You probably remember the “Erin Brockovich” movie interpreted by the famous actress Julia Roberts who prosecuted “Pacific Gas & Electric” for contaminating the water with a carcinogen endocrine disruptor.
It is not only in the movies ! Environmental endocrine disruptors is a serious public health concern.
When I read how endocrine disruptors can interfere with our hormones, I realised how important it is to minimize their impact on our health.
Unfortunately, we are now exposed to a greater number of environmental toxins and endocrine disruptors are everywhere; in our food, soils, water, cosmetic products, cleaning products, textiles and even in the air.
What are endocrine disruptors?
They are chemicals found in various materials; they can be natural or man-made.
They interfere with our body’s endocrine system (hormonal system) by mimicking natural hormones in the body like Oestrogen, Androgen and also Thyroid hormones.
As only a small amount of hormones is needed to regulate our body’s development, the impact of endocrine disruptors on our health can lead to adverse developmental, reproductive and neurological effects. Not only for us but also on the next generation.
What are the most known endocrine disruptors?
- The Bisphenol A (BPA)–commonly used in polycarbonate plastics is found in baby feeding bottles, in the inside lining of metal food can, in plastic bottles and in food packaging.
- The Phthalates are used to make plastic more flexible but also to keep smell and aromas last longer. We find them in plastic bags, food packaging, kids toys, medical materials, cosmetic products (perfumes, deodorants, shampoo, nail polish), in home cleaning products, in fresheners and scented candles.
- Finally the Flame-Retardant Chemicals or Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) considered as a persistent organic pollutant – are found in mattress, foam cushioning, foam-based packaging materials, upholstery, carpet padding, paint products, adhesives, synthetic clothes, electric equipment.
Remember that PBDEs are very volatile and can be found in dust in your home; it is therefore very important to ventilate your house with fresh air at least 30 minutes per day.
Scientific studies have proven that some endocrine disruptors have negative effects on our fauna & flora but there has not been enough work done on the effects on the human being.
How should we avoid them ?
Endocrine Disruptors are all around us – in our plate, in water, on our skin and in the air that we breath…
However, we can choose to reduce our exposure to them !
First step, EAT ORGANIC food
- Choose organic fruits & vegetables: In organic agriculture, only less than 30 different types of pesticides (natural & non-toxic) are used compared to almost 500 different types in non-organic agriculture where some are considered as endocrine disruptors.
That is why eating organic food help reduce our exposure to pesticides and therefore to some identified endocrine disruptors.
- Reduce consumption of high fat products such as milk and animal food as they contain toxins such as POPs (Persistent organic pollutants) which gets stored in our fat tissues.
They have been a major concern for food safety because of their persistence and toxic effects. Therefor it is recommended to reduce consumption of those products or select lowest fat option of meat & dairy.
- Drink FILTRED WATER
Tap water is the end product of recycled water which has gone through a long process of treatment and filtering.
But the main problem is that toilet water is recycled and you could find in it residue of pharmaceuticals products (such antidepressant, oral contraceptive pill, blood pressure medication).
Should we only drink water from plastic bottles? No they are not better and are challenging also to the eco system.
Can the treatment of water remove all those chemicals ? Is it that safe to drink tap water ?
The World Health Organisation report “Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water” published in 2011 states that “traces of pharmaceuticals have been reported in the water cycle including … drinking water”
The best way to have clear water is to have your own filtering water system (Carbon filters or have directly a water filtering system installed on you tap)
The second step is to CLEAR YOUR ENVIRONEMENT from chemicals
- Replace all the toxic house cleaning products that contains lots of chemicals by natural and non-toxic cleaning products such as Ecover or Eco Me and others that you can easily find in supermarket.
- As lots of chemicals that act like endocrine disruptors are found in plastic, it is recommended to avoid plastic containers especially when you use them to store fatty foods. Never microwaves them. Replace them with glass or stainless steel food storage containers.
- Try to avoid cans as the inside lining contains phthalates.
The third step but not the least is to select non-toxic “COSMETIC PRODUCTS”
As one of the most important organs on our body, our skin performs several vital function for our body; that is why we should be very careful in our choices of products that we put on our skin.
Think about all the toxic chemicals that are in your shampoo, conditioner and skincare products. Lots of those chemicals have caused skin health issue such as eczema, hormonal disruption and reproductive problems.
Try to avoid skincare products that contain the most harmful chemicals such as Aluminum, DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (triethanolamine), Parabens, Phtalates, Siloxanes (a suspected endocrine disruptors) and Triclosan.
So check the ingredient list when you choose your products !
Do not panic ! Do not try and change it all at once ! Be mindful of your environment and implement your change step by step. Why not read Audrey’s article on women’s summer detox challenge.
Article by Audrey LOKIEC, a certified Nutritional Therapist. She graduated from the renowned centre of nutrition education, the College of Naturopathic Medicine based in London. She focuses on health and wellbeing and uses her knowledge and experience to advise on all aspects of nutrition to promote wellness.If you need more specific nutritional advices, you can visit her website www.nutriforhealth.com and book an appointment or you can send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow her on Instagram for some great daily health tips. If you need more specific nutritional advices, you can visit her website www.nutriforhealth.com and book an appointment or you can send her an email at email@example.com