In 1996, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced the US to its Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP). This branch is responsible for determining the impact industrial and agricultural chemicals, either directly or indirectly, has on humans.
Most of you did not know that was a thing, right? Well, it is.
Using a two-tiered approach, the EDSP screens pesticides, chemicals, and environmental contaminants for their potential effect on estrogen, androgen, and thyroid hormone systems—such as what happens to our drinking water when herbicides run off plants and into streams or when children drink from plastic laced with BPA.
As most of America finds themselves cleansing and sterilizing their homes in the wake of COVID-19, take this time to do another purge that rids your home of damaging endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Now is the time to ask yourself: Is my home safe? How toxic am I?
Endocrine-disruptors (EDCs) are both natural and man-made chemicals that mimic naturally occurring hormones and interfere with signals in the body. They are found in everyday products, including some plastic bottles and containers, liners of metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. Some are slow to break-down, which makes them potentially hazardous over time. Since 1996, we’ve come a long way in regulating the chemical presences and excesses of these dangerous compounds, but there’s still a large gray area and a lot of work to be done.
Endocrine Disruptors interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects. Research has discovered links between endocrine-disrupting chemicals and all kinds of health problems, including but not limited to:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Learning Disabilities
- Cognitive Damage
- Birth Defects
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Decreased Sperm Quality
- Kidney Disease
- Early Puberty
- Heart Disease
- High Cholesterol
- Chronic Inflammation
- Thyroid Disease
Common Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
We are exposed to endocrine disruptors through diet, air, skin, and water. So, what’s the best defense? Awareness! People in-the-know tend to avoid endocrine-disruptors as much as possible. The good news is that you can be one of these people without moving into a mud hut on your own giant parcel of land. I know I don’t have time to build my own house using materials I made. Knowing me, it wouldn’t be a very sturdy house. So for people like me who prefer to actually purchase life’s necessities, thanks to information being more accessible, avoiding these hazardous chemicals has gotten easier. Check out this handy Dirty Dozen list of common hormone disrupting chemicals, what they are, and how to avoid them.
As you can see, EDCs might be just about everywhere and lurk in every corner of your home, but you can make simple changes to reduce your load of endocrine disruptors and what you pass on to your children.
The Urban Monk has given us a few tips to consciously avoid them…
- Stop Buying Canned Food: In the US, the epoxy coating on cans are commonly lined with bisphenol A (BPA). Its purpose is to prevent rust and corrosion and to make the cans sturdier, but the chemicals also contaminate the food. Find your pre-packaged foods in glass, frozen, or start from scratch by pre-cooking and storing it in a safe container on your weekly meal-prep day.
- Avoid Using Non-stick Pans: How many times do we need to hear this before it sticks (see what I did there)? Non-stick pans contain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). One strain has been catalogued as a “forever-chemical,” as in the kind that never biodegrades. PFCs are so popular in everyday materials because they were designed to resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. They have been linked to high cholesterol as well as effecting human growth, development, and reproduction. Try using stainless steel, cast iron, or ceramic pans as an alternative.
- Take Inventory of Your Cleaning Products, Personal Care Products, and Cosmetics: Using the Dirty Dozen guide above, pull all of the cleaning products out of your cabinet or wherever you keep them. Next, pull out your perfumes, nail polish, shampoo, body wash, conditioner, moisturizers, and anything else you regularly apply to your body. It’s likely that you’ll find a lot of EDC’s in those products. TOSS THEM. For cleaning alternatives, Forum Health Clarkston’s already got you covered in this helpful guide. For beauty products, check out Primal Life Organics and Now Solutions.
- Run Couch Prospects Through the EDC Checklist: Even sofas contain EDCs in the form of flame-retardants and water-resistant PFOAs. If you already own your couch and find that it contains these compounds, consider covering it with a thick fabric sofa covering. If you’re in the market for a new couch, stay away from those components. Again, do your research and refer to the Dirty Dozen page to compare as you shop.
- Dust and Vacuum Regularly: EDCs can actually build up in the dust in your home! Yep. That means, when you skip that step on chore day, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable as you breathe in, touch, or ingest dust. In other words, you’re taking in the pesticide pyralastrobin, the flame-retardant TBPDP, and the plasticizer DBP. All of these EDCs have been linked to weight gain because even the smallest amount has been shown to multiply fat cells. It doesn’t stop there. Dust buildup is particularly harmful to humans during phases of intense development, such as pregnancy, early childhood, and puberty, due to the power EDCs have over crucial hormones needed for growth.
- Replace Your Plastic Wherever You Can: It’s so easy to struggle with this step. We all do. Plastic is everywhere and it’s so convenient. We store our food in it with plastic baggies for our sandwiches and plastic tupperware containers. We have plastic on our phones, water bottles, and plastic bottles for our beauty products…I could go on and on, but you get the point. Wherever possible, swap your plastics out for glass, stainless steel, and beeswax cloth. Take inventory of your child’s toys and try to replace the plastic toys with wooden ones. NEVER microwave plastic—those EDCs will ooze right into your food.
Purge your pantry and fridge with Dr. Axe’s handy guide:
- Avoid processed and refined foods: Besides the many food additives and chemicals that processed and refined foods contain, the lack of fiber and extra sugar overwhelm your colon and liver so that circulating hormones are reabsorbed rather than eliminated.
- Avoid pesticides and herbicides: Buying organic can limit your intake of endocrine disruptors in and on fruits and vegetables.
- Buy pasture-raised animal products: Your best bet is to connect with a local farmer and learn about their farming practices. The ultimate goal is for the animal to to eat a natural, pesticide- and GMO-free diet. If that’s not possible, look for “Grassfed” products. When it comes to eggs, remember that “free-range” or “cage-free” doesn’t necessarily mean that the chickens have the freedom to roam, pick at grub, and do what chickens do. Pasture-raised and organic are the gold standard. “Natural” means nothing, so don’t trust that on the label.
- Eat detox veggies: The more fresh vegetables you eat, the lower you’re eating on the food chain. Toxins accumulate in the tissues of animals. Fresh veggies have a whole host of health benefits, as well as the ability to deflect excess estrogens. Cruciferous veggies, such as broccoli and cabbage, contain flavones and indoles that are particularly effective at battling estrogen excess.
- Buy local: DDT was banned as a pesticide in the U.S., but we still produce it and sell it to other countries. Much of the produce on our supermarket shelves comes from overseas. Megafarms in the U.S. regularly use estrogen in their feed for cattle, pigs and chickens. Local farm methods are more transparent and accountable than big industry. They’re often a safer bet even if they haven’t been certified organic.
*For more information on clean eating, call our office to ask about our weekly, in-person grocery store class!
At this point, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Slow down and take your EDC purge in steps and phases. Are you worried about health problems EDCs may have already caused you and their lasting effects? Here at Forum Health Clarkston, we can address those concerns with our focused, high-impact detox program. Are you unsure if you even have a concern? Take our quiz to get a better idea!
Be a citizen in the know. Question and research everything you and your family may encounter—starting within your own home. It’s absolutely vital that you are aware and taking steps to mitigate the damage done by EDCs. It’s not too late. At Forum Health Clarkston, we work to give your body the right environment to heal itself. It can be done. Why wait? For more information, come to one of our monthly Meet and Greets or sign up to receive our newsletter for updates on events, sales, and for health tips and tricks.
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