Skip to content

Blog

WHAT ARE ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS AND WHY ARE THEY DANGEROUS?

by Toby Gibson 28 May 2024 0 Comments
WHAT ARE ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS AND WHY ARE THEY DANGEROUS?

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are natural or human-made substances that can mimic, block, or interfere with the body's hormones.

WHAT DO ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS DO TO THE BODY?

Hormone disrupting chemicals

These hormone disruptors can lead to various adverse health effects, such as changes in sperm quality and fertility, abnormalities in sex organs, endometriosis, early puberty, altered nervous and immune system functions, certain cancers, respiratory issues, metabolic problems like diabetes and obesity, cardiovascular conditions, growth disturbances, and neurological and learning disabilities.

Understandably, these hormone disrupting chemicals have raised serious concerns with many consumers calling for immediate regulatory action to remove endocrine interrupters from the market and more research to fully understand their impact.

WHAT IS THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM?

The endocrine system comprises various tissues, mainly glands, responsible for producing and releasing hormones. Major glands include the thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, pineal, adrenal, testicles (in males), and ovaries (in females). Additionally, the hypothalamus, pancreas, and thymus serve as endocrine glands among their other functions.

The endocrine system

Essentially, the endocrine system's primary role is to release hormones into the bloodstream while constantly monitoring their levels. Hormones act as messengers, coordinating different bodily functions by transmitting signals through the bloodstream to organs, skin, muscles, and other tissues. With over 50 different hormones, they regulate nearly all aspects of health, including:

  • Metabolism
  • Maintaining internal balance (homeostasis), such as regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, fluid, and electrolyte levels, and body temperature
  • Growth and development
  • Sexual function
  • Reproduction
  • Sleep-wake cycle
  • Mood

Even small hormone fluctuations can trigger significant responses and changes in the body. When hormone levels are too low or too high, it can impact health, often resulting in noticeable symptoms.

WHERE ARE ENDOCRINE DISRUPTORS FOUND?

Health risks of everyday household chemicals and products

Surprisingly, endocrine-disrupting compounds lurk in numerous commonplace items, such as certain cosmetics, food and beverage containers, toys, carpets, and pesticides. Therefore, exposure to these endocrine system disruptors can happen via various routes, including ingestion, inhalation, skin contact, and water consumption.

Remarkably, even minimal exposure to endocrine inhibitors can pose risks. Given that the body's endocrine system operates with minute fluctuations in hormone levels, even slight exposure to these substances have the potential to disrupt the body's delicate balance and trigger health issues.

EXAMPLES OF ENDOCRINE DISRUPTING CHEMICALS.

Every day household chemicals

The Endocrine Society reports a staggering number of nearly 85,000 human-made chemicals worldwide, with over 1,000 of them potentially classified as endocrine disruptors based on their specific characteristics. Some of the most prevalent and extensively studied ones include:

Atrazine: Widely used as an herbicide to manage weeds in crops like corn, sorghum, and sugarcane.

Bisphenol A (BPA): Utilized in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, commonly found in manufacturing, food packaging, toys, and other consumer goods. BPA can also be present in the linings of canned food, beverages, and even kids' lunch boxes.

Dioxins: Produced as byproducts in certain manufacturing processes such as herbicide production and paper bleaching, with potential emissions into the air through waste burning and wildfires.

Perchlorate: A colorless salt manufactured for industrial purposes in products like rockets, explosives, and fireworks, often detected in groundwater.

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): A diverse group of chemicals widely employed in industrial settings, including firefighting foam, nonstick cookware, paper, and textile coatings.

Phthalates: A group of compounds serving as liquid plasticizers, present in numerous products including food packaging, cosmetics, fragrances, children’s toys, and medical tubing. Cosmetics like nail polish, hair spray, aftershave lotion, cleanser, and shampoo may contain phthalates.

Phytoestrogens: Naturally occurring substances with hormone-like properties found in certain plants, such as soy foods, which contain phytoestrogens mimicking the effects of estrogen produced by the body.

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE): Used in the production of flame retardants for items like furniture foam and carpeting.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): Previously used in electrical equipment like transformers, as well as in hydraulic fluids, heat transfer fluids, lubricants, and plasticizers, until their global production was banned in 1979.

Triclosan: A once-common ingredient in antimicrobial and personal care products like liquid body wash, soaps, and deodorants.

HOW TO REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE TO EDCs?

Although it's impossible to eliminate exposure to EDCs, you can proactively make informed and conscious decisions about the everyday products that you use to help minimize exposure to endocrine disruptors and mitigate any potential health risks. 

Fortunately, we are now more aware and have access to knowledge and product alternatives, enabling us to largely avoid these potentially dangerous substances.

Learn more about our journey towards adopting low-tox living practices or why not take the first step towards using safe products free from harmful chemicals, such as our award-winning natural deodorant.

Prev Post
Next Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Totem Eco Natural Soap Genuine Castile Honey Myrtle
Sign up today, you'll get all the latest news and offers, and receive an instant 10% off your first order!
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items