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Endocrine disruptors and your health

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

Our bodies are run by a network of hormones and glands that regulate everything we do. That could be our thyroid for energy, metabolism, weight or our adrenals for how well you handle stress. It can be your sex hormones that regulate your periods, fertility, libido, menopause, a man’s libido, sperm quality, mental wellbeing.

EDC (endocrine disrupting chemicals) are compounds that mimic our natural hormones and interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport or binding of the natural hormones in our bodies. They can affect male and female hormones and fertility. That's not all - they can also increase our rates of obesity, cancer, diabetes, asthma and more.

We have over 85000 chemicals in our environment and we all get exposed to them every day, they are EVERYWHERE. An average of 200 chemicals are found in the cord blood of babies, meaning we are born with toxins in the body. We can't fully eliminate toxins but we can reduce our exposure to them.

You can get tested for chemicals if you want to know if you have certain toxicities (lead, mercury, arsenic, etc.) but sometimes it can be smarter to just invest the money in improving your environment and home and only test if you don't get better.

There is a long list of chemicals you want to avoid: bisphenols (BPA, BPS, BPF, etc), phalates, parabens, persistent organic pollutants, pesticides and herbicides.

  • Bisphenols are found in plastics and plastic bottles, airplane tickets, metal cans, concern tickets.

  • Phalates are found in fragrances and perfumes, hair products, soft plastic toys, food packaging, household cleaners.

  • Parabens are preservatives you find in processed food or personal care and beauty products.

  • Persistent organic pollutants: found in flame retardants on couches, furniture pieces (especially older pieces).

  • Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides: household dust, parks, farms, air, food, golf courts, farm

  • Heavy metals: aluminum, mercury, lead which you find dental fillings, polluted air and water and as adjuvants in certain vaccinations.

  • Arsenic: found in soils, sediments, and groundwater

Implications for fertility: For men, sperm counts in certain regions of the world including the United States have declined by as much as 50 percent over the last half century. More and more couples battle infertility. Women with higher rates of BPAs were found to have higher rates of pregnancy loss and egg abnormality. Lead, another reproductive toxicant, may shorten a woman’s reproductive lifespan. Phalates, bisphenol, pesticides can negatively impact sperm quality. Men who eat vegetables and fruits with pesitcides have higher levels of abnormal sperm (count as well as shape). EDCs can cause sexual development problems such as feminizing of males or masculinizing effects on females.

Other health complications related to EDCs: breast cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid and other cancers learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems; deformations of the body (including limbs).

Obesity and diabetes: Certain chemicals are suspected of altering when, why and how much the body creates fat cells or stores fat in existing cells. EDCs can interfere with the body’s control of appetite and increase energy storage in fat tissue. In recent studies, mice exposed to the chemical DDT (an insecticide) became insulin resistant, which can ultimately lead to diabetes. Evidence also indicates that BPA exposure in the womb can lead to obesity later in life. If you are doing everything right from DIET to EXERCISE, and still not losing weight, we should test your for toxin exposure.

What can you do?

  • Choose organic fruits and veggies (go to your local farmer's market, get to know your local farmers, ask about pesticide use, grow your own garden)

  • Avoid CORN SYRUP , processed food, prepackaged foods

  • Eat wild caught fish, grassfed beef, pasteure raised chicken (know your local butcher)

  • Get plastic out of the kitchen, store food glass tupperware, don’t drink out of water bottles

  • Use stainless steel or iron cast pans and pots, avoid Teflon or non stick (unless high quality ceramic products)

  • Avoid food cans as much as you can, glass containers are preferred

  • You can use plastic to store things that you are NOT eating or drinking.

  • Avoid sanitary pads and tampons - they have been found to contain bleach (Dioxins and Furans), Toluene & Xylene, fragrance, Methyl Chloride. Use menstrual cups instead or use organic products only.

  • Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA

  • avoid fish high in mercury, avoid farm raised salomon (high in PCBs)

  • Don’t use scented cosmetics, hygiene products (choose a simple unscented olive oil bar, avoid perfumes)

  • Use organic cleaning products or better yet, make your own (apple cider vinegar, baking soda, lemon peels, essential oils – lots of tricks out there)

  • Use non toxic make up and be brave – go makeup from time to time 😊

  • Take your shoes off outside of the home (don't bring chemicals home)

  • If you or your partner work with chemicals, on farms, with cleaning products – take your work clothes off and put in washer right away

  • Don't microwave plastic and don't use air freshener

  • Get a water filter (reverse osmosis recommended) – best installed under the sink if possible, over the counter machines are also available if you are renting

  • Get a shower filter head or better yet, have a water filtration system for the entire house if you are not renting

  • Get an air purifier with HEPA filter

Here is a series of very useful handouts on how to reduce chemicals in your life:

Sources for this blogpost and for patients: (A review on endocrine disruptors and their possible impacts on human health)

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