Chemicals and metals have been known to be dangerous to our health for centuries, so why then do companies keep putting them in our food, cosmetics, fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. More importantly, why do WE keep buying and using them?
An endocrine disruptor is a chemical or metal that affects our body in many ways. Endocrine Disruptors may act like a hormone, alter our internal production of hormones (increasing or decreasing), turn one hormone into another, tell a cell to prematurely die, interfere with hormone signaling, bind to essential hormones and/or accumulates in organs. How is that for disruptive!!!
The top 12 Endocrine Disruptors, also know as the dirty dozen, are as follows: BPA (Bisphenol-A), Dioxin, Atrazine, Phthalate’s, perchlorate, polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs (Fire retardants), lead, mercury, arsenic, perfluorinated chemicals, organophosphate pesticides and glycol ethers. You can download a brochure from The Environmental Working Group – (www.ewg.org ) with more details on each one and how to avoid them. I highly recommend everyone spends more time on this website. EWG has been educating the public on the damaging effects of chemicals and offering solutions to avoid them since 1992. The detrimental effects of lead and mercury have been documented for centuries, however more recently they have been associated with endocrine disruption including infertility.
Many are familiar with BPA and phthalates for they are prolific in plastic containers and children’s toys and have been banned in many products and associated with increased risk of cancer. One trick you can do to decrease production of plastics is to carry a stainless steel mug to use for tea, coffee or water. You can store leftover food in glass containers rather than plastic. Another resource available to decrease the use of plastic in your home is BioBags, (http://biobagusa.com/), which are biodegradable and made from plants, vegetable oils and compostable polymers. They are available on line in the form of trash, compost, and doggy waste bags.
If you are still not convinced of the severity of this problem and the need to have all toxic chemicals banned from use, take a look at the World Health Organization (WHO) publication which was co-produced with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) called “State of the Science of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.”
(http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/endocrine/en/). They reviewed the research and determined at least 800 chemicals are known or expected to affect the endocrine system and the increase in the occurrence of diseases over the past few decades is not due to genetic factors, therefore is due to our environment. The research shows these chemicals increase the risk for cancer (breast, thyroid, prostate), developmental effects on the nervous system/brain, attention deficit hyperactivity in children, non-descended testicles in young men, developmental effects on the nervous system in children, and infertility in humans and animals, to name a few.
So get to work and remove as many of these chemicals from your house and life as possible. You are the consumer and therefore if you stop purchasing products made from these endocrine disruptors, the companies will stop making them.
Stephany Porter, ND, FABNO
The Bodhi Clinic