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For most of us, our daily lives include a lot of products. From the skincare we use in the morning, to cleaning products and food we interact with throughout the day, to our beauty products at night—the list goes on and on.
And while many people are aware that some ingredients in these products can cause harm (like carcinogens), they may not be aware that several common ingredients can actually lead to endocrine disruption.
Your hormones are like the orchestra conductor of your body. They're responsible for telling all the other cells what to do, and they control your moods, metabolism, and more.
Here are 3 common chemicals that can disrupt your hormones, plus ways you can avoid them!
Phthalates are a family of chemicals used in plastic production, cosmetics, fragrances and other consumer products. They're found in many personal care products such as lotions, scented candles, shampoos and perfumes.
Phthalates can disrupt the endocrine system—the hormone-producing glands—in several ways: by mimicking natural hormones; by blocking or interfering with their action; or by altering the way they're produced or eliminated from the body.
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Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in many plastics and can be found in water bottles and other plastic containers. It's also used in the lining of metal cans for food and beverages. According to studies conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), BPA exposure has been linked to reproductive problems, such as a decrease in semen quality and an increase in miscarriage risk.
BPA is known to disrupt hormones by mimicking estrogenic compounds found naturally in the body. This means that it alters the production or effects of other hormones like testosterone and thyroid hormone, which can lead to metabolic disorders such as obesity or diabetes—and even cause cancer.
Flame retardants were first developed in the 1950s by a scientist named Rachel Carson who was worried about synthetic pesticides getting into the environment and causing harm to wildlife. She invented a chemical called penta-BDE that could be added to plastics without burning them up too quickly—and it worked great! So great, in fact, that penta-BDE was soon being used everywhere from furniture cushions to electronics cases—and it's still being used today.
The problem with this chemical is that it doesn't just protect against fire; it also acts as an endocrine disruptor.
Flame retardant chemicals are found in a wide variety of household products. Furniture, carpets, electronics, and children's toys can all contain flame retardants.
These toxic chemicals interfere with your endocrine system, which is responsible for producing hormones that control many functions in your body. Hormone disruption has been linked to cancer and reproductive disorders such as infertility, low sperm count and decreased libido.
The best way to avoid flame retardants is to always check clothing labels for the presence of FR or PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers). If you're not sure if an item contains these substances, read its label carefully before making your purchase.
Avoiding these chemicals can help restore hormonal balance in the body. Here are some tips:
Use non-toxic cleaning products and cosmetics. Avoid products that contain parabens, phthalates and BPA.
Check labels for known hormone disruptors like triclosan (in antibacterial soaps) and bisphenol-A (in plastics). If you're not sure whether a product contains hormone disruptors, use the EWG's Skin Deep database to check it out!
With so many chemicals being used in the production of everyday items, it can seem overwhelming to think about how you can avoid them. Fortunately, there are simple steps to take that will reduce your exposure to the worst offenders like phthalates, BPA and flame retardants.
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