Chemicals are everywhere. From clothing and plastics to pesticides and genetically modified foods, it can be a challenge to step out of the chemical soup. To help you make sense of just how harmful chemicals can be, I have summed up some substances that are worth ditching. Keep reading to learn what to look for, where these things are, and what you can use instead!
Here are 5 chemicals that are harmful to your body and disrupt your hormones and sadly, they are present all around us!
BPA or Bisphenol A is an environmental estrogen that can damage your endocrine system and lead to major hormonal disorders and even cancer. Found in plastics, canned items, and on up to forty percent of retail thermal receipt paper, BPA is a hormone disruptor.
To reduce your exposure, opt for glass food packaging. BPA-free cans and plastics might seem like an okay option, but they too have been found to contain hormone-disrupting chemicals.
Dioxins are chemicals that form during industrial processes when chlorine or bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen.
The EPA notes that dioxins:
- Are highly toxic and can cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, damage to the immune system, and can interfere with hormones.
- Are found throughout the world in the environment and they accumulate in the food chain, mainly in the fatty tissue of animals
- More than 90% of human exposure is through food, mainly meat and dairy products, fish and shellfish.
While it’s nearly impossible to avoid dioxin exposure, you can reduce your risk of consuming it by reducing animal products; the EWG says that products including meat, fish, milk, eggs, and butter are most likely to be contaminated.
Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that is naturally occurring. Research shows that mercury impacts the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, adrenal gland, and gonads (testis and ovary); all are hormone-producing and hormone-sensitive organs!
While there are ways to detox mercury from the body, it’s best to avoid it in the first place. Most of the mercury in the environment is a result of coal burning, steel production, and some forms of manufacturing. However, mercury is present in some glass thermometers, amalgam dental fillings, and some seafood. According to the EPA, novelty jewelry can contain mercury as well as some thermometers, barometers, switches, thermostats, and electrical switches. One other common source of mercury is in Thimerosal, a preservative in some vaccines.
To reduce exposure, insist on mercury-free dental work, steer clear of coal-burning stoves and coal plants. You can take supplements like chlorella which bind to toxins like mercury and help to remove them from the body.
Perchlorate is a component of rocket fuel that is also in fertilizers. It contaminates produce and soil (and groundwater as a result too!) When perchlorate gets into the body, it competes with iodine, which the thyroid needs to make thyroid hormones. In addition to hindering thyroid hormone balance, perchlorate impacts gut health too.
The Environmental Working Group suggests that you can reduce perchlorate in your drinking water by installing a reverse osmosis filter. (You can get help finding one at www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide). It’s pretty much impossible to avoid perchlorate in food, but you can potentially reduce its effects by getting adequate iodine in your diet. Sea vegetables like nori and dulse are good sources of iodine.
PFCS are designed to make surfaces non-stick. According to the EWG, “Perfluorochemicals are so widespread and extraordinarily persistent that 99 percent of Americans have these chemicals in their bodies. One particularly notorious compound called PFOA has been shown to be ‘completely resistant to biodegradation.’ In other words, PFOA doesn’t break down in the environment – ever. That means that even though the chemical was banned after decades of use, it will be showing up in people’s bodies for countless years to come. This is worrisome since PFOA exposure has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol, among other health issues. Scientists are still figuring out how PFOA affects the human body, but animal studies have found that it can affect thyroid and sex hormone levels.”
To avoid them, stay away from non-stick cookware and non-stick bakeware. Also avoid stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture, and carpets
These are just five chemicals that disrupt your hormones. Unfortunately, there are many more. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with all the toxic chemicals in your environment, choose one aspect that feels doable and start with that. Do your best to be mindful and reduce your exposure where you can. Reducing the chemical load in your body can go a long way to hormone health. Take steps to support your body’s innate detox system. Eat whole foods, sweat daily, dissolve negativity, and transform stress wherever possible. Hormone balance is within reach. The more you know…