Understanding Hormone Altering Chemicals

chemical exposure to hormone altering chemicals

In some ways, the world is a much safer place than it used to be. Violent crime rates are at their lowest levels since 1978, according to the FBI, and thanks to modern medicine, many childhood diseases are a thing of the past and other formerly deadly diseases are largely manageable. However, in other ways, the world has become more dangerous. Water, food and household items are often saturated in chemicals, and these toxins can disrupt your body’s delicately balanced endocrine system and create hormonal disruptions. It’s not always easy to spot problem items, so reading the ingredients list and being aware of potential issues is your best bet against hormone-altering chemicals.

1. BPA
Bisphenol A is used to make thermal receipt paper, line cans and to create some kinds of plastic containers, including those with a three or seven recycling code on them. It can cause damage to the reproductive systems of developing fetuses, infants and children. When possible, have your receipt emailed to you, and choose foods in safer containers. Instead of storing leftovers in plastic in the fridge, choose glass storage containers.

2. Dioxin
Dioxins are common manufacturing byproducts and an endocrine disruptor, but they also occur naturally. Limiting your intake of animal-based items is one of the best ways to avoid the absorption of this chemical, which can dampen your immune response and send your stress hormones soaring.

3. Arsenic
Arsenic can interfere with your body’s digestive system and in high enough levels can kill you. It is commonly found in tap water and in our grocery stores. Atrazine, a pesticide, can also be found in your drinking water. Use a water filter to reduce your family’s risk.

4. Triphenyl phosphate
This plasticizing compound is used in laminated products, varnishes, lacquers and other house hold goods and in nail polish and has been found to disrupt the endocrine and digestive systems even at low doses in both animal and human trials.

5. Mercury and lead
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that is commonly found in wild caught seafood while lead is commonly found in the paint in old homes. If you need to remove old paint, do so carefully following the EPA guidelines, and limit your intake of potentially contaminated fish.

6. Fire retardants
PBDEs are used to coat flammable cloth and materials and protect against fire, but their use is so widespread that these compounds have seeped into the groundwater supplies and contaminated not just water but also food.

7. Bovine somatotropin

Also known as rBGH or rBST, this hormone was designed to boost milk production in dairy cows but has been linked with an increased cancer risk as well as obesity. Avoiding avoiding rBGH and rBST can be as simple as buying organic dairy products.

Many seemingly innocuous household items such as deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, shaving gels, toothpaste, makeup, lotions and sunscreens all contain potentially hazardous ingredients. Reading ingredients and choosing natural products with good additives is a better option, but given how common these toxins are in nature, it can be hard to avoid them altogether