How to limit body burden


March 12, 2013 by nourishing buttons

P1000973“Have you heard the term body burden? If you haven’t, you will soon. It’s a critical environmental problem, as big an issue as global warming, and affects us all, causing health problems ranging from cancer and diabetes to infertility and autism. It affects all ages, even our babies before they’re born” Dr Aviva Romm

Body burden is the measurement of the total amount of toxic chemicals in your body at a given time, or the amount of a single chemical, for example, arsenic, lead, mercury, or PCB, to name just a few.

Scientific organizations such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimate that most of us carry hundreds of environmental contaminants in our bodies. Babies are born already carrying as many as 300 different chemicals in their bodies, and breast milk is filled with environmental pollutants. A friend of mine who moves in doula (birth supporters) circles told me recently that some mothers are so concerned about the toxins in breast milk that they are importing donkey milk as a substitution, being the closest to human milk.

These toxins come from many places….food, air, household cleaners, cosmetics, plastic containers, building materials, the list is endless.

And they are not benign. In large amounts, many of the chemicals we are exposed to are obvious toxins. However, we now know that even in practically immeasurably tiny amounts, many can still wreak havoc. And we really have no idea how multiple different chemicals interact in the body, yet we are a veritable soup of environmental chemical interactions!

Some chemicals and heavy metals can affect our nervous systems causing anxiety, insomnia, ADHD, chronic fatigue, autism, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s dementia.

Others, for example plastics and pesticides, affect our hormones leading to thyroid disease, diabetes, PCOS, and infertility.

What can I do?

Reduce the amount of toxins in your everyday life – simply change your environment! For example, take household cleaning products. Decide to change, and change. Collect up all your chemical cleaning products, put them in a box outside your house with a ‘take me’ sign. Then replace with gentler alternatives. Its an expensive business changing your purchasing choices, but you can usually make savings to counteract some things costing more. For example I use Ecover washing up liquid, washing liquid and dishwasher tablets…..but don’t buy multisurface cleaners, using white distilled vinegar and lemon juice instead, and I no longer buy furniture polish – is it really necessary? Bicarbonate of soda is also a cheap addition to any natural cleaning system.

When I started thinking about moving to natural eco altenatives (motivated by my son’s eczema), I found it overwhelming as there are so many areas where you can reduce toxic exposure. The good places to start are:

Buy organic, definitely meat and dairy as they are repositories for environmental contaminants. Ideally all produce too, but try where possible to buy local to ensure the nutrients are retained rather than lost on an epic global journey.

Use eco household cleaning products

Use natural toiletries and cosmetics avoid parabens, SLS’s, petroleum derivatives.

Avoid plastic bottles! Stainless steel seems to be the best safe option. This is next on my list…I’m going to throw out that drawer full of kids plastic drinking recepticles and replace with one stainless steel drinking bottle each. Just need to make sure I don’t leave them at playgroups or friends houses like I do now! At over £10 a pop I think I might try quite hard!

Next on my list are mattresses and bedding, starting with the kids. This is definitely one of the costlier changes to make but I figure we spend 8 hours a day (little uns even more) in bed, and I’d like to avoid sleeping with chemical fire retardents.

Warm wishes
Lu xx


5 thoughts on “How to limit body burden

  1. kmmmls says:

    Very well done, for all of us who are serious about health should share this on every social site we belong to. I can’t believe there is not a list of comments a mile long. Why is no one organizing to help change the world we are forced to live in.

  2. nik says:

    Really helpful Lu and an interesting read …..will pass on to my friend who ‘s 6 month old is really suffering with reflux and excema xx

  3. Adele says:

    Hi Lu,

    Have you done any research into mattresses? A friend of mine made her own a while ago with organic sheep’s fleece and I seem to remember that it was pretty firm and really expensive!

    I’m just getting to the point of wanting to get a single mattress for my little boy – and would prefer to get something natural, without fire retardants etc. But I’m not sure where to start…

    (On another of your points, I sometimes also use Ecover, but I don’t think it’s that great on the ‘natural’ spectrum. I think there are more natural brands out there eg Bio-D)


  4. Hi Adele, thanks for your message. I think we are going to go with the Little Green Sheep for mattresses.

    Thanks for the Ecover info, I recently had some doubts but hadn’t had a chance to look into it. We have been using a great cleaning product recently that works with good bacteria called Libby Chan that can be used for most cleaning applications (Wild Oats stock it). I was thinking of trying soap nuts for laundry, and I will check out other options for washing up liquid.


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