Hormones are chemicals within the body that send messages around the body. Hormone disruptor chemicals or endocrine disrupting chemicals(EDC) are chemicals made outside our body that can block ,mimic or basically disrupt normal hormonal signals. This can cause wrong signally within the body that can lead to disease or poor health conditions. Good hormonal function is so important to the body’s good health.
I think this is a really important topic as hormones play such an important role in so many of our human functions that we take for granted. Even the smallest of exposure for the wrong person at the wrong time can have significant and sometimes permanent impact on health.
Hormones play a role in conception, gestation, sexual development, thyroid function metabolism, reproduction, sugar/insulin balance, stress, anxiety, adrenal function, sleep patterns , immune system etc. Hormones are like all the instruments working together to make the orchestra of the body functions.
EXPOSURE TO HORMONE DISRUPTORS
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals can be found all around us from cosmetics, plastics, deodorants, perfumes, pesticides ,flame retardants. They can be in clothing, toys, plastic packaging, sunscreens, furniture, building materials, paints, automobiles and packaging.
Some stay in our body for ages while others are eliminated quite quickly. The most critical times to keep exposure down is fetal development, childhood and puberty. It is extremely important to educate parents, people planning to be parents and teenagers about EDC. However it really is important for everyone for keeping healthy and for prevention of cancer/dementia.
There are thousands of Hormone Disrupting Chemicals and too hard to list them all but you can look them up on TedX The Endocrine Disruption Exchange.
Chemicals that may disrupt your endocrine system
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins found in many plastic products, including food storage containers, news papers, credit card paper receipts. Many take away food plastic containers have it and it is worse if heated. Never heat food in take away food containers in the microwave. Check baby milk bottles. The scrunchier any plastic bottle is the worse it is.
Dioxins are a by-product of some manufacturing processes, such as herbicide production and paper bleaching, and are released into the air from waste burning and wildfires.
PFAS (per- and polyfuoroalkyl substances) are a large group of chemicals used widely in industrial applications, such as firefighting foam, non-stick pans, paper, and textile coatings.
Parabens - The concern with these chemicals is that scientific studies suggest that parabens can disrupt hormones in the body and harm fertility and reproductive organs, affect birth outcomes, and increase the risk of cancer. They are found in moisturizers, face and skin cleaners, sunscreens, deodorants, shaving gels, toothpastes, makeup and many other products.
Triclosan is a synthetic pesticide that's often added to detergents and soaps and personal care products like deodorants and toothpastes because it has antibacterial properties. Research has shown that triclosan can alter hormones in animals and might contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs in turn being harmful to the immune system. Detergents and antiperspirants and toothpastes can contain these, but the good news is many companies have banned it.
Phthalates are used to make plastics more flexible; they are found in some food packaging, cosmetics, fragrances, children’s toys, and medical devices. Phthalates are responsible for the smooth, silky feeling of application but have been linked to several health issues and are considered to be endocrine disrupting and are a known carcinogen. Once phthalates are absorbed by the body, they act as estrogens, which not only conflict with your hormonal function, but cause a variety of complications.
Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring substances in plants that have hormone-like activity, such as genistein and daidzein in soy products like tofu and soymilk. I worry about the estrogen in grains fed to grain fed animals in farming. This is why I encourage organic meats/fish/chicken and grass-fed animals with any meats eaten.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are used to make flame retardants for products such as furniture foam and carpet.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are used to make electrical equipment, such as transformers, and are in hydraulic fluids, heat transfer fluids, lubricants, and plasticizers.
Propylene glycol is a petroleum-based substance that is used to create a soft and slick consistency. Ethylene Glycol is worse. It’s a low-cost ingredient with a versatile function, which is why it is so common in self-care products. It acts as a penetration enhancer, so if paired with harmful chemicals, it can increase their absorption. Propylene glycol is eliminated from the body within a few hours, so it does not bioaccumulate in the body. Also, an issue is triethylene glycol which is similar.
Gas and air Pollutants - Literature also suggested that some of the air pollutants may affect reproduction, development, and neurophysiological function and therefore hormones. These chemicals includes aromatics (i.e., BTEX refers to the chemicals benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene), several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and mercury. This is an issue in most perfumes, aftershave and spray deodorants. Toluene can be in paints and nail polish, not only bad for hormones but also for the brain.
Solution and advice is to read your labels well before using and before buying products.
Some issues with endocrine disruptors are:
Perimenopause and menopausal issues
The really good news is there are so many companies becoming more and more aware of these issues and producing products that are safe to clean with and for personal use and furniture and toys. The more we can educate family members about this the better.
Educate and please make good choices and support the products that will support your health now and your health in the future.
Ref: 1.The Endocrine disruption exchange TedX
3.Rick Smith / Bruce Lourie. Book – Slow Death by Rubber Duck