Endocrine disruptors - avoiding synthetic fragrances
What are they?
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with your endocrine system. They are chemicals that mimic your body’s natural hormones causing your system to have an influx of things that shouldn’t be there. Your endocrine system is a messenger system consisting of a collection of glands that produce the hormones that regulate your tissue function, sexual function, your metabolism and growth development, as well as reproduction, sleep and mood. The glands making up this system include your pituitary gland, pineal gland, thyroid gland, adrenals, pancreas, and testis/ovaries.
So basically, your endocrine system is a collection of glands that help produce hormones that act as little messengers telling your body what to do. So when your hormones are out of balance, a lot of your body’s processes don’t function as they should and can cause things such as reproductive issues (especially sore and heavy menstruation in women), developmental issues, as well as nasty things such as cancer and birth defects – your hormones are important yo!
So, where are they found?
Unbeknownst to a lot of people they are (unfortunately) found in many everyday products. If the average woman was to add up all products she used regularly, both on and around herself, she’d be exposing herself to close to 200 synthetic chemicals. They are sometimes hidden too which is why it’s important to make sure that if you are trying to avoid them, you’re aware of where they may be lurking. The most common and obvious ones are in the personal hygiene and household products we use. The less common ones are hidden in things like the plastic bottles we drink out of and plastic food containers and wraps we use for our food.
There is a massive list of endocrine disruptors and if you’d like more info, as well as what chemicals are in the products you use and consume then visit the links below. Some of the more common ones are:
Perfluorinated chemicals (PFOA, PFOS, Teflon) - found in moisturisers, nail polish, eye makeup, and cookware
*side note: there are studies that conclude the unsafety of even BPA free products as they contain xenobiotic chemicals with estrogenic activity i.e. unnatural chemicals to the body that mimics estrogen activity #notgood
How to start avoiding nasty chemicals
At the shops
- Seek out products packaged in glass bottles
- Instead of putting produce in the store's tear-off plastic bags, bring your own plastic/chemical-free reusable bags to shop with.
- Try avoiding frozen meals which are in plastic containers as heating plastic released toxic chemicals
- Don’t buy chemically laden household and personal supplies (especially sanitary products ladies!). Do a bit of research first to see what these chemicals can actually do. Here and here are a few sites that may help
- Microwave food in glass or ceramic containers
- Never put hot food, drinks, or soups in plastic containers or bottles.
- Cover leftovers in tinfoil versus plastic wrap or use beeswax food covers
- Swap your plastic water-filter pitcher for a glass version that's plastic-free
- Replace plastic household appliances, such as coffeemakers and blenders, with new ones made of stainless steel
- Replace Teflon coated cookware with stainless steel or cast iron options
- Go through your household cleaners and personal items and replace anything that has the above chemical listed as well as “fragrance” or “natural fragrance”. Both are considered endocrine disruptors. Opt for organic, not tested on animal options (cause, you know, we like bunnies and dogs). Use this app to help you decide
Here are a few handy guides from the EWG for helping you achieve the above:
- EWG’S GUIDE TO AVOIDING PFCS
- EWG’s Tips for AVOIDING PESTICIDES and TIPS FOR GREENER CLEANING
- QUICK TIPS FOR CHOOSING SAFER PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
- EWG’s GUIDE TO SAFER SUNSCREENS
Lastly, if you are interested in going down the essential oil route to replace household cleaners and personal products, with tox-free, natural alternatives then check out my others posts on this site.
Alternatively, jump to Supporting your Endocrine Health Naturally