The Body Burden

Environmental Toxins and Pollution in People

The Impetus

I think we all agree that the world is a toxic place. There are over 85,000 chemicals in the marketplace and we come in contact with them in one way or another every day. 

There is no such thing as a pristine environment. Toxins are in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. They are in the homes we live in and the offices we work. They are present in our children’s schools. They are prevalent in our personal care and cleaning products.

Decades of research and countless studies have contributed to our understanding that we carry a burden of toxic chemicals in our body’s, our Body Burden.

It has been over 35 years since the September 22, 1980 Time Magazine cover story entitled “The Poisoning of America” was published. So, this is not a new problem and it is something we have all been aware of for a long time. The question I like to ask is; has this problem gotten better or worse? It’s gotten worse, exponentially worse.

It has been said every 5 years there are 10,000 new chemicals in the market place that weren’t here 5 years ago. That equates to over 5 new chemicals per day!

Dr. Stewart Lonky and biochemist Rik Deitsch point out in their book, Invisible Killers, that the body burden of toxins today is significantly higher than it was 20 years ago, 40 years ago, 60 years ago.  There appears to be a tipping point in your body above which the accumulation of toxins begins to interpret into disease. We don’t die from infectious disease anymore, but more childhood diseases, lymphomas, brain tumors and more adults with cancer. All of these diseases appear to be related to these toxic exposures. They go on to state that to turn your back on this is to turn your back on the obvious.

Our Body Burden, the “Pollution in People”

The term body burden was first coined in the early 2000’s. It is defined as, the total amount of a chemical present in a human's or animal's body, typically a radioactive element or other toxic substance. This can include anything from dangerous metals like lead or mercury, to pesticides and herbicides, unsafe food additives, BPA’s from plastics just to name a few.

As stated by Dr. Sanjay Gupta on a recent CNN documentary entitled Toxic America, “A growing number of studies are finding hundreds of toxic chemicals in mothers' and subsequently their babies' bodies when they are born…” 

In 2005 the Environmental Working Group published a benchmark study that looked at the number of toxic chemicals in the umbilical cord blood of newborns. Of 287 chemicals, detected in umbilical cord blood, 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins has never been studied. The authors go on to say, had we tested for a broader array of chemicals, we would almost certainly have detected far more than 287. Testing umbilical cord blood for industrial chemicals is technically challenging. Chemical manufacturers are not required to divulge to the public or government health officials methods to detect their chemicals in humans. 

In 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a comprehensive study that suggests more than 33% of diseases affecting children under the age of five are caused by environmental exposures, and that by preventing these exposures, as many as four million children’s lives a year worldwide could be saved.

Our environment has changed very rapidly. We do not live in the same environment that we did a 100 years, 50 years or even 10 years ago. Biologically we change very slowly.

We monitor the pollution in our air, our water, and even our fish. It's time to start looking at the pollution in our bodies and take steps to minimize our exposure and absorption of toxic substances.



The Awakening

Although we as individuals may not have a big say in the chemicals in our environment, we do have some control over those which we may ingest, breathe or absorb. The Self Care Awakening, being healthy by choice, looks at ways we can help reduce our individual body burden of toxic chemicals to lead a healthier life. Becoming aware of the problem is the first step the second is to take action for healthier choices.



Our Favorites!


Drink healthy water at least half of your body weight in ounces daily. We suggest keeping a glass bottle (one that you know how many ounces it contains) with you at your desk or whatever activity you are engaged in and then sip on that water throughout the day. Refill as necessary. We love PiWater a filtered, alkaline water that tastes amazing and has a quick absorption rate. More on proper hydration.

Reduce Sugar:

Easiest thing to do is read labels and avoid processed foods. When you reduce sugar you are most likely eliminating other things your body doesn't need. Frequent your local farmers market/produce stands you get the benefit of healthy food and support your local community, win - win. More on sugar.


The most productive part of any 24 hour cycle is when you sleep. Get 8 hours of sleep everyday, Ladies 8 hours and 20 - 25 min.. More about healthy sleep and how to get it. 



Author: Gary Lindner, PhD