According to EWG, people come into contact with over 500 synthetic chemicals daily in their homes!1 Commercial personal care products and cleaning products typically contain Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs), which wreak havoc on our hormones. Yes, what you wash your clothes in, clean your kitchen with, and put on your skin all contribute to hormone health! While this may feel overwhelming, I am going to provide you the info you need to avoid hormone hating chemicals in this article.
WHAT ARE ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS AND WHY ARE THEY HARMFUL?
Unfortunately, our environment (inside and outside the home) is loaded with harmful chemicals that can lead to an array of hormonal symptoms. These chemicals are just about everywhere, which means our bodies are exposed to them nearly all the time. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are environmental toxins that mimic your natural hormones, but without the benefits. EDCs can affect the ovaries, adrenals, thyroid, and other glands—causing your hormones to go completely out of whack and with a myriad of unpleasant symptoms to follow. Additionally, endocrine disruptors have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, birth defects, infertility, and a lowered IQ!
THE LINK BETWEEN ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS AND ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
Endocrine Disruptors are able to mimic estrogen, and it’s a contributing factor in estrogen dominance (a situation where there is excess estrogen in the body). Because our environment is simply loaded with toxins, hormonal imbalances are becoming more and more common. Cases of estrogen dominance, in particular, are through the roof.
A few symptoms of estrogen dominance and other hormonal imbalance are:
- Painful periods
- Heavy periods
- Tender breasts
- Persistent acne
- Digestive upset (e.g. gas and bloating).
To learn more about estrogen dominance, check out this article.
COMMON ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS AND WHERE THEY ARE FOUND
Bisphenol A (BPA)
BPA has been associated with cancer and well recognized as a harmful chemical.2 If you read my book, Beyond the Pill, you’ll learn how your environment can drive hormone imbalance and the exact steps to take to improve your health. In my book I explain that BPA-free is just as concerning, because the chemicals used to replace BPA can also sabotage your health in a multitude of ways! It’s infuriating!3
- Plastic bottles and containers
- Canned foods
- Food packaging
How to avoid BPA:
- Try not to touch paper receipts
- Don’t drink out of plastic
- Do not reheat food in plastic containers or put hot food in plastic containers
- Opt for frozen or fried food (avoid canned goods)
The annoying thing about flame retardants is that their presence is not limited to couch cushions or mattresses.4 In fact, these chemicals make their way into the dust in our homes, which means we breath them and our children and pets are disproportionately exposed to them.5
Flame retardants are commonly found in:
- Pet beds
- Car seats
- Children’s pajamas
How to avoid flame retardants:
- Always check clothing labels. Stay far away from synthetics in the kids PJ section!
- Check furniture labels
- Choose a flame retardant-free mattress
- Choose a flame retardant-free pet bed
- Use an air filter (e.g. HEPA) in your home
- Vacuum regularly
- Open windows every day to circulate fresh air
You might have heard of phthalates because they are commonly found in fragrance, which many are learning is a big hormonal no-no. Phthalates are known to cause reproductive health issues.
Phthalates are commonly found in:
- Personal care products
- Plastic food storage containers
- Plastic toys
- Fragrances in trash bags, diapers, and candles
- Air fresheners
How to avoid phthalates:
- Read labels—avoid products that list “phthalates” or “fragrance”
- Ditch the plastic and opt for glass
- Use essential oils instead of air fresheners
- Buy beeswax candles only
- Use laundry detergent that doesn’t contain artificial fragrance
DETOXING FROM ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS
Waste in and waste out are two important factors when addressing detox. In Beyond the Pill, I provide you with a complete diet and lifestyle detox protocol to fast track your hormone healing. Here’s some of the information I share in my book and with my patients.
If we are taking in harmful chemicals (i.e. eating non-organic foods or loading our skin and body with harmful personal care products), it is going to be difficult to harmonize our hormones. So reducing waste in is a vital first step.6 How do we reduce waste in?
- Eat organic foods whenever possible
- Avoid endocrine disrupting chemicals in cleaning products. Use non-toxic cleaning products like Branch Basics for a safe, hormone-friendly alternative.
- Don’t eat out of plastic containers
- Don’t touch the paper receipts from the grocery store, and opt for mobile boarding passes at the airport.
Encouraging waste out is the next important piece of the EDC-detox puzzle. By eating a rainbow of organic of vegetables, we’ll be getting loads of necessary fiber, as well as nutrients that support our hormones and liver.7 If you need help getting started, please download my complimentary Hormone Balancing Kit that includes a meal plan and recipe guide. If you find you can’t always eat organic, use the EWG Clean 15, Dirty Dozen guide to help you make the best decision for your health. Supplementation with a few key nutrients can also support detox.
In Beyond the Pill, I give you detailed information about environmental toxins and their impact on hormonal health, plus the exact steps to take for your hormone imbalance. In fact, there is a quiz right away in chapter 1 to help you determine which hormones are driving your symptoms. We then dive right into a protocol to help you feel better fast! You’ll also learn how EDCs affect metabolism, diabetes, and obesity. And you better believe I want to help you avoid all of that business! In the book you will also find my 30-day Brighten Program, which helps you take all the knowledge from the book and put it into practice to regain control of your hormones. As my way of saying thank you, I’ve also included over $250 in gratitude gifts that will help you get the most out of the book. Head over to BeyondthePillBook.com and get your recipes, lab guides, and exclusive interviews today!
Dr. Jolene Brighten is a leading expert in post-birth control syndrome and hormonal birth control related problems. She is a women’s health naturopathic medical doctor, practicing physician, author and speaker. She helps women who are looking to ditch synthetic birth control and balance their hormones, as well as those who want to stay on birth control without long term consequences.