Today, we are exposed to over 80,000 chemicals that pollute our air, our drinking water, the food we eat, beauty products and many other household products that we use every day. Chronic exposures to these chemicals can wreak havoc on our bodies and cause a long list of adverse health conditions. Since most of our food and products are full of these chemicals, it is so much harder to avoid being negatively affected by them than it is to feel safe using them. So what kind of chemicals am I talking about and what can you do to limit your exposure?
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
The endocrine system is made up of mostly glands that produce hormones and works with the nervous system to create the control systems of the body. From the time we are born until the time we die, hormones control and regulate basically everything in our bodies. They control and regulate reproduction, metabolism and energy balance, growth and development, our body's defenses (response to stress), and general homeostasis, which is water nutrient and electrolyte balance of the blood. Endocrine disrupting chemicals disrupt this in many ways by either mimicking a natural hormone in your body, blocking the effects of a hormone from certain receptors, or stimulating or inhibiting the endocrine system which causes an overproduction or underproduction of hormones in the body. Pregnant women and children are the most at risk when exposed to these chemicals because it can negatively affect development and even cause miscarriage. Endocrine disrupting chemicals are persistent pollutants that can cause a wide range of adverse health conditions including neurological disorders, ADHD, Autism, obesity, migraines, reproductive issues, endometriosis, PCOS, suppressed immune system, kidney problems, early onset of puberty, breast cancer, and so much more.
You are not safe from these chemicals unless you are actively reading labels for the products you use and limiting your exposure.
Have you ever thought, well if someone made this product and was able to sell it then it must not be too harmful. Isn't the government regulating our products to make sure they are safe? While we do have the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulating the production and distribution of these products it is very hard for them to put a ban on some of these chemicals. The problem with endocrine disrupting chemicals is it is very hard to do research studies on them linking them to adverse health conditions such as breast cancer when there are so many other factors that could be involved. This makes it very hard to put a ban on these chemicals and society ends up using them for long periods of time before it gets taken off the market.
The non-profit research organization, The Environmental Working Group (EWG), lists their dirty dozen endocrine disrupting chemicals so you know what to look out for.
EWG's Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
10. Perfluorinated Chemicals
11. Organophosphate pesticides
Okay, okay so those are a bunch of scary words and you want to know how they are in your every day products...
Most Common Exposures to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals:
1. Conventionally Grown Produce - filled with pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics
2. Personal Care and Beauty Products - make-up, shampoos, conditioners, hair products, nail polish,
lotions, sunscreens, tampons, sanitary products, etc...
3. Home Cleaning Products - commercial cleaning products are full of toxic chemicals.
4. Non-Stick Cookware - created and covered in many toxic chemicals that leach into our food.
5. Meat and Dairy Products - loaded up on hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals.
6. Cash Register Receipts - contaminated with BPA and can transfer onto skin and other items.
7. Drinking water - your drinking water may be contaminated with atrazine, arsenic, perchlorate, lead, and
disturbing levels of fluoride.
Tips on How to Avoid Them:
1. Eat organic, non-GMO foods - also when eating meats, eat also grass-fed and when consuming seafood,
eat wild-caught fish over farmed.
2. Drink and eat out of glass containers - avoid plastics.
3. Do NOT buy canned food unless it has a label stating it is certified BPA free lining.
4. Skip taking the receipt - receipts contain high amounts of BPA and can easily contaminate your skin.
5. Use natural beauty products free of parabens, phthalates, BPA, fragrance, and other toxic chemicals.
6. Swap out your non-stick cookware with ceramic, stainless steel, or glass cookware.
7. Use a diva cup for your menstrual cycle instead of toxic tampons and pads. Or buy organic ones.
8. Drink high-quality filtered water - I love my Berkey filter! Great investment and saves money!
9. Avoid artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, or other synthetic fragrances -
use essential oils instead!
10. Use non-toxic home cleaning products or even make your own! It can be very easy and can save you a
lot of money!