In order to figure out your "body burden," you will need to identify products around your home and workplace that could contain toxic chemicals.  The following list will help guide you to finding possible toxic exposures.  A simple starting point is to walking around your house, like Toxie, the Chemical Cat. You'll be surprised how many toxins she paws over in her house.

But toxic products aren't always easy to find.  Consider the seemingly healthy product:

Africa's Best Kids Organics No-Lye Organic Conditioning
Relaxer System with ScalpGuard, Kids Regular

Sounds healthy right?  But when I check it out at the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database,  I find out that it is in fact very dangerous. The New York Times, following a New Scientist Article, "Early Puberty linked to shampoo" documented breast enlargement in both young boys and girls who used certain shampoos.  Their breasts were reduced as soon as they stopped using the shampoos. The chemical cause of their condition was the addition of estrogen-based chemicals, often found in placenta additives, into the shampoo. These chemicals are added to give hair extra luster.Who would have known they also enhance breast size...

So that's an example "body burden," the bioaccumulation of toxic chemicals in our bodies.  If you read the National Geographic article, flying on an airplane, a seemingly harmless activity, can also expose you to dangerous amounts of toxins.


Use the list of Websites below to start your investigation about household/office products that you commonly come in contact with, what the toxic chemicals are that are associated with the products, what the health effects are, and how can these effects be treated.


National Library of Medicine


Other Government Clearninghouses

Government Investigations

Non Profit Organizations



Now you know what you need to know about body burdens, but what about your friends?  You will now produce an informational leaflet that anyone your age could easily read, to understand what products can be hazardous to your health, what chemicals are causing the problem, what the health effects are, and how we can reduce the risk.

Each of you will have your own wiki page to upload your work. Think about effective ways to communicate your information to other people.  Try to write your results in a way that is easily readable, without loosing the important content. Use my shampoo example as guide for the style of writing you should be aiming for.