Endocrine Disruptors. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals. EDCs.
What are these things with the name that makes them seem destructive, troublesome, unruly, unmanageable and out-of-hand?
Our endocrine system is responsible for the production of hormone messengers (for example, oestrogen and testosterone) that regulate various functions of our body by acting on certain tissues and/or organs.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed into our bodies they mimic or interfere with the production, action, or elimination of our naturally present hormones. Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are linked with obesity, infertility, developmental delays, and mood disorders.
EDCs are as destructive, troublesome, unruly and out-of-hand as the name suggests! But they are somewhat manageable – once you know where to look for them and what they are called.
You’ve probably already heard of many common EDCs, like: Bisphenol-A (BPA), BPA-F, BPA-S, PCBs, PBBs, PVC, Pthalates, Parabens, Pesticides & herbicides, Triclosan & anti-bacterials, Dioxins, Resorcinol, and Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFOA).
In this blog I am going to step you through some easy things to avoid or swap out of your diet/lifestyle so you minimise your exposure to EDCs and optimise your environment for better hormonal and general health.
By washing produce you reduce exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals used in packaging (EG BPA) and during processing (EG detergents and packing chemicals to maintain freshness and colour).
Growing your own organic food or buying organic produce reduces your exposure to pesticide and herbicide endocrine disruptors. Avoid buying imported fresh, canned, or frozen produce from countries with poor pesticide regulations. Canned products are usually lined with plastics containing EDCs such as BPA-A, BPA-F or BPA-S.
And when you’ve spent time and effort sourcing fresh, local (or at least Australian grown) food, don’t then cook it endocrine disruptor-laden pans! Choose stainless steel, cast iron, glass, ceramic or PFOA-free non-stick pans. No Teflon, ever! There are a number of excellent brands to choose from such as Scanpan, Solidteknics and Le Crueset. They may be expensive, but they will give you a lifetime of service.
Avoid plastic, especially when it touches your food and water. Plastic food wrap, drink bottles, vinyl flooring, dummies, and soft toys contain BPA and pthalates. Plastic containers, disposable coffee cups, cans, and jar lids are often lined with BPA. Some might say they’re BPA free, but what they don’t openly tell you is that they use BPA-F or BPA-S instead. Both of which are endocirne disrupting chemicals and therefore harmful to your general and hormonal health.
Never heat plastic containers as chemicals will leach into the food or plastic. I’m not just talking microwaving your food that is in plastic containers or has plastic wrap on top/around it, but water in plastic bottles that heats in the car or in transport to shops.
Choose glass, porcelain, or stainless steel for food or drink containers. Think about what your food is stored in the pantry. I use big recycled jars (we have a pickle habit in our house that come in 2L jars) or Mason jars (purchased in bulk online) to hold my nuts, seeds, flours and grains. Beeswax wraps are a widely available alternative to plastic food wrap. Affordably priced glass food storage containers are available from Ikea and Kmart now. They have plastic lids, but if you don’t have food touching the lids, then it is ok.
Avoiding plastic products with the number 3 or 7 in the recycling triangle will reduce exposure to BPA and pthalates.
Go natural when choosing skin care and makeup.
Selecting fragrance-free, natural (EG mineral-based) cosmetics, personal care, washing powder/liquid, and household cleaning products avoids pthalates, triclosan, resorcinol, UV filters, and parabens. All endocrine disrupting chemicals. Check out your local health store for the latest in natural skincare make-up products. There are so many! I use jojoba or rosehip oil as a moisturiser and jojoba oil on tissue or cloth, followed by plain water to wash make-up off. Remember that the health of our skin comes from within – the food, water, and nutrients we absorb form the basis for our hormones and healthy, happy skin.
The Environmental Working Group website allows you to search by cosmetic and personal care products and get a rating on their body-friendliness. https://www.ewg.org/
Ethique beauty bars or castille soap are suitable forcleaning hair, face, and body. Use natural soap and water for your hands. Avoid triclosan and anti-bacterial soaps like they are the plague. Research shows these decimate your natural microbiome and may be linked with auto-immune and other chronic illnesses. They’re no more effective than regular soap anyway!
Use essential oils (in a carrier oil like jojoba) for perfume. There are many people making these and selling online or in health food shops. This is a great option if you don’t know much about essential oils and which ones can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
Deodorants options include Three Mamas, No Pong, WooHoo and Black Chicken.
Use sunscreen with the physical blockers like zinc oxide. Wot Not brand is easy to apply and kid-friendly. EDCs in sunscreen include Octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC), Ethylhexyl methoxy cinnamate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC), Benzophene 3.
Furnishings, flooring, curtains, and waterproof clothing contain flame retardants, PFOAs (stain/water-resistant coatings), and dioxins that take years to stop off-gassing. It’s almost impossible to avoid the chemicals that come with our furniture unless you choose to only purchase secondhand. To help keep the air clean in your home use bathroom exhaust fans, door/s, and windows to ventilate air each day. Weekly vacuuming, dusting (by wiping surfaces with a damp cloth), and yearly cleaning of air-conditioner and heater filters and vents further reduces EDCs in the air.
Think about what you are spraying into the air of your home when using cleaning products and air fresheners. Choose air fresheners with only pure essential oils in them – skip the synthetic fragrances. Nature Direct cleaning products use only essential oils and plant-derived surfactants. Find your local distributor online. Koh is another option for greener cleaning. You can access a $10 off voucher here: https://mbsy.co/ekoworx/
Filter drinking water using reverse osmosis or a three cartridge system to avoid dioxins, pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants. Three cartridge systems should include a 1.0 micron pleated sediment pre-filter and a 1.0 micron (or less) activated carbon block filter.
More information about EDCs, allergens, other toxins like electromagnetic fields, and how to reduce your exposure may be found at the Endocrine Society’s website, www.endocrine.org; in the books ‘Healthy Home Healthy Family’ by Nicole Bijlsma and ‘Low Tox Life’ by Alexx Stuart; or at the National Institute of Health Sciences website, www.niehs.nih.gov/health/
Not sure where to start, tried to avoid endocrine disruptors but still having period problems, feeling angry, irritable or tired? Is it time to invest in your health and wellness? Book your free discovery call now to see how I can support you to obtain your best health.