Many of us don’t realize how many man-made chemicals we are exposed to throughout the day. If when we get up in the morning we shower using shampoo and conditioner, brush our teeth, style our hair, cook our eggs in a non-stick pan, put away some of our children’s toys, and take a big whiff from our new Glade plug-in, we’ve already been exposed to so many chemicals that our livers will have their job cut out for them.
Building Awareness About Chemical Exposure
There have been over 70,000 chemicals invented since 1950, many of which have never gone through extensive testing for their long term affects on the environment or our health. We can ingest these chemicals through food and beverages, breathe them in, or absorb them through our skin.
“Body burden” refers to the amount of harmful chemicals present in our bodies and the physical stress that they can cause. Not only do our livers have to work overtime to try to detoxify from them, but many of them are fat soluble meaning that they are stored in our fat cells. These levels can build up over time to the point of causing symptoms.
The physical effects of chemicals are numerous. They can contribute towards allergies and chronic respiratory illness. They can effect our immune and nervous systems. Possibly the most disturbing category of environmental chemicals are “endocrine disruptors”. These chemicals can actually alter our hormonal balance contributing to things like the altered sexual development of fetuses, early menses in young girls, symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men and women, infertility, and hormone related cancers like prostate, breast, uterine, and ovarian.
Unfortunately, unborn babies and young children are at the highest risk because their bodies are still developing. This makes it very important for couples thinking about starting a family, pregnant women, and young families to become aware of the sources and to switch to more natural options.
- body and skin care products
- synthetic fragrances: perfume, candles, air fresheners
- household cleaning products
- pesticides and herbicides
- non-stick cookware
- flame retardants
- plastic: water bottles, food storage containers, shower curtains, bags, toys, baby bottles, pacifiers, synthetic fiber clothing and bedding
What can we do?
- Educate ourselves and our loved ones.
- Avoid as many of these sources as you can by choosing products made from natural ingredients.
- Support your body’s pathways of elimination.
- Get involved by supporting legislation to not only demand full disclosure of ingredients on labels, but to ban the use of many of these chemicals.