How to Avoid Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
The endocrine system can best be described as a chemical messaging system that carries essential hormones to various glands throughout the body. These glands then release the hormones to their target organs. When this vital system does not work properly the consequences can be dire. Diseases such as diabetes, obesity, chronic renal failures, thyroid-related conditions, Addington's disease, hypertension, some types of cancer and many other potentially life threatening conditions. You definitely do not want your endocrine system to be disrupted!
What Are Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals?
These are chemicals that cause your endocrine system to malfunction. There is an astonishing array of products that either contain these toxins or that release them. Many types of food packaging, propylene glycol, polypropylene plastics, most pesticides and soy-derived products all contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The list is long, very long, in fact.
How to Avoid Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
With so many products containing potentially harmful endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) you may feel helpless against this massive onslaught. Fear not, however! There is much that you can do to reduce your contact with EDC’s and get them out of your system.
- Read your labels. One of the most common EDC’s can be found in certain types of plastic. Read the labels of the products that you buy. It needs to say that it is BPA-free (Bisphenol A is that nasty chemical that will do you harm). BPA’s are found everywhere; just think about it for a second. They are found in furniture upholstering, plastic bottles, packaging, as liners for canned foods, materials used for clothing, cosmetics and numerous other products. It is your right to ask: “Is this product BPA-free?”
- Wash your hands. You will be amazed at how many chemical residues can be found on your hands at any given time. So, wash your hands regularly, especially before you eat anything. Mind you, wash your hands every time you worked with some toxins, such as detergents and cleaning products. Oh yes, and if you use cosmetics, wash your face and pay close attention to the very next hint listed below.
- Think twice about fragrances. Everything seems to be available in various flavours these days. Lovely, isn’t it? The harsh truth is that most of these flavoured products contain EDC’s. Flavoured detergents, soaps, topicals, cosmetics, air fresheners, fabric softeners and numerous other everyday products contain harmful chemicals that can lead to endocrine-disruption. Avoid them.
- Invest in filtered water. So, you think that bottled mineral water is healthy? Think again. Bottled water and tap water often contain EDC’s. Experts agree that the best solution is to filter all the water that you will be consuming (this includes water used for cooking purposes). Investing in a water filter system is a wise investment.
- Watch out for pesticides. Just about all pesticides contain high levels of EDC’s and most of us have some pesticides at home. Much of the fresh produce that you buy has been treated with pesticides repeatedly. The dilemma is that we all hate bugs but you really need to think about alternative control methods. Just do basic Goggle searches: you will be amazed at all the healthier options available to you. As for fresh produce: wash them before using them. Better yet, opt for organically grown products.
- Beware of microwave woes. Never ever, ever cook food in your microwave using plastic container. Even if the container lulls you into a false sense of security by declaring itself to be “microwave safe”, don’t do it. Plastic containers release an awful amount of EDC’s when they are micro waved. If the food that you want to cook or heat up is supplied in a plastic container, transfer it to a glass container. If you take just one piece of advice on how to reduce your exposure to EDC’s this is it!
- Make your vacuum cleaner earn its keep. Believe it or not, but flame-retarded materials release some of the harmful toxins (EDC’s) that collect in your household dust. Many household products and baby products contain flame-retarding materials. There is only one way in which to minimize your risk and that is to vacuum often. It would be better to get rid of all flame-retarding materials and furniture but most of us cannot afford that easy way out.
- Get serious about reducing you plastic footprint. Let’s be realistic: plastic is oh so convenient and it is hardly possible to buy products that are not packaged in plastic. But let us not fool ourselves; plastic is one of the world’s greatest polluters and one of the most dangerous products when it comes to EDC’s. You may think otherwise but you can reduce you plastic footprint. Start off by avoiding any product that is packaged in once-off-use plastic. If this is not possible, re-package your purchases in glass or stainless steel containers. Does this sound onerous to you? Well, think about your health and the health of your family and while you are at it, think about the health of the planet too!
- Beware of canned or processed foods. Many canned products are lined with harmful BPA’s to seal them. But if you store them in hot conditions they may start leeching and cause you untold harm. Always store canned goods in a cool pace. Even better, avoid them and rather opt for dried, frozen or fresh products. Don’t even think about heating canned food in its tin!
- Chuck out those non-stick pots and pans. Here is a nasty reality check: almost all non-stick pots and pans are lined with perfluorinated chemicals and they are serious endocrine-disruptors. Rather go for stainless steel or cast iron cookware.
Endocrine-disruptive chemicals will not just disrupt your endocrine system; it will disrupt your health and even your life. You need to be aware of the dangers of these toxins and you most definitely need to take steps to detox yourself. If you are pregnant you are even more vulnerable. There is such a tiny window of time when the brains and vital organs of the foetus develops and endocrine disruptors can harm these processes.