5 CHEMICALS THAT ARE MESSING UP YOUR HORMONES
Chemicals are everywhere. From clothing and plastics to pesticides and genetically modified foods, it can be a challenge to step out of the chemical soup. To help you make sense out of this mess, I’ve summed up some substances that are worth ditching. Keep reading to learn what to look for, where these things are, and what you can use instead!
5 Chemicals that mess up your hormones:
Here are the top 5 chemicals that are harmful to your body and mess your hormones but sadly, they are present all around us!
BPA or Bisphenol A is an environmental estrogen that can damage your endocrine system and lead to major hormonal disorders and even cancer. Found in plastics, canned items, and on up to forty percent of retail thermal receipt paper, BPA is a hormone disruptor.
To reduce your exposure, opt for glass food packaging as much as possible. BPA-free cans and plastics might seem like an okay option, but they too have been found to contain different hormone-disrupting chemicals. NEVER microwave with in plastic even if it says it’s microwave safe as such containers may not be much safer than standard plastics. “Microwaveable” containers may be formulated with supposedly “safer” chemicals. Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) and diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), for instance, have been used to replace di-2-ethylhexylphthalate (DEHP), an endocrine-disrupting phthalate known to cause reproductive toxicity. DINP and DIDP have been touted as safer alternatives, but they, too, have been linked to health concerns, including high blood pressure.2
Dioxins are chemicals that form during industrial processes when chlorine or bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen.
The EPA notes that dioxins:
- Are highly toxic and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, and can interfere with hormones.
- Are found throughout the world in the environment and they accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals
- It is said that 90% of human exposure is through food, the compounds are taken up from the environment by plants, which are then consumed by animals which are ultimately consumed by humans. While 90% may sound like a large number, it refers to 90% of a small amount which is referred to by the World Health Organisation as background exposure. The WHO claims it is not a major concern. Personally I would disagree as dioxins on thier own may not be in amounts to be of concern, but when you add up all the other chemical compounds we are exposed to, the combination of many toxins together may have a significant effect on us as we are not just exposed to dioxins.
While it’s nearly impossible to avoid dioxin exposure, you can reduce your risk of consuming it by by choosing grass fed, organic animal products; as the EWG says that products including meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter are most likely to be contaminated. These are the most nutritrious foods on the planet so I don’t recommend reducing or cutting them out, I just recommend making sure you buy the best quality you can afford. If you can only buy conventional meat, then choose lean cuts as dioxin stores mainly in the fat of an animal.
Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that is naturally occurring. Research shows that mercury impacts the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, adrenal gland, and gonads (testis and ovary); all are hormone-producing and hormone-sensitive organs!
While there are ways to get rid of mercury from the body, it’s best to avoid it in the first place. Most of the mercury in the environment is a result of coal burning, steel production, and some forms of manufacturing. However, mercury is present in some glass thermometers, amalgam dental fillings, and some seafood. According to the EPA, novelty jewelry can contain mercury as well as some thermometers, barometers, switches, thermostats, and electrical switches. One other common source of mercury is in Thimerosal, a preservative in some vaccines. To reduce exposure, insist on mercury-free dental work, steer clear of coal-burning stoves and coal plants and reduce your intake of large fish like tuna, swordfish and king mackerel.
Perchlorate is a component of rocket fuel that is also in fertilizers. It contaminates produce and soil (and groundwater as a result too!) When perchlorate gets into the body, it competes with iodine, which the thyroid needs to make thyroid hormones. In addition to hindering thyroid hormone balance, perchlorate impacts gut health too.
The Environmental Working Group suggests that you can reduce perchlorate in your drinking water by installing a reverse osmosis filter. (You can get help finding one at www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide). It’s pretty much impossible to avoid perchlorate in food, but you can potentially reduce its effects by getting adequate iodine in your diet. Sea vegetables like nori, kelp and dulse or even iodized salt are good sources of iodine.
PFCS are designed to make surfaces non-stick. According to the EWG, “Perfluorochemicals are so widespread and extraordinarily persistent that 99 percent of Americans have these chemicals in their bodies. One particularly notorious compound called PFOA has been shown to be “completely resistant to biodegradation.” In other words, PFOA doesn’t break down in the environment – ever. That means that even though the chemical was banned after decades of use, it will be showing up in people’s bodies for countless generations to come. This is worrisome, since PFOA exposure has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease and high cholesterol, among other health issues. Scientists are still figuring out how PFOA affects the human body, but animal studies have found that it can affect thyroid and sex hormone levels.”
To avoid them, stay away from non-stick cookware like teflon. Ceramic and stainless steal are better options. Also avoid stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.
These are just five chemicals that mess with your hormones. Unfortunately, there are many more. It can get overwhelming if you dig into all the harmful things in the environment, food supply, and in the products we use daily. Do your best to be mindful and reduce your exposure where you can. Take steps to support your body’s innate detoxification system. Eat fresh nutrient dense food that works for you, avoid process and refined foods, sweat daily, ditch negativity, and stress wherever possible. Hormone balance is within reach the more information you arm yourself with.
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