What are endocrine disruptors? Simply put, endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the delicate balance of our body’s hormonal systems. These cunning compounds can be found in everyday products like plastics, pesticides, and personal care items. By mimicking or blocking our natural hormones, they disrupt the finely tuned endocrine system, leading to a cascade of potential health problems such as:
Reproductive issues: Endocrine disruptors can cause infertility, miscarriage, birth defects, and disorders of sexual development.
Hormonal imbalances: These chemicals can disrupt the balance of estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormones, leading to various health problems, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid dysfunction.
Neurodevelopmental disorders: Exposure to endocrine disruptors during critical periods of development may contribute to cognitive and behavioral disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder.
Obesity and metabolic disorders: Endocrine disruptors can interfere with hormones that regulate metabolism, appetite, and fat storage, increasing the risk of obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
Immune system dysfunction: Disruption of the endocrine system can compromise the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and autoimmune diseases.
Cardiovascular problems: Some endocrine disruptors have been linked to an increased risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
Cancers: Hormone-sensitive cancers, such as breast, prostate, ovarian, and testicular cancers, can be influenced by endocrine disruptor exposure.
Early puberty: Exposure to endocrine disruptors may lead to early puberty in both boys and girls, which is associated with an increased risk of certain health problems later in life.
Avoiding exposure to endocrine disruptors is essential to protect our well-being and ensure that the intricate hormonal symphony within us plays on harmoniously, free from unwanted interruptions and risks to our health and happiness. Our in depth article on endocrine disruptors can be found here.
Here are 10 simple steps you can take to immediately reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors:
- Avoid processed and packaged foods: Processed and packaged foods are a common source of endocrine disruptors such as BPA and phthalates. Choosing organic, fresh, whole foods instead can help to reduce exposure to these chemicals.
- Don’t microwave food in plastic containers: Microwaving food in plastic containers can cause chemicals to leach into the food. Using glass or ceramic containers instead will reduce exposure.
- Choose glass or stainless-steel containers: Glass or stainless-steel containers are a safer option than plastic containers, they will not leach chemicals and is the preferred option for food storage.
- Use fragrance-free products: Synthetic fragrances in personal care and household products often contain endocrine disruptors. Check your labels, if they contain the word “fragrance, parfum, or perfume” we suggest choosing an alternative product. Your skin is your largest organ.
- Avoid synthetic air fresheners: Synthetic air fresheners can contain endocrine disruptors like phthalates. Using natural air fresheners, such as essential oils or natural candles can help to limit exposure and provide a safer, better smelling environment.
- Be cautious with cleaning products: Many household cleaning products contain endocrine disruptors. Choosing natural cleaning products or making your own cleaning products with ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. Beware of brands that use greenwashing marketing techniques, hiding chemicals under natural looking labels (except for the ingredients label)
- Use natural personal care products: Using natural personal care products can help to limit exposure to endocrine disruptors. Look for products that are made with natural, non-toxic ingredients and free from synthetic fragrances, phthalates, and parabens.
- Choose hormone-free meat and dairy products: Hormones that are used in meat and dairy production can act as endocrine disruptors. Choosing meat and dairy products that are labeled as hormone-free can help to reduce exposure. We always recommend grass feed, organic.
- Avoid non-stick cookware: Non-stick cookware can contain perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), which are endocrine disruptors. They easily get released into your food by scratching the surface with utensils. Using cast iron or stainless-steel cookware is always the best way to go. Throw away that non-stick and never look back.
- Check labels: Checking labels religiously on products can help to identify endocrine disruptors. Look for products that are labeled as BPA-free, phthalate-free, and paraben-free. We like to follow the less is more line of thinking when it comes to ingredients. Your absolute best bet is seeking out organic products.
We’ve put together a great resource for health-conscious individuals to easily find safer product alternatives.
We encourage you to make informed decisions with you and your loved ones’ health.