Body Burden

This is an excerpt from my book Toxic Free. It is why you need to detox your body.

There is such a huge volume of toxic chemicals in the world today that there are far more than our bodies were designed to handle.

When your body’s detox system is insufficient to remove the amount toxic chemicals you are exposed to—and this applies to virtually everyone alive today—then the toxicants that come into your body will not be excreted, but instead will be stored in your body—in fat, semen, breast milk, muscles, bones, brain, liver and other organs.

The total amount of these chemicals that are being stored in your body at a given point in time is called your body burden.

Various chemicals move through your body at different rates. Arsenic, for example, is mostly excreted within 72 hours of exposure. Some pesticides can remain in your body for 50 years.

Of course, how quickly chemicals are removed from your body depends on the condition of your body’s detoxification system and the amount of toxic chemicals you are exposed to.

When you are continuously exposed to toxic chemicals—as most people are every day—more toxic chemicals enter the body than can be removed by your detoxification system, and body burden results.

Scientists say that everyone alive today is contaminated with at least 700 toxic chemicals in their bodies. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do. Just being on this planet, every body is contaminated. EPA biopsies of human fat show:

  • We all have polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) in our bodies, from adhesives, carbonless copy paper, dyes, fluorescent light ballasts, inks, paints, pesticides, plastics, and many other consumer products. No longer manufactured or widely used since 1977, but still widespread in the environment. Currently our most significant exposure is in fish.
  • We all have styrene in our bodies from styrofoam coffee cups and takeout food containers.
  • We all have dichlorobenzene in our bodies from breathing fumes from air fresheners, mothballs, and toilet-deodorizer blocks.
  • We all have xylene in our bodies from breathing gasoline, paint varnish, shellac, rust preventatives, permanent markers and cigarette smoke.
  • We all have dioxins in our bodies.The major sources of dioxin are in our diet. Since dioxin is fat-soluble, it bioaccumulates, climbing up the food chain. A North American eating a typical North American diet will receive 93% of their dioxin exposure from meat and dairy products (23% is from milk and dairy alone; other large sources of exposure are beef, fish, pork, poultry and eggs). In fish, these toxicants bioaccumulate up the food chain so that dioxin levels in fish are 100,000 times that of the surrounding environment.

All these chemicals cause cancer as well as other illnesses.

All these chemicals and more are known to be stockpiled in everyone’s bodies, unless you have done something to remove them (I’ll discuss more about how you reduce your body burden by removing stored toxic chemicals in Chapter 4).

Just how contaminated are our bodies in our current industrialized environment, compared to what it would be if the planet were not polluted with industrial chemicals?

An examination was done of lead in the bones of Peruvians buried 1600 years ago. The Peruvian bones were compared to lead found in the bones of present day residents of the United Kingdom and the United States. The amount of lead in the bones of present day human bodies is 1000 times the amount found in the bones of ancient Peruvians.

That your body stores toxic chemicals is a good thing, because it keeps the chemicals from circulating through your body in your bloodstream and creating toxic effects. However, it’s better to not hold on to those toxicants.

Your body has the ability to alter toxic chemicals to increase or decrease their effects, or to totally change their effect. What makes toxic effects so unpredictable is that chemicals inside your body can react with other chemicals that enter your body at the same time, or which previously entered and were stored. A well-known example is alcoholic beverages and tranquilizers, but reactions can also occur between a cleaning product and a pesticide, or even something as seemingly insignificant as a food additive. Carrying around past toxic exposures in your body, which could be released at any time, just increases your chances of toxic health problems.

Since 2001, the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has produced four reports called the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals ( These are a series of ongoing assessments of the U.S. population’s exposure to environmental chemicals by measuring chemicals in a person’s blood or urine—a process called biomonitoring. Biomonitoring results help CDC scientists find out what chemicals enter a person’s body and at what concentration. The results also help scientists learn about the general population’s exposure to certain chemicals.

The Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the exposure of the U.S. population to chemicals in our environment, with 212 chemicals measured in about 2400 people. The report’s Executive Summary gives these findings regarding chemicals found in the bodies of Americans:

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers are fire retardants used in certain manufactured products. These accumulate in the environment and in human fat tissue. One type of polybrominated diphenyl ether, BDE-47, was found in the serum of nearly all of the NHANES participants.

Bisphenol A (BPA), a component of epoxy resins and polycarbonates, may have potential reproductive toxicity. General population exposure to BPA may occur through ingestion of foods in contact with BPA-containing materials. CDC scientists found bisphenol A in more than 90% of the urine samples representative of the U.S. population.

Another example of widespread human exposure included several of the perfluorinated chemicals. One of these chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), was a byproduct of the synthesis of other perfluorinated chemicals and was a synthesis aid in the manufacture of a commonly used polymer, polytetrafluoroethylene, which is used to create heat-resistant non-stick coatings in cookware. Most participants had measurable levels of this environmental contaminant.

It is bad enough that these chemicals each individually are known to be hazardous to health. What is worse is the dangers of exposure to these chemicals in combination has never been studied.

Body burden is why I created Toxic Free Body—to help you remove the overload of toxic chemicals from your body.