Chemicals are everywhere in our homes and they can damage our bodies
Some chemicals are commonly used in the home, workplace, and just about everywhere else are known as endocrine disruptors because once ingested, they mimic the activity of the body’s natural hormones. When these “artificial” hormones intermingle with the body’s own, trouble develops. Every time they are eaten, drunk, or breathed in, exposure multiplies. These chemicals produce hormone-disrupting effects in everybody, but cause the biggest problems on a developing fetus and during a child’s earliest years. The effects can last a lifetime. Multiple studies are showing adverse pregnancy outcomes with exposure to these agents and many have been associated with pregnancy complications and may even hinder a couple’s chance at conception.
Arsenic is a mainstay in murder mysteries because, well...it works! If it doesn’t kill you, it can cause cancer of the bladder, lungs, and skin, and interfere with the body’s system of hormones that process sugars and carbohydrates. And studies have shown associations between arsenic and adverse pregnancy complications such as stillbirth, miscarriage, and low birth weights.
- How to avoid: Use a water filter designed specifically to lower levels of arsenic.
Big-business agriculture loves atrazine, especially corn producers. It washes from the fields into the drinking water supply. Male frogs exposed to low levels of atrazine have been known to turn into female frogs that produce fully viable eggs. Studies have shown adverse pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weights and preterm births.
- How to avoid: Eat organic fruits and veggies. Install drinking water filters certified to remove atrazine.
BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastic, a shatter-resistant and clear material used in products ranging from plastic bottles and eyeglasses to sports safety equipment. BPA is also found in baby bottles, sippy cups, teethers, water bottles, food storage containers, and the lining of many food and beverage cans.
Ninety-three percent of all Americans have this estrogen-like synthetic hormone in their bodies. It’s linked to reproductive problems, early puberty, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Studies report an increased risk of premature delivery of those exposed to bisphenol-A.
How to avoid BPA
Use glass water bottle(s) and ditch the single-use plastic bottles.
Store your leftover food in glass containers instead of plastic.
- Don’t handle thermal receipt paper, it is often BPA-coated.
- Avoid plastics with recycle code #7 and those marked with “PC” for polycarbonate.
As much as possible: buy foods/condiments in glass jars instead of plastic.
Don’t eat canned foods. Even though canned goods are now saying, “BPA-free lining,” try to cut back on canned foods; it’s best if you can find foods that are in a glass container.
Start cooking organic beans and legumes from scratch and forego canned beans and legumes altogether, if possible.
If your water filter uses a plastic pitcher to contain the water, change the pitcher to glass. Do not let your water sit in the plastic pitcher.
You should not use a microwave oven for food or drinks. NEVER cook/heat a “microwavable meal” in its plastic container.
The industrial farming industry loves dioxin, which causes male and female sex hormones to send mixed signals. Boy babies in the womb can develop sperm-related infertility issues in adulthood. Studies have shown
- How to avoid: Don’t eat commercially raised meat and fish. Eat only organic butter, milk, and eggs.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) can no longer be used but there are enough PBDE-laced products in use today that contamination will continue for decades. These thyroid disruptors are known to lower IQ scores. Many studies are showing a relationship between fire retardants and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
- How to avoid: Vacuum the floors with a HEPA filter. Replace, don’t reupholster, foam furniture. Remove old carpet padding with care.
Cosmetics, cleaning products, brake fluid, paint...many common solvents contain glycol ethers, which cause rat testicles to shrink. Many painters have low sperm counts and abnormalities of the blood. Some studies indicate damage to fertility and developing fetuses. Asthma and allergies are more common in children when glycol ethers are in the paint used in their rooms.
- How to avoid: Don’t use anything with 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME) in the ingredients list
Lead affects the body from head to toe and is linked to miscarriage, premature birth, anxiety, depression, diabetes, and hypertension, among other things. It lowers levels of sex hormones and the hormone that keeps the body’s major stress system in check.
- How to avoid: Install a water filter designed to remove arsenic.
Coal burned on land sends mercury-rich clouds over the ocean, where it filters down into the seafood supply, especially the fattiest cold-water fish. Mercury wreaks havoc on the body’s endocrine system and causes the greatest harm during pregnancy when it concentrates on the fetal brain. It interferes with the menstrual cycle and ovulation, too, and is thought to damage insulin-producing pancreatic cells.
- How to avoid: Choose wild salmon and farmed trout for the safest supplies of omega-3 fatty acids.
These compounds were first developed in the 1940s by the Nazis and, fortunately, were never used on humans as intended but have been used on food crops as pesticides since the end of World War II. Humans get exposed from the food supply. Problems with fertility, behavior, and brain development are the result. Exposure interferes with the way testosterone communicates with other cells, lowers testosterone levels, and hinders thyroid hormones.
- How to avoid: Eat organic fruits and vegetables.
This rocket fuel blankets just about everything. It competes with iodine, causing thyroid problems. The thyroid regulates adult metabolism and is extremely important for brain and organ development in babies and young kids.
- How to avoid: Install a reverse osmosis water filter. Eat iodine-rich seafood. Use iodized salt.
Almost every American - 99 percent - has PFCs in the body and one form of it is said to be “completely resistant to biodegradation.” It won’t go away. Ever. It seems to attack thyroid and sex hormones, resulting in decreased sperm quality and low birth weight.
- How to avoid: Don’t use non-stick cookware, it’s coated with this stuff. Avoid clothing, upholstery, and carpet treated with water-resistant sprays or coatings.
Phthalates make plastic soft and flexible, and are often found in car interiors, shower curtains, deodorant, cosmetics, and medical devices. Phthalates can also be found in children’s products such as toys, rattles, teethers, rubber ducks, bath books, baby shampoo, soap and lotion.
Phthalates trigger cell death early, though, especially cells in a man’s testicles. In addition to sperm-related infertility issues, this chemical has been linked to reproductive birth defects in baby boys, diabetes, obesity, and thyroid problems.
- How to avoid: Avoid anything with a #3 recycling code - plastic food containers, plastic wrap, even children’s toys. Don’t use cosmetics and toiletries with phthalates or simply “fragrance” in the ingredients list.
Safety in a nutshell? Install water filters. Eat and drink organic. Avoid plastic and toxic fumes.