The Hidden Dirty Dozen: Chemicals that Disrupt our Hormones
by: TaNeishaWebb, AAS
From the time of conception, each developmental stage is under control of hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted directly into the blood, which carries them to organs and tissues of the body. Acting on different aspects of bodily functions and processes, they are responsible for development and growth. They also regulate mood, sleep and weight. To avoid traumatic change to the body or even shortening of life, we must be aware and conscious of everything we use in our daily lives. There are things we do and use on a daily basis that we may not have known could disrupt our hormones. The toothpaste we brush our teeth with or the shampoo we wash our hair with could be harmful to our health. Below is the “Dirty Dozen”, a list of harmful, hormone-altering chemicals to avoid:
- BPA: BPA tricks the body into thinking it is real. Cancers, heart disease and other reproductive problems have been linked to BPA, which is found in the lining of food cans, cash register receipts and hard plastics.
- Dioxin: Dioxin disrupts the signaling systems of sex hormones in male and female. Since they are very long-lived they can cause developmental problems beginning in the womb. Avoid this chemical by decreasing the amount of meat you consume.
- Atrazine: Atrazine is an herbicide that is strong enough to feminize male frogs. It has been linked to breast tumors, prostate cancer and delays in puberty. Choose organic produce and filter your water to avoid this dangerous chemical.
- Phthalates: Phthalates cause testicular cells to die sooner than they should. They have also been linked to different hormone changes, such as low sperm count, birth defects in the male reproductive system and even thyroid irregularities. Limit exposure by avoiding products with fragrances, vinyl flooring and plastic food containers.
- Perchlorate: Perchlorate, an even more dangerous chemical, is found in rocket fuel. In the body perchlorate competes with the vital nutrient iodine. When the thyroid gland can’t make thyroid hormones, perchlorate can dangerously alter thyroid hormone balance. Avoid this chemical with proper filtering of your water.
- PBDEs: Fire retardants or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) imitate thyroid hormones and disrupt their activity. Found in things like furnishings, vehicles, and electronics, there is virtually no way to avoid them.
- Lead: Lead is a more commonly known contaminant. When hormone signaling is disrupted, so is the HPA axis, the body’s major stress system. That particular stress system regulates blood pressure, blood sugar, anxiety and depression.
- Arsenic: Arsenic, although a naturally occurring element, is very deadly. It has found its way into our drinking water and food. This particular poison has been linked to bladder, lung and skin cancers. Avoid it by properly rinsing rice and filtering your water.
- Mercury: Mercury is also naturally occurring, but it can seep into the air and water. Hormones that regulate menstrual cycles and ovulation are affected by mercury. Sushi and certain species of fish have been shown to contain mercury.
- PFCs: Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) affect about 99% of the American population. Now banned from use, these chemicals are still being found in subsequent generations. It can damage the thyroid and sex hormones. It causes symptoms like low sperm count and low birth weight. Eliminate this from your household by avoiding nonstick cookware, stain resistant furniture and carpet treatments and microwave popcorn.
- Organophosphate Pesticides: Organophosphate Pesticides affect brain development, behavior and fertility. Produced for chemical warfare, this compound ended up as an insecticide. The chemical has harmful effects such as altering the way testosterone communicates with cells. Choosing organic food will limit exposure.
- Glycol Ethers: Glycol Ethers are found in most cleaning products, brake fluid, and cosmetics. They may impede fertility or even damage an unborn child. Children with asthma and allergies may also have been exposed from paint in their bedrooms.
Knowing now how harmful these chemicals are, here are some suggestions on how you can decrease or eliminate these harmful toxins.
- Instead of buying canned goods opt for fresh or frozen foods.
- Change your diet! Staple foods like milk, eggs and butter could contain Dioxin. The only way to cut exposure to this chemical is to eat fewer products made from animals.
- Cut out processed foods and eat organic fruits and vegetables that promote detoxification, such as avocados; beets; broccoli; cabbage; and garlic.
- Instead of using plastic water bottles, opt for glass instead.
- If you are using a microwave to heat your foods, use glass containers rather than plastic.
- Make your own household cleaners. Do not use antibacterial soap or cleaners.
- Avoid pesticides and herbicides by buying organic.
- Coconut is a great from head-to-toe, inside-out toxin remover, in prevention and treatment of diseases. Using coconut oil as a lotion and as a mouth rinse could eliminate harmful toxins from your body, while at the same time leaving your skin soft and smooth and your teeth pearly white. Baking soda can also be used as a face and body scrub and toothpaste.
- Drink filtered water or use a reverse osmosis machine to reduce perchlorate, lead, arsenic and other chemicals found in tap water.
Changing habits can be hard. Take it day by day. Some of the suggestions are not costly, but when it comes to your health would you rather spend money on prevention or try to fix the problem that would not have been there in the first place? Remember, Real Health comes first!