Top practices to reduce hormone-affecting chemicals

In Ayurveda, the Reproductive tissues are considered the deepest parts of ourselves. Resources take the path through digestion, blood, muscle, nerves, bones, and fat tissue systems before eventually arriving to nourish reproductive tissues. 

If there is toxic build up, or metabolites on this current from superficial to deep layers, they are transported along with nutrients. Unfortunately, the deepest tissues end up building up these toxins as they are the end of the journey, and often without the inner mechanisms to clear out chemical byproducts and heavy metals. 

This is why monitoring exposure to toxins, especially endocrine-disrupting chemicals, is a sad but important part of modern wellness. My top practices to reduce hormone-affecting toxins are in this blog. 


Chemicals That May Disrupt Your Endocrine System

According to the Endocrine Society, there are nearly 85,000 human-made chemicals in the world, and 1,000 or more of those interact with our hormonal pathways in unhealthy ways. Many of these are part of industrial waste and environmental pollution, and there's not much you can do to reduce your immediate exposure.

However, there are some hormonally toxic chemicals you can actually keep away from by being conscious about which products you choose.

  • Atrazine is one of the most commonly applied herbicides in the world, often used to control weeds in corn, sorghum, and sugarcane crops. Avoid with organic produce.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It is used in manufacturing, food packaging, toys, and other applications. BPA resins may be found in the lining of some canned foods and beverages (nutmilk boxes, to-go coffee lids). Avoid with glass and stainless steel containers and not using disposable containers.
  • Dioxins are a byproduct of certain manufacturing processes, such as herbicide production and paper bleaching. Avoid by using natural unbleached paper and hygeine products and tampons. 
  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of chemicals used widely in industrial applications, such as firefighting foam, nonstick pans, paper, and textile coatings. Avoid with fewer delivery packages, glass food storage, ceramic nontoxic cookware, and organic textiles. 
  • Phthalates are a large group of compounds used as liquid plasticizers. They are found in hundreds of products including some food packaging, cosmetics, fragrances, children’s toys, and medical device tubing. Avoid cosmetics that may contain phthalates include nail polish, hair spray, aftershave lotion, cleanser, and shampoo. Less plastic everything.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are used to make flame retardants for products such as furniture foam and carpet. Don't buy treated carpets and fake lawns and fake flowers. 
  • Triclosan is an ingredient that was previously added to some antimicrobial and personal care products, like liquid body wash and soaps. Buy natural soap.
  • Parabens are used as a preservative in makeup, lotion, hair care products, shaving creams, toothpaste, suntan products, personal lubricant, and some deodorants. Avoid them by looking for the word “paraben” at the end of the words in the ingredients, such as methylparaben and propylparaben.
  • Phthalates, like parabens, are also linked to decreasing male fertility. According to the FDA, they are used in nail polish, hair sprays, and fragrances. You can steer clear by using natural beauty and hygiene products. 
  • Ultraviolet (UV) Filters UV filters are found in chemical sunscreens, lip balms, and in some nail polish. Oxybenzone and benzophenone, major endocrine disruptors, having been shown in a 2003 study to indirectly change gene expression. Use natural sunscreens and lip balms. Read labels. 


Watch out for “Fragrance” or "Base"

The terms "Base N.S." “fragrance” or “parfum” on a product's ingredient list could mean, well, anything. This is typically where phthalates and parabens are hidden from consumers. The law doesn’t require manufacturers to disclose the ingredients to consumers if they're labeled as “fragrance.”

This loophole allows dozens—sometimes even hundreds—of chemicals to hide under the word ‘fragrance' on the labels of cosmetic products.

In a 2010 study they looked at 17 fragrances and found they “contained an average of four hormone-disrupting ingredients each, including synthetic musks and diethyl phthalate,” chemicals associated with gynecological abnormalities, unusual reproductive development, and sperm damage in adult men.


Key Takeaways

- use natural household and beauty products

- handmade with known ingredients is best (Farmers markets, local and small batch, quality ingredients)

- you have to read labels as a part of your wellness consumer behavior

- be suspicious of any chemical - if you cannot pronounce it, likely, your body can't break it down well either



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