s editor’s letters in House and Garden. She has an intriguing take on life. I will check out her new organization. Living in California, I’ve long been frustrated that it’s so difficult and expensive to find upholstered furniture that is not treated with toxic flame retardants. There’s new legislation in progress that may help. Thanks to Ms Browning for her work in this area.

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