Regardless of where you live, you will almost certainly be carrying around a “Body Burden” of toxic chemicals. It’s a sad fact that no one really wants to spend much time dwelling on, but it’s important to be aware of what this means, and how to can minimize your exposure. It’s especially important for women who are thinking of starting a family, women who are pregnant, or those with babies. That said, it’s important for ALL of us!
So, what exactly is the “Body Burden”? Until recently, it was thought that the placenta protected an unborn baby from being contaminated with environmental pollutants. We now know that is is not true – all of these chemical pollutants easily cross the placenta. A huge study conducted by the EWG found that the blood in the umbilical cord of newborn babies contained an average of 287 chemicals – many of which are potentially carcinogenic. Scary, right? So, this goes to show that if a newborn starts off with this kind of body burden, imagine what kind of a burden adults are carrying around!
What are these chemicals? Among the chemicals found, there were eight perfluorochemicals used as stain and oil repellants in fast food packaging, clothes and textiles — including the Teflon chemical PFOA, recently characterized as a likely human carcinogen by the EPA’s Science Advisory Board — dozens of widely used brominated flame retardants and their toxic by-products; and numerous pesticides.
It can be overwhelming to figure out where to begin to untangle this mess, much less protect ourselves. So to make it easy for you, I’ve listed 14 important and easy steps you can take:
- Vacuum your home twice a week with a HEPA filter vacuum. Pay special attention to the dust that gathers around electronics and media centers.
- Eliminate all commercial household cleaning products (chlorine bleach, Windex, Pledge etc) and replace with non-toxic versions. Remember you can make your own – there are tons of recipes in my latest book, Do It Gorgeously.
- Use glass, stainless steel or ceramic containers for food and beverages.
- Avoid all pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides in and out of your home.
- Take off your shoes and leave them at the door when entering your home, to avoid contamination from outside.
- Avoid buying food with plastic packaging.
- Avoid canned foods, unless the company states that it lines their cans with a BPA-free lining (Eden Foods).
- Avoid any kind of synthetic fragrance in your home (candles, air fresheners, room sprays etc).
- Only use personal care products that are safe and non-toxic (check out the “Gorgeous Finds” on Gorgeously Green to find out all the products that I’ve tested and thus recommend.)
- Try to buy as many organic foods as possible. Especially make sure that the following Dirty Dozen foods are always organic.
- Only buy meat that is certified organic
- Avoid fish that contains a high amount of mercury. Check out this mercury calculator to help you out.
- Make sure your drinking water is filtered. A whole house water system is the way to go to ensure total overall health, and if you are considering a system, I think LifeSource Water is the best,
- Eat a diet that is rich in anti-oxidants: loads of organic greens and berries is the way to go!