Endocrine Disrupters- What you need to know
For most of us the quest for long term health begins with our food. Thanks to the emergence of independent natural skincare brands and wonderful organizations such as EWG, we are starting to realize that what we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in it.
When choosing products one of the biggest offenders can be Endocrine Disrupters.
Endocrine Disrupters are chemicals (both natural and synthetic) that can create problems for our internal endocrine system. When these chemicals are ingested or absorbed through our skin they can mimic hormones in our body and lead to imbalances with our natural hormones. Endocrine Disrupters tend to be most harmful to the reproductive system, sex hormones and the thyroid. They can lead to reproductive issues and infertility, a decrease in immune function, mental health issues, increase in cancer risk, and affect the sensory development in children.They have also been known to affect puberty.
Women who are nursing, pregnant or small children tend to be most affected.
Where can you find them?
Since Endocrine Disruptors are not broken down quickly, companies tend to add them to products in order to expand the products shelf life.
Here are some of the most common ones and where they are found:
- BPA - a chemical used to harden plastic
- Atrazine - used on the majority of corn crops
- Phthalates - used in personal care products and plastics
- Perchlorate - an industrial chemical that can be found in our drinking water
- Fire retardants - found in plastics, fabrics, furniture and baby products
- Lead - found in paint or drinking water
- Mercury - found in the air primarily from burning coal
- Perffluorinated chemicals (PFCs) - found in non-stick cookware
- Organophosphate pesticides - used in farming and food production
- Glycol Ethers - solvents found in paints, cosmetics and cleaning products
How to avoid them?
Although it seems that Endocrine Disrupters can be found almost everywhere, that doesn't mean avoiding them has to be difficult.
Follow these steps to significantly reduce your exposure:
- Choose fresh foods with glass containers and non-BPA cans
- Avoid non-stick pans and look for stainless steel, cast iron, titanium or ceramic
- Buy organic produce when possible (this list tells you what items are worth switching)
- Filter your water when possible
- Vacuum your house with a HEPA filter
Reduce your use of plastics
(Buy wooden or cloth toys, use glass containers, and try these as an alternative to plastic bags)
- Look for paraben-free personal care products (this includes household cleaners).
- Eat fewer animal products
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