Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
What we eat is incredibly important to keep us healthy and energized, and to reduce our risk of health issues and chronic illness. However, it’s also important to become more aware of what we’re exposed to in our environment on a daily basis. Some chemicals we breathe, touch or ingest may be disrupting our body’s hormones. I’m eager to start talking about this topic much more. This is a subject that I’ve studied extensively for over 6 years now, and I’m looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with you!
What are endocrine disrupting chemicals?
These chemicals are present in our environment and can disturb the normal day-to-day activity of our hormones. When they enter our bodies, they can:
-block our hormone receptors: this means that our natural hormones cannot bind to their receptor on or in our cells, and cannot do their job.
-mimic our body's natural hormones ( they can disguise themselves as our natural hormones, without our body knowing)
-interfere with how our natural hormones are made
-throw off our natural hormone levels (cause them to increase or decrease)
Where are they found?
They can be found everywhere in our daily lives. This can include our food and drink containers, canned foods, cash register receipts, plastics, personal care products, cosmetics, dust particles...virtually everywhere! A single substance alone may not cause harm, but it’s the constant daily exposure over many years to various types of chemicals that make this subject very valuable.
Why is this an important issue for all of us?
Many studies have reported an almost ubiquitous presence of various hormone-disrupting chemicals in our bodies. This means that we're constantly being exposed to many chemicals throughout the day. We're exposed at very low doses to these chemicals and our bodies are able to efficiently eliminate them, BUT the fact that we are constantly exposed to a myriad of chemicals daily is a cause for concern.
So... what can we do about it?
It’s key for our health to become more aware of what endocrine disrupting chemicals are, what they do, and where we can find them. Although we can never completely eliminate them, there are many things we can do to greatly minimize our exposure. Even small changes where possible will make a difference. You may have heard of the chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA), found in plastic.
Two things that speed up the process of leaching BPA into our food are the following:
Don’t heat plastic containers in the microwave, don’t put plastic in the dishwasher, and don’t pour hot food or boiling drinks into plastic! BPA has been found to leach out of plastic containers 55x faster in the presence of boiling water!
Don’t store acidic foods in plastic containers (ie. tomato sauce, vinegars).
Glass is my container of choice- I use glass containers as much as possible at home! This is just one small way I reduce my exposure to these chemicals.
Keep following along on my instagram page (@aspoonfulofscience) for more information, recipes and lifestyle tips!