March 12, 2013 by nourishing buttons
“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.