Let’s talk about Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
So I thought my next post was going to be about uses for Tea Tree and Lavender oil, but then something else caught my attention. This week I attended a meeting that really got me thinking about the chemicals that I put into my body and how they get there.
SAM’s is dedicated to helping you live a healthy life, and giving you the information needed to accomplish this. So that’s where we’re going today.
There’s a lot of pressure out there to keep your family safe and healthy. One camp tells you to only eat organic, limit screen time, only use natural products, and don’t feed your kids refined sugar or too many carbs. On the other side there are those who live their lives by the mantra, “I’m going to die anyway, might as well enjoy the ride.” Wherever you find yourself in this spectrum, it is important to think about and be aware of the substances you allow yourself and your family to come in contact with.
I have a slightly different interest, because I struggle with PCOS. If you don’t know what that is, it stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I’ll spare you the dirty details, but if you want to learn more go here.
I know that PCOS sufferers are especially susceptible to endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDC’s. But they’re bad for everyone. What are they, exactly?
The most concise explanation I have found comes from the World Wildlife Federation: “Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are synthetic chemicals that interfere with naturally produced hormones, the body’s chemical messengers, that control how an organism develops and functions.”
EDC’s are believed to contribute to thyroid disorders, altered sexual development, infertility, cancer, and endometriosis in animals and humans.
Do me a favor: Go pull your favorite beauty product and your favorite fragrance off the shelf or out of the cupboard. Find the ingredients list. Your makeup likely contains paraben, while your fragrance likely contains phthalates. Since your skin is the largest organ in the body, do you really want to be slathering it with hormone-altering chemicals? I know, it’s pretty gross when I put it that way, right? I’m not judging, I’ve been doing it for years myself.
Ok, so we have the basics of an EDC, but what are some examples of these chemicals? **Note: This is NOT a complete list **
- Bisphenol-A (BPA)
- I think we’ve all heard about this one, it’s mostly found in plastic and can leach into your food/beverage stored in certain containers.
- Found in makeup, moisturizer, and fragrance.
- This one sounds pretty harmless, right? Almost like dioxide? As in Carbon dioxide? But there’s a big difference, get ready for a little chemistry lesson: Dioxin is short for “Polychlorinated dibenzoDIOXIN” or PCDD. Not the same as Carbon Dioxide, as you can see. PCDD is toxic and contains levels of chlorine. PolyCHLORINATED. See? How toxic the dioxin is, depends on how many chlorine atoms and where they sit in the chemical compound.
- This is commonly found in fish, meat and dairy products. YUM!
- Found in nail polish
- PVC products
- Largely found in the water supply.
- Organophosphate pesticides
- Pretty self-explanatory. Pesticides end up on our food and in our water.
- Perfluorinated Compounds (PFC’s)
- Non-stick cooking surfaces
- Water resistant/flame retardant apparel, carpeting, furniture, etc.
According to the World Health Organization “Human exposure to EDCs occurs via ingestion of food, dust and water, via inhalation of gases and particles in the air, and through the skin. EDCs can also be transferred from the pregnant woman to the developing fetus or child through the placenta and breast milk.”
“But Monica…” you are saying to yourself, “I can’t even pronounce half of these. You lost me at Phthalates, AND you’re saying they’re in EVERYTHING…” It’s ok. We’ll go over how to minimize your risk of exposure.
Since EDC’s are found in food, air, water, dust, and gas, it is not realistic to think you can cut them completely out of your life. This post also isn’t meant to cause fear, but rather to get you thinking about the items in your life and whether or not you know where they came from, and what you are allowing in your home.
I mean, you wouldn’t let a Decepticon in, so why aren’t you questioning the strange products you bring in? You didn’t make them, don’t know where they came from, and don’t really know what they contain, without a lot of Googling. Do some research.
So how can we minimize exposure?
- Avoid soap, lotion, etc. with “fragrance” or “parfum” on the packaging. These likely contain paraben and/or benzophenon, along with other substances we didn’t cover.
- Wash your hands
- Think of all the packaging, substances, and not to mention germs that you touch in a day. Wash it off. With unscented soap.
- Think about plastic. It can contain both BPA and Phthalates. Opt for glass bottles or storage containers when possible.
- If switching all of your storage to glass isn’t feasible (we get it, don’t break your budget), avoid microwaving food in your plastic containers to help prevent chemicals from leaching into your food.
- Think about your kids’ toys; opt for wood or cloth when possible. Toys go in your kids’ mouth. Do some research about where your toys are coming from.
- Think about buying organic/local products and produce as much as possible (again, don’t break the bank). Pesticides can wreak havoc on your system and cause long-term health issues. If organic isn’t in your budget, wash your fruits and vegetables before consumption.
- Filter your water. Many filters on the market advertise that they will filter out Atrazine. Do some research and find the right one for your home.
- Check your labels. Cosmetics, personal care products, clothing. Know what you are putting in and on your body.
- Utilize a vacuum with a HEPA filter to cut down on the dust, allergens, and contaminants lying around your house.
I know this post was long, and parts of it were technical, and maybe scary, but hopefully not boring. The takeaway is: Read your labels!!
Education is such a key part of every aspect of our lives, please let it be part of your health and wellness. SAM’s aims to provide you with safe, natural products for your home and family. If you have questions, are looking for a product, or have no idea where to start on all of this please contact us. We would love to get you pointed in the right direction.
Thanks for reading,
SAM’s Social Media Marketing Manager