I’ve been trying to clean up our act at home and stop the use of harmful chemicals in our cleaning supplies and beauty products- so many new words have been thrown at me and I’m determined to learn more without feeling like I should live in a bubble! The phrase Endocrine Disrupter is something I hear a lot about and since I have 2 young girls, of course I’m interested. So let’s break it down. The Endocrine system is made up of glands, hormones and receptors. Hormones help to regulate many biological processes in our body such as blood sugar control (insulin), growth and function of the reproductive organs, overall body growth (growth hormones) and the production of energy (metabolism). There have been numerous studies on lab animals and fish and through human epidemiology (the study of patterns and causes of human diseases and public health issues in a specific population) that have shown that certain chemicals have been found to “disrupt” these biological processes. This disruption will lead to adverse health issues such as developmental malformations, reproductive problems, nervous and immune system issues and cancer risk. According to EWG.org (the Environmental Working Group), the following 12 are the worst hormone altering chemicals to stay clear of (I have a lot of work to do)!:
- BPA- avoid canned foods, plastics marked with PC or polycarbonate or recycling # 7 and thermal receipts!
- Dioxin- This one is tough to avoid but eating fewer animal products can help. Try doing #meatlessmondays!
- Atrazine- To avoid this buy organic produce and filter your water.
- Phthalates- avoid some plastic food containers, plastic wrap, any products labelled with added “fragrance.”
- Perchlorate- Drink filtered water and use iodized salt.
- Fire Retardants- use a vacuum with a Hepa filter. Be careful when reupholstering furniture and replacing old carpet. Passing better toxic chemical laws will help prevent this chemical getting into products.
- Lead- get rid of crumbling paint that may contain lead (carefully and professionally), use a good water filter. Also, note, children with healthy diets absorb less lead!
- Arsenic (scary, right?)- Get a good water filter.
- Mercury- Eat sustainable seafood like wild salmon and farmed trout.
- Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCS): don’t use non-stick pans, avoid water resistant coating on clothing and furniture.
- Organophosphate Pesticides- Buy organic. Check out this guide on the worst foods to buy organic.
- Glycol Ethers- Found in cleaning supplies, check out this list to find good cleaning supply suggestions.
Phew! A great way to avoid all of these chemicals is to buy and support Beautycounter, a clean beauty company with a mission to provide safer and healthy beauty products and to get Congress to start banning the use of harmful chemicals in the beauty industry. Several of these chemicals are listed on their “never list” meaning they will never be used in Beautycounter’s products. Europe has banned 1400 and the United States has banned only about 11!