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Body Burdens and Getting Rid of Toxins at Home
Alex Steffen, 20 Mar 05

We've written about "toxic loads" and "body burdens" -- those measurements of how many toxic chemicals you're carrying around in your body -- before. Several times. As I said then, one of the real problems with such stories is that, in the absence of concrete positive suggested actions, they just freak people out without neccessarily producing any actual changed behaviors.

So this Inside the Bay Area special, A Body's Burden, is a welcome change. It not only has the usual chemical horror-show bits ("Mikaela, Rowan's 5-year-old sister, had more dibutyl phthalate — a plasticizer found in nail polish and cosmetics — in her urine than 90 percent of the 328 kids age 6-11 tested so far in the United States." "Infants begin life with detectable levels of PCBs and DDT in their veins. Fire retardants lace mothers' breast milk. A chemical once used to make Scotchgard taints everybody's blood."), but intelligent analyses of why we swim in such a toxic bath, what the health implications may be, a kind of cheezy body burden quiz, a "virtual tour" of the chemical contents of the food in your fridge and, most importantly, what we can do as individuals to protect ourselves:

Clearing the air
What does "clean" smell like to you? For many people, clean air actually smells like fragrance — the fresh scent of Formula 409, the flowery smell of air fresheners, the snap of Pine-Sol. But many of these fragrance particles — relatively harmless on their own — react with ozone, a smog ingredient and byproduct of traffic, to create carcinogenic particles. Instead of spraying some air freshener, open a window and remove the source of the odors.

I found the suggestions helpful and less alarmist in tone than many others I've seen. Still, it's a comparatively short piece. Anyone have a recommendation for a more comprehensive toxin-free living resource?

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Anyone have a recommendation for a more comprehensive toxin-free living resource?

I think "toxin-free" is somewhat of an unreachable goal -- kind of "boy in the plastic bubble" thinking. Plus, one can create toxicity in the body through poor dietary habits, even with "pure" food. Poor food combining and poor chewing habits are probably the two biggest ways in which we can create toxins, but others may include late-night eating, eating under stress, or even consuming too much of something (like dairy), such that it builds up too mucus and then inhibits assimilation etc.

"Clean and Green is a great little guide to non-toxic household cleaning, primarily using common ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, dishsoap, etc. The version I've had for a long time is fairly disorganized, but the content is really good.

Storey Publishing also has a lot of books on different natural approaches to well-being.

Paul Pitchford's book, "Healing with Whole Foods" is probably the most comprehensive guide to food (and other life practices) and health. Some of his recommendations are a little hard-core (like the parasite-purge program), but they work. If you've built up a lot of junk in your system, his book is an indispensable guide on how to get back to balance.

Posted by: Joseph Willemssen on 20 Mar 05

The best way to clear your home is indeed simply opening the windows from time to time to let whatever is building up go away.

Anouther method is to alter your eating habbits from time to time to ensure that whatever happens from your food can clear out every month or so. This is as easy as switching to an all chinese week or as simple as just not eating the same meals all the time.

Posted by: wintermane on 21 Mar 05

Many of us have computer equipment at home. The TCO standards avoid the chemical burdens associated with monitors and other computer equipment.

Posted by: Tom L on 21 Mar 05



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