Let’s face it, the word toxin is just about everywhere — and body toxins are starting to become more understood by all of us. Most of us know about eating healthy and eliminating toxins in food, and we know that exercise and reducing stress are another way to eliminate body toxins. But when it comes to our home spaces, it starts to get a little confusing.
Our homes have become one of the most toxin filled places we spend time in, and unfortunately for many of us, it’s also the place we send the MOST time in. Chemical toxins within our homes start to add up over multiple exposures (or in most cases, daily exposures). Overtime, most of us will experience SOME form of body burden due to body toxins from our environment.
The good news is that by reducing toxin exposures and doing your best to eliminate body toxins, the body will quickly start healing.
What I’ve learned over the past few years from other experts and through doing my own research is that unburdening our bodies has lasting positive effects on our immune system specifically. An immune system that is burdened and working overtime cannot protect us the way the immune system with fewer toxins and chemical exposure can.
It’s one of the reasons I’ve decided to take the steps to create a whole living approach to health. Using my home to promote wellness and create a healing environment is key in my journey to a healthier house.
Below you’ll learn just what body burden is and how body toxins affect your individual systems. Plus you won’t want to miss the BIG toxins that contribute to body burden. And if you’re ready to take the next step to reduce these toxins in your house with a step by step approach, sign up for my Healthy Home Blueprint Course.
BODY BURDEN AS AN IMMUNE SYSTEM STRESSOR
You might be wondering what body burden is and which body toxins cause this issue. It’s mostly just what it sounds like, something that puts a burden on your body. Specifically, chemicals, a toxic substance or a radioactive element. It means these chemicals and toxic substances are building up in the body to a concentrated level, affecting the function of our body’s systems.
In terms of body burden, our bodies are like a cup. Chemicals and substances fill up the cup, and overtime, the cup can overflow. The overflow means the cup is filled to the brim with these substances and chemicals and is spilling over into other areas. The other areas that become affected are seen through a variety of symptoms such as allergies, fatigue, skin conditions, asthma, general pain and brain fog.
While all of these symptoms are troublesome, a lot of them can be linked back down to a suppressed immune process. This study about a variety of toxins and chemicals is fascinating and extremely in depth regarding the toxicity of chemicals and how they suppress the immune system.
Another study shares that this phenomenon of chemical pollutants have been accumulating in the environment and the foods we eat since World War II. Thinking about this length of time, it’s easy to see how these toxins and chemicals can build up in our own bodies when they’ve already built up in the environment we live in.
What’s even more troubling is that exposure even while in-utero can lead to adult disease over time (ewg.org reports). Oftentimes the root of many problems comes from a suppressed immune system. The immune system, which consists of white blood cells and other lymphatic components, provides immunity to the entire body from bacteria, viruses, parasites and tumors. The immune system helps the body know the difference between its own cells and tissues compared to foreign cells and substances. (Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry)
This means the more foreign cells and substances are in the body, the harder the immune system has to work in order to protect the rest of the body. Anything from carcinogens to heavy metals must be identified by the immune system and then it must actively protect the body from that substance.
The more substances, the harder the immune system has to work. If your body is working overtime to protect you from things in our everyday products, it’s never getting a break and can become suppressed and weak over time.
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TOP CONTRIBUTORS TO BODY BURDEN IN THE HOME
Body burden can come from a number of different chemicals. Specifically, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) reported that the average person in the United States has at least 212 chemicals in their blood and urine.
These chemicals come from products we use every day: plastic containers, toys, and makeup. It can also come from mold toxins, heavy metals, pesticides and solvents. Unfortunately, many of the products we use are not necessarily tested for safety. What’s more is that they are regularly approved for consumer use, despite their potential health effects.
Cleaning Products: Cleaning products have everything from harsh solvents intended to clean to synthetic fragrances that mask the solvent smell. There’s also bleach and components like phosphates that can cause long term damage to our nervous and lymphatic systems. Choose healthy and plant based products that you know aren’t greenwashed.
Toxic Mold: Toxic mold is an organic toxin, meaning it’s naturally occurring. While it isn’t a chemical, our bodies see it as a foreign stressor. What’s more is that toxic mold can begin to make its home in our lungs and airways, causing bigger problems if it becomes airborne. Keep your indoor humidity levels between 35% – 40% and be diligent about reducing moisture intrusion at home.
Plastic in the Kitchen: Plastics contain phthalates and other synthetic chemicals that have a long half life, meaning they stay in the body for really long periods of time. When these stay in the body for long periods of time, it becomes difficult for the body to function as normal, and it becomes extremely burdened. This is particularly true when plastics are heated with food or the food we eat is touching them. Make a plan to swap out plastic food storage and dishes from your home with either glass, stainless steel or silicone.
Pesticides in House Dust: Dust in your house is more than just skin cells (gross!) and fibers from clothes and upholstery. House dust can contain bacteria, pesticides and other chemicals we use in our home or bring in from the outside. Pesticides are a huge source of body burden and should be avoided at all costs. Start a weekly routine to dust and vacuum and stand firm on a no-shoe policy.
Synthetic Fragrances: And then there are synthetic fragrances. These chemical concoctions are just that, chemicals. Oftentimes we don’t even know what’s in these formulas due to trade secret. Synthetic fragrances are just about everywhere and they also stick around for long periods of time once they’re in our bloodstream. Get rid of all scented products unless you’re 100% the fragrance is from all natural essential oils.
Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is in furniture, home materials and glues that we use in home building. It’s also been found in cleaners that we use around our homes. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and our immune system works on overdrive to protect the rest of our body from this chemical. Use a high quality air purifier to help reduce toxins in the air from building materials.
Personal Care Products: Personal care products contain a variety of ingredients that affect our body. Most often they have a direct route to our bloodstream as we are using the product directly on our skin. Once it enters the bloodstream, the synthetic chemicals stay for long periods of time, traveling through our system and affecting different areas of our body. Check your products on a third party app like ClearYa, EWG or ThinkDirty.
GAME PLAN TO CHANGE
The seven areas listed above are a great place to get started. And making a plan to change doesn’t have to be super complex or overwhelming. Each change you make is a step in the right direction and gives you a little bit more control over your own environment.
For me, the easiest one to start with was completely eliminating synthetic fragrances. I then moved on to my cleaning products. One way to start eliminating these toxins is to replace them as you use them, or use a “once a week” rule when you’re out shopping or ordering your home products.
However you go through your home, either on one fell swoop or in a more methodical, slow pattern, you’re doing a tremendous thing for you and your family. I’ve helped many families reduce their use of toxic products and create a healthier home with my one on one consultations, and now the Healthy Home Blueprint, which you can learn more about here.
One way that I work to eliminate stress is by using essential oils to support my emotions. Getting stressed out once in a while doesn’t do a lot in terms of health to the rest of our bodies. But feeling even low grade stress consistently or for long periods of time takes its toll on the rest of our bodies.
Essential oils are fantastic for emotional support and really help with feelings of anxiety and stress. I use them for myself with rollers and diffusers and so do my kids. If you were around here last week I shared some of my blends for the beginning of school, which always proves to be a stress-filled time.
Essential oils like chamomile and lavender help create a feeling of calm in the midst of busyness. Other oils like Bergamot promote a feeling of happiness. The benefits of these essential oils are endless, but using them to work through hard feelings or keep peace in your home ultimately benefits your immune system too.
However you choose to reduce body toxins and eliminate body burden from your life, I guarantee you’ll be happy you started now. The way we feel is so important to our health and quality of life.