Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 101
Experiencing vibrant health is all -encompassing: what we eat, how often we exercise and how we care for our mental health are all essential. However, it's also vital to become more aware of what we're exposed to on a daily basis, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals. I've studied this topic for over 8 years and I'm excited to share what I've learned with you. You might start to make small changes to your lifestyle too, once you learn more!
Why is this topic important? Endocrine disrupting chemicals are natural and synthetic chemicals that mimic our body's natural hormones... and our bodies can't tell the difference! Endocrine disruptors can make such an impact on our health because they compete with and/or block the normal activity of our hormones. This is important for the population as a whole, but particularly so during critical windows of development. Pregnant women, young babies and children are especially susceptible to long-lasting effects from endocrine disruptors, which can cause permanent alterations to normal fetal growth and to the development of babies and young children. They are also linked to early puberty, neurocognitive issues and behavioural challenges in childhood and adolescence.
Many of these chemicals are ubiquitous: they're found virtually everywhere in our environment! For example, Canadian biomonitoring studies have detected Bisphenol A (BPA) in over 95% of the population- similar to rates reported by numerous biomonitoring studies around the world. So... where do we find them? We're exposed to endocrine disruptors three main ways: 1) ingestion, 2) dermal exposure, and 3) inhalation. Endocrine disruptors can also be passed through breastmilk, passed to young children who tend to put plastic toys in their mouths, through dust, food and beverage containers, and personal care products... just to name a few. Although endocrine disruptors cannot be completely eliminated, we can work to reduce our exposure in small ways!
A few simple swaps you can start to make in your home:
1. Ditch the plastic. Opt for glass, stainless steel, or silicone cups and containers.
2. Clean up your personal care products and cosmetics. Choose more natural products, especially body lotion, sunscreen and skincare. Burt's Bees has really clean products that I use often for skin and makeup.
3. Change up your laundry detergent. Go for cleaner alternatives, and choose liquid detergent over powder.
4. Avoid fragrance in your home. Instead of Febreeze sprays or artificial scents, use beeswax candles made with essential oils.
5. Open the windows daily to circulate fresh air and get rid of household pollutants lingering in your air.
Hope these tips help! Keep following along at @aspoonfulofscience on IG for more lifestyle tips.