Welcome to the Norwex Movement

What Is Body Burden and What Can I Do About It?


leaf
What Is Body Burden and What Can I Do About It?

15 Ways to Lower Your Body Burden

Updated August 23, 2018

It’s called Body Burden—the alphabet soup of pollutants that accumulate in and contaminate our bodies. And though we’ve touched on it before, I think it’s worth a closer look at this pervasive problem that’s really one of the main reasons for this blog—to help us all live a little freer from the harmful effects of toxic chemicals.

So What Is Body Burden?

Body Burden, or toxic load, is the buildup of harmful chemicals in our bodies. These are the chemicals we ingest from our food or breathe in from the air or consume in our water. They come into contact with our skin through typical laundry products, soaps and other personal care products. Toddlers and pets can acquire chemicals through the dust that settles onto flooring. Even babies have chemicals that have been passed along from their mothers in utero as well as breast milk.

Body Burden is pervasive. Chemicals are literally everywhere, and everyone has a Body Burden to some degree. In fact, scientists estimate that at any given moment there could be hundreds of individual toxins in the average adult body. Some of them quickly come and go, while others can hang out in our cells, tissues, blood, bones and organs for decades.

Body Burden has also been linked with a variety of illnesses and conditions.

What Are Some of the Worst Offenders?

Determining exactly which chemicals may be lurking within any given person is both difficult and expensive. And trying to predict what the combined effects of all of those chemicals will be on that person’s health is nearly impossible. However, general predictions can be made about the harmful effects of certain classes of chemicals. For example:

  • VOCs—Volatile Organic Compounds are found in everything from fragrances to paint. Certain flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) have been shown to cause neurological and reproductive problems in rats and mice. Other VOCs, like benzene and formaldehyde, are listed as human carcinogens—or cancer-causing chemicals—by the National Toxicology Program. To help reduce VOCs in the air in your home, check out these houseplants.
  • Phthalates—This class of endocrine-disrupting VOCs off-gases from a variety of household products and can be inhaled as well as accumulate in household dust. And while they don’t linger long in the body, they have been shown to decrease hormone levels in men and have been linked to brain development problems, diabetes, obesity and asthma. Phthalates may also accelerate the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells. To reduce phthalates, dust often and check labels to avoid anything listed as “synthetic fragrance.”
  • Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)—Found in nonstick coatings and stain repellants, PFCs have been shown to damage the liver, affect thyroid hormones and cause birth defects and possibly cancer in animals. They’ve also been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and increased cholesterol levels, as well as reduced fertility among women and lower sperm count among men. Avoid PFCs by refusing food packaged in grease- or water-repellent coatings, and check the labels of carpet-cleaning fluids as well as tile, stone and wood sealants.
  • Heavy metals—Especially harmful to children, the neurotoxin mercury can permanently impair memory, learning centers and behavior; and lead can affect brain development, reduce IQ and attention span, and increase antisocial behavior. Lead exposure is also linked to anemia, hypertension and impaired kidney function, and it’s toxic to the reproductive organs and the immune system. Avoid using lead-based paints, limit consumption of fish and other seafood, and use a lead-reducing water filter (especially if your home has lead water pipes).
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (or POPs)—These include dioxins, PCBs (poly chlorinated biphenyls) and many kinds of pesticides, which accumulate in the bodies of organisms that inhale or ingest them. They travel through air, water and soil, making their way up the food chain, and can remain in the body for a long time. Even limited exposure to them can cause serious problems like sterility and birth defects. Avoid chemical pesticides as well as products made from PVC plastic (with the “3” chasing-arrows symbol). Never burn any kind of plastic, and avoid using plastic bags and bleached and/or coated paper plates.

Even though the combined effect of these classes of chemicals on individuals hasn’t been widely studied, based on what is known about their individual effects it probably isn’t good.

What Can I Do?

Body Burden testing could provide an idea of which chemicals may be lurking inside your body, but it can’t predict with 100% accuracy how your Body Burden will affect you. The good news is there are lots of things you can do to help reduce your Body Burden. For example:

  • Read labels of products you buy. Be alert to any known carcinogens or dangerous ingredients.
  • Eat less processed food and more foods high in antioxidants.
  • Select organic varieties of foods normally linked with high pesticide residues.
  • Choose only low-PCB and low-mercury seafood.
  • Consider taking an antioxidant multivitamin-mineral every day.
  • Drink only filtered water—and lots of it.
  • Never microwave anything in plastic.
  • Avoid artificial fragrances.
  • Dust often.
  • Avoid harmful chemicals in cleaning products.
  • Take a steam or sauna bath occasionally to sweat out toxins.
  • Get rid of non-stick cookware that’s scratched or damaged.
  • Open your windows to let fresh air in.
  • On hot days, let your car air out before getting in.
  • Avoid breathing gasoline fumes.
comment_2This is just a short list of steps you can take to reduce your Body Burden. What other ways can you think of to reduce the toxic load we all carry around? We’d love to hear your ideas; just leave a comment below.

Resources:

What causes Body Burden?

View Results
 
Too many sweets:
 
2%
Toxic chemicals:
 
98%
Total Votes:
351
View Poll
guest
11 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kim Metzger
Kim Metzger
2 years ago

I make my own lunchmeat. It’s my great-aunt’s summer sausage recipe. It does have salt in it, but no preservatives!

Lia Thompson
Lia Thompson
2 years ago
Reply to  Kim Metzger

Thats great 🙂 i hadnt thought of that Kim.

Patti Steely
Patti Steely
2 years ago

Perfect information
I have been studying for a long time due to my own health.

Tanya Aoyagi
Tanya Aoyagi
2 years ago

We have been really working to eat only local fruits, veggies, and meats that are grown sustainably and responsibly without pesticides or hormones. We definitely aren’t 100%, but I love knowing our food is safer for us AND that we are supporting our local economy!

Lia Thompson
Lia Thompson
2 years ago

I think that this is a worthwhile article. Informative and i plan to be more mindful of the ideas given above to reduce body burden.

Vicky Mitchem
Vicky Mitchem
2 years ago

So many of these changes are so easy if we are just conscious about them. We’ve been experiencing super hot weather and I never thought about the impact of airing and cooling my car before getting in and putting my child in but it makes sense. Thank you for that insight!

Kim Rhodes
Kim Rhodes
2 years ago
Reply to  Vicky Mitchem

I never thought to air out my car before I get in it either, I will have to start doing that today. This article was very helpful. Thank you

Carlina courteau
Carlina courteau
2 years ago

I love this but almost find it overwhelming in a sense.. And sometimes when sharing this information people tend to feel like it so much bigger then us to be able to do anything about it. I wanna move to the country and start over again..lol

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
2 years ago

Carlina, thanks for your comment! It does start to feel a little overwhelming when we consider all the ways that toxic chemicals affect us. And yes, sharing this info can sometimes be challenging. But, if we all just do what we can to reduce chemicals in our own homes and also to share this type of info with people around us who express interest, then we are already making a difference … right?

Pat
Pat
2 years ago

Thanks for the information. We forget to be proactive sometimes, but I appreciate your efforts to encourage awareness. We can do better for ourselves and our families. Thanks Norwex.

Mary
Mary
2 years ago

Overwhelming info