The convenience of our modern lifestyle often comes with a heavy toll on our health. Endocrine disruptors are found in many products designed to make our lives easier- plastic packaging, processed food, beauty products.
What is an endocrine disruptor?
Endocrine disruptors are substances that affect the ability of the endocrine system to function in a normal and healthy way. Our endocrine systems are a complex network of glands in our bodies that produce hormones, and receptors that detect and react to them. The most delicately balanced system in our bodies, the endocrine system regulates our weight and metabolism, reproductive functions, growth, sexual drive, sleep patterns, and mood/emotions.
Depending on what part of the body they’re affecting, endocrine disruptors can be harmful in a number of ways: reducing the amount of hormones that should naturally be produced by the body, blocking the release of hormones from endocrine glands, mimic the actions of hormones, or reduce the action of the hormones by speeding up their metabolism.
Check out the Environmental Working Group’s research on the Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors.
At your own risk?
How can you cut down on hormonal manipulators in your home? It can seem overwhelming, and there is no U.S. law currently addressing endocrine disruptors, meaning there is little regulation of the products where endocrine disruptors often show up (food, personal care products, etc).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was tasked with addressing Endocrine Disruptors back in 1996. So far, the agency has developed some tests, which they've used to generate "partial screening results" for more than 1800 chemicals. With these results, they've published two lists of chemicals in need of further screening.
Judging by the pace at which this process is moving, and by the lack of support for the EPA from the current White House administration, it’s safe to say that actual laws and potential product recalls are extremely far off.
6 Simple Tips to Cut Down on Endocrine Disruptors in Your Home
So, without any formal regulation, it's up to each one of us to get armed with info and to protect ourselves and our families from hormone disruption. Here are some easy ways to get started!
1. Eat more plants.
Dioxins are well-known endocrine disruptors, and they are found in high amounts in meat and dairy products. By limiting the amount of meat in your diet and increasing your intake of plants, you can reduce the amount of these two substances that wind up in your body.
2. Swap non-stick cookware for cast iron or stainless steel.
The non-stick coating on much of the commercially available cookware in the market contains perfluorinated chemicals that act as endocrine disruptors when they enter the body. Consider a cast iron pan instead- when properly seasoned, a cast iron pan can offer a slick, non-stick surface.
3. Stay away from all plastics, not just BPA.
We all know that BPA is bad for our bodies, but it turns out that all the BPA free water bottles, food containers, and other products that are marketed to consumers as safe may not be so safe after all. BHPF, a substance found in BPA-free plastics, has been linked to harmful effects similar to those of BPA in recent studies.
Instead of using plastic to store food and beverages, consider glass, high-quality food-grade silicone (stasher uses only the best of the best), stainless steel, or beeswax wraps made from fabric and a special beeswax/resin mixture.
4. Check the labels of beauty products.
Parabens are an endocrine disrupting substance that is found in shampoos, perfumes, lotion, deodorant and many other products that are found in most beauty cabinets and bathrooms. Look for products that have short ingredient lists full of easily recognizable substances. Lotion can be replaced with a pure facial oil, perfume can be swapped out for an essential oil blend, and you can easily make your own deodorant with just a few ingredients.
5. Filter your water.
Tap water can be laced with arsenic and perchlorate, among other hormone-disrupting substances. Invest in a good water filter that can remove these particles and ensure that your water is pure and fresh.
6. Avoid the fake stuff.
Find replacements that work for your lifestyle for artificial air fresheners (try soy candles or an essential oil diffuser), dryer sheets (try wool dryer balls), fabric softeners (add a bit of vinegar), and other products that rely on synthetic fragrances, which contain phthalates.
Remember to always help your body detox periodically, too! Here’s our handy guide on that.
Make the pledge to reduce single-use plastics and you'll receive a coupon code for 25% off stasher!