Endocrine disruptors are chemicals known to interfere with development and reproduction, and they may cause serious neurological and immune system effects. These chemicals mimic your body’s hormones including male and female sex hormones, as well as thyroid hormones. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals may block hormonal signals in your body or interfere with the way the hormones or receptors are made or controlled. Thus, normal hormone levels may be altered or the way hormones navigate through the body can be affected.
Unfortunately, many common household products are a source of these endocrine disruptors, and we are exposed to them on a daily basis. Although it would be nearly impossible to avoid all of these chemical disruptors, you can definitely limit your family’s exposure in the following ways:
- Eat mostly fresh, raw whole foods. Processed and packaged foods are typically loaded with BPA and phthalates.
- Purchase products that come in glass bottles instead of plastic or cans and store foods and beverages in glass. Unfortunately, even “BPA-free” plastics leach other types of endocrine-disrupting chemicals equally as bad as BPA.
- Never use plastic containers in a microwave (the dangers of using a microwave is a whole other topic!). The heat will increase the release of chemicals from the plastic.
- Always use glass baby bottles for your infants (and DO NOT heat up their bottles in a microwave!).
- Believe it or not, many cash register receipts are a source of BPA. Limit your contact and speak to the store manager about switching to BPA-free receipts.
- Buy products that are earth and animal-friendly, sustainable, certified organic and GMO-free. Whether it’s food, personal care products, paint, carpeting, etc.
- Choose toys made from natural materials to avoid plastic chemicals like phthalates and BPA/BPS, especially items your child may put in his or her mouth.
- Use natural cleaning products, or make your own. Vinegar and water is a multi-purpose cleaner and can be used on windows, walls, floors, and so much more!
- Use non-toxic personal care products (shampoos, toothpastes, antiperspirants, cosmetics, etc.) Check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website to find non-toxic alternatives.
- Avoid using vinyl flooring and replace your vinyl shower curtain with a fabric one.
- Replace feminine hygiene products (tampons and sanitary pads) with safer alternatives. Testing on these products indicate they may contain toxic chemicals.
- Look for fragrance-free products: phthalates are often used to help the product hold its fragrance longer. Artificial fragrance can contain tons of potentially toxic chemicals. Avoid fabric softeners, air fresheners and scented candles for the same reason.
- Filter your home’s tap water. You may also want to use an alternative to PVC pipes for your water supply.
- Avoid using pesticides and herbicides around your home.
- Avoid any products containing triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent found in consumer products, including soaps, detergents, toys, and surgical cleaning treatments. Triclosan is also an endocrine-disrupting chemical that can negatively impact thyroid hormone levels, estrogen levels, and more.