How to Avoid Endocrine Disruptors: 15 Simple Ways to Detoxify Your Hormones

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Learning how to avoid endocrine disruptors in everyday products can help you significantly detoxify your body and your home.

With the increase of synthetic chemicals being used in industrialised farming and the manufacture of everything from couches to all purpose kitchen cleaners to body wash, we are being exposed to more and more potential toxins.

Endocrine disruptors are one category of toxic chemical that you’ll find lurking in many everyday products. Endocrine disruptors mess with your hormones and throw many of your body’s systems out of whack.

Your endocrine system is a collection of glands inside your body that produce hormones. Hormones are responsible not just for growth and development and sexual function. (You know those ‘teenage hormones’ that make your kids go a little bit nuts once they hit 13.) They are also responsible for regulating metabolism, sleep, and mood, and for tissue function.​

That means that endocrine disruptors can have a wide range of adverse effects. Everything from cancer to sleep disorders to fertility problems.​

That means that endocrine disruptors can have a wide range of adverse effects. Everything from cancer to sleep disorders to fertility problems.​

Common Endocrine Disruptors in Everyday Products

  • BPA is used by many companies to line canned goods, and as an ingredient in many plastics.
  • Dioxins form during many industrial processes when chlorine or bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen.
  • Phthalates are commonly found in plastic food containers, plastic wrap made from PVC, children's toys, and personal care products.
  • Perchlorate is a component in rocket fuel, contaminates much of our produce and milk.
  • Atrazine is widely used on the majority of corn crops in the United States, and consequently it’s a pervasive drinking water contaminant.
  • Fire retardents can be found in foam furniture (like couches), carpet padding, and house dust.
  • Arsenic can be found in trace amounts in food and drinking water.
  • Lead is often found in old paint. 
  • Mercury an end up on your plate in the form of mercury-contaminated seafood.
  • PFCs can be found in non-stick cookware and water resistant coatings on clothing and furniture.
  • Organophosphate pesticides have been linked to adverse effects on brain development, behavior and fertility.
  • Glycol Ethers are common solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid and cosmetics.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is a harsh cleanser found in many personal care products.
  • Triclosan is found in antibacterial soaps and other products.
  • Parabens are popular preservatives used in personal care products.

Effects of Endocrine Disruptors on the Body

Endocrine disruptors can disguise themselves as hormones in your body, and can interfere with regular hormone functioning. That means that they can have a wide range of effects on the body. Some of the common effects of endocrine disruption include….

  • Sleep disorders
  • Developmental problems
  • Weaker immune system
  • Reproduction problems, including infertility
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Autism
  • ADHD
  • Neurological problems
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Increased incidence of asthma and allergies

What the Heavy Hitters are Saying About Endocrine Disruptors

The World Health Organization (WHO): According to Professor Ake Bergean, chief editor of the State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and WHO, “Research has made great strides in the last ten years showing endocrine disruption to be far more extensive and complicated than realized a decade ago.”

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS): “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife …. Endocrine disruptors may be found in many everyday products — including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides.”

​American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): In a letter to Congress: “Over the past several decades, tens of thousands of chemicals have entered commerce and the environment, often in extremely large quantities … As children grow and mature, their bodies may be especially vulnerable to certain chemical exposures during critical windows of development. In particular, children’s endocrine systems have demonstrated sensitivity to environmental toxicants at specific stages of growth.

​The Endocrine Society: “The evidence for adverse reproductive outcomes (infertility, cancers, malformations) from exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals is strong, and there is mounting evidence for effects on other endocrine systems, including thyroid, neuroendocrine, obesity and metabolism, and insulin and glucose homeostasis.”

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):The majority of the more than 2,000 chemicals that come onto the market every year do not go through even the simplest tests to determine toxicity.” They recommend that you learn how to avoid endocrine disruptors by learning how to identify them in your everyday products.

How to Avoid Endocrine Disruptors and Detoxify Your Endocrine System

Some common endocrine disruptors are virtually impossible to avoid, because of their widespread use in industrial manufacturing and the contamination of drinking water.

However, you can learn how to avoid endocrine disruptors by making better choices in your cosmetics, household products, and produce choices. Here are some easy ways to avoid endocrine disruptors and drastically reduce your exposure to these toxic chemicals.

  • Reduce your consumption of animal products. Products including meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter are most likely to be contaminated with dioxins.
  • Use fresh or dried ingredients instead of canned whenever possible, or research which companies do not use BPA in lining their canned goods.
  • Buy organic produce whenever possible, or grow your own fruits and vegetables.
  • Use certified organic cleaning products, or make your own using organic essential oils and all natural ingredients.
  • Avoid household cleaners with ingredients such as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME).
  • If you’re going to eat fish, wild salmon and farmed trout are least likely to be contaminated with mercury.
  • Skip non-stick pans as well as stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.
  • Get a HEPA filter for your vaccuum and keep your house clean and well maintained. This can reduce exposure to toxic fire retardents and lead.
  • Get a reverse osmosis water filter to eliminate perchlorate from drinking water.
  • Avoid plastics marked with a “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7.
  • Use bamboo cutting boards instead of plastic. They’re naturally antimicrobial.
  • Swap out your plastic water bottle for a stainless steel or a glass one.
  • Avoid antibacterial products.
  • Buy certified organic personal care products to avoid parabens, phthalates, and triclosan.
  • Don’t buy any products that contain “fragrance” or “parfum” as an ingredient. These almost always contain phthalates (which are endocrine disruptors, and are not listed as an ingredient).​

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I am a Ph.D. candidate at McMaster University, a twin mommy, and a health and wellness entrepreneur. I am in the process of building a sustainable online business to support my family, and helping others to build sustainable businesses themselves. Find me on Google+.

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