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Day Two: The Pollution Inside Your Own Body

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Imagine if you could see inside your own body and discover what can make you sick...and then do something about it.

Most of us think air pollution is an outdoor problem. Smokestacks, cars, smog. But indoors--where we spend 90% of our day--that's where the air can be really bad. After countless studies, scientists acknowledge that the air indoors is two to five times worse than the air outdoors, the result of seemingly benign stuff, including what we wash our clothes and dishes, bathrooms and floors with every day. Eventually these airborne toxins find their way into our bodies, into our bloodstream and into our children - even before they're born.

And that is where my book begins: inside all of us. Green Goes with Everything: Simple Steps to a Healthier Life and a Cleaner Planet goes inside the body, deep inside where no book has gone before.

I persuaded experts at The Harvard School of Public Health, for the first time ever, to supervise a customized "Body Burden" test. The subject---me! The "Body Burden" test analyzed my blood for hundreds of chemicals and showed me that like most of us I had flame retardant, non-stick coating, plastics etc... streaming through my blood, including many chemicals that have been banned for years.

Book excerpt, p.18

"Maybe, as a result of working on this book, I expected some of what I learned. Still, I wasn't prepared for the results. No matter how many times I've been told how little is known about the impact of these substances in our system and that there are still no long-term studies on the amounts necessary to cause life-altering damage, these lab results are frightening. I was stunned by how many nasty chemicals that I could hardly pronounce were in my own body. These were chemicals that were supposed to make life easier or safer, chemicals that I used or was exposed to everyday. But what were they doing inside of me?!

Let's begin with the questions of how these chemicals affect us. Different chemicals have different effects on different people. How severely you're affected depends upon how you came in contact with it, how long you were in contact with it, how much of the chemical you were exposed to, and how strong it was. Sometimes a chemical attacks the body's tissues, sometimes it attacks the genetic material in a cell's nucleus, damaging the DNA. This, in turn, may create an inheritable defect that gets passed along to your children."

If you don't believe that these chemicals are inside of you, then go to and take the virtual "Body Burden" test. You will be shocked to learn which everyday household products can contribute to your chemical load.

This is scary stuff. That's why when I was on the Today Show this month, Matt Lauer was quick to point out that that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims, "The number or sum of chemicals detected in the blood and urine of an individual...may not be a useful measure for assessing a person's health,...we do not know what the presence of most chemicals mean. ... It is the concentrations or amounts in the blood that determine whether a particular chemical has a health effect."

The CDC brings up a good point. We really don't know what impact these chemicals can have on us. But here's what we do know. In animal studies, many of these chemicals at high doses have shown to be harmful. Of the top 3,000 selling chemicals in this country, only 7% have a full set of basic toxicity information. And finally, the little testing that has been done only examines the risk associated with these chemicals individually, when in reality we're exposed to a myriad of chemicals in different combinations.

So what should we do? This is when we should practice the "Precautionary Principle" or as I like to say, "better safe than sorry." If there is any uncertainty about the safety of certain products, why would you take the chance with your health and your family's health when there are safer alternatives on the market? I know that I won't.

We do not need to go to our medicine cabinets and throw everything away at once or even start living in a tree house in the forest. Instead, we can simply make smarter choices everyday. Check back on Friday to learn a few simple steps to lower your "Body Burden" score and live a healthier and greener life!

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