Eliminating Endocrine Disruptors: 5 Trends that Disrupt Your Hormones

March 2024 | Dr. Madelein Shafferman

Hidden Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors — you can’t sit with us!

Do you know how many chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis? According to a 2015 study conducted by the Environmental Working Group, women put on an average of 168 chemicals on their body, every single day. The rotten cherry on top? What we put on our skin will find its way into our bloodstream, and can disrupt our endocrine function — aka our hormones!

So, how can you limit exposure to these endocrine disruptors? This blog dives into the 5 trends that disrupt your hormones and provides easy, actionable swaps to minimize your exposure!

What Are Endocrine Disruptors?

Think perfumes, parabens and plastics… These are three major examples of endocrine disruptors — the chemicals that interfere with normal hormone function.

Fragrance

When fragrance comes to mind, you may picture your favorite perfume, air freshener, or hand lotion — things that smell good. Fragrance can be tricky to avoid, because it is virtually in everything: household cleaners, scented trash bags, soaps, candles, skincare and body care, perfumes and colognes, and even some pet products! Fragrances or parfum often contain a mixture of synthetic chemicals which can enter the body if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Exposure to these endocrine disruptors can trigger allergies and impact hormone levels.

Parabens and Phthalates

Parabens are a group of preservatives commonly used in cosmetics, skincare products, and some food storage items. They can mimic estrogen in the body and disrupt the endocrine system by binding to estrogen receptors. Exposure to parabens can disrupt the menstrual cycle and increase risk of hormone-related cancers (like breast cancer). Phthalates are the compound found in many plastics, aerosol sprays, paints, pesticides, cosmetics, and fragrances. Similar to parabens, phthalates can mimic estrogen and testosterone function, interfering with hormone production and fertility for both women and men.

BPA, BPS, and BPF

BPA (bisphenol A) is a chemical that is commonly found in polycarbonate plastics (the ones used in food and beverage containers) and epoxy resins (which are used to coat the inside of metal products such as food cans and bottle tops). BPS (bisphenol S) and (bisphenol F) are used in some plastics as an alternative to BPA — but unfortunately they still contain harmful chemicals that have similar endocrine disrupting properties. BPA, BPS, and BPF can impact fertility, contribute to insulin resistance, and increase risk of hormone related cancers (such as breast cancer and prostate cancer).

In essence, if your products contain fragrance, parabens, phthalates, BPA, BPS, BPF, or other plastics, they’re messing with your hormones!

1. Glade Plug-Ins

Glade stinks, and not in the way you think! While air-freshener brands commonly market themselves as clean and refreshing, we need to air on the side of caution when considering the products (and chemicals) we bring into our homes.

According to a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 86% of air fresheners tested contained phthalates! Many of these air-fresheners also contain harmful chemicals including formaldehyde, naphthalene, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). While Glade discloses the contents of its fragrances in a master list online, the list contains over 1,500 ingredients and doesn’t specify which chemicals appear in which products, making it challenging to distinguish between products that are your friends and those that are your foes.

Stop Trying to Make Artificial Fragrance Happen. It’s Not Going to Happen!​

Not ready to part ways with your signature scents? You can still achieve an aromatic household by diffusing essential oils — And the best part is you can combine and customize your essential oil scents to your liking. The most important thing to remember with essential oils — or any product in general — is to be selective about the brands you choose and opt for quality processes and products.

If candles are more your flavor, reach for beeswax candles! While soy candles are better than traditional paraffin wax candles, the majority of soy harvested in the US has been genetically modified to withstand glyphosate (aka RoundUp) — so essentially, burning soy candles releases harmful chemicals into the air you breathe! Beeswax is the best option, but with that being said it depends on the quality of wax and quality of candle wick too.

2. Water Bottle Choices

Water bottles come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, and selecting the right one can make a big difference in your health and well-being! While plastic and disposable bottles are convenient, they can pose risks if exposed to excessive heat, like being left in the sun all day, or physical stress such as squeezing and crushing. This can cause the plastic to break down, leading to the leakage of micro plastics and harmful chemicals into your drinking water.

On Wednesdays We Hydrate!

Choosing stainless steel or glass water bottles that are BPA-free, like Hydroflask, Camelbak, Nalgene, Kleen Kanteen, and Owala, is a smart move for staying hydrated safely. However, it’s important to remember that even trusted brands can have surprises! The Stanley Cup has recently gained media attention due to concerns about the lead content in its insulation sealant. While the risk of exposure with regular use is low, this situation emphasizes the importance of verifying the quality of your water bottle to mitigate any potential health concerns!

Reducing Endocrine Disruptors

3. Non-Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Pesticides are not your pals. While these chemicals are effective at keeping bugs at bay, they end up sneaking into our fruits and veggies. And when we chow down on these treated foods, those chemicals find their way into our bodies too.

Is Butter a Carb? No, But Pesticides Might Be.

Opt for pesticide-free produce, whenever you can! You can find these fresh fruits and vegetables at your local grocery store or farmers’ market, proudly labeled as organic. Fill your plate with organic options — your taste buds and health will thank you!

4. Makeup Choices

Foundations, powders, eyeshadows, eyeliners, bronzers, and glosses galore! Whether your makeup routine is as simple as a moisturizer and SPF, or each day presents a new canvas to experiment with, being mindful of the products you use matters. With so many options lining the shelves, choosing clean products can feel overwhelming!

You’re Like, Really Pretty… But Are Your Cosmetics?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has made identifying safe products easy! The EWG’s Skin Deep website has tested over 100,000 products and verified over 2000 products that meet the strictest standards for transparency and health. The EWG’s Healthy Living App also allows you to scan and identify household products that are safe or hazardous to health!

5. Food Storage and Packaging

When in doubt, avoid the plastic route. The choices we make in how we prepare, store, or purchase our foods significantly impact our exposure level. Many foods come pre-packaged in plastic containers or wrapped in plastic film. While convenient, these packaging materials may contain harmful endocrine disruptors like BPA or phthalates.

Plastics, So Last Season.

Buying in bulk, opting for items packaged in glass or cardboard, and choosing fresh produce that don’t require packaging can help to reduce overall exposure to plastic-related chemicals. Additionally, plastic Tupperware, Saran Wrap, and styrofoam take-out containers are known to leach harmful chemicals into our food, especially when reheated in the microwave. Wherever possible, prioritize using beeswax wraps, silicone food covers, and glass food containers over their plastic counterparts!

Free From Endocrine Disruptors

Eliminating Endocrine Disruptors - So Fetch!

While individual exposures may not seem harmful, their cumulative effect can overwhelm our body’s detoxification systems! Endocrine disruptors can be pesky, so don’t overlook their impact on your body. Awareness of where these perfumes, parabens, and plastics lurk is the first step to minimizing your exposure; Supporting your body’s detox process and hormone function is the next step!

It’s important to work with a provider who considers all aspects of the coin — your symptoms, labs, ability to eliminate toxins, and even lifestyle — when evaluating the best options to support your body. Take the next step in restoring hormonal balance and elevating your health; Schedule an appointment with our team today!