All About Endocrine Disruptors

From pesticides to plastics to personal care products, you’ve heard me talk a lot about “endocrine disruptors”. Today I’m breaking down what they are, where they are most commonly found + some hopeful data about our control over exposure.

Endocrine disruptors are natural and manmade substances that are able to mimic, block or interfere with the production or action of naturally occuring hormones in your body. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Studies, Endocrine Disruptors can

  • Mimic or partly mimic naturally occurring hormones in the body like estrogens (the female sex hormone), androgens (the male sex hormone), and thyroid hormones, potentially producing overstimulation.

  • Bind to a receptor within a cell and block the endogenous hormone from binding. The normal signal then fails to occur and the body fails to respond properly. Examples of chemicals that block or antagonize hormones are anti-estrogens and anti-androgens.

  • Interfere or block the way natural hormones or their receptors are made or controlled, for example, by altering their metabolism in the liver.

Your hormones are your body’s messengers regulating fertility, weight, temperature, digestion, stress and more. Endocrine Disruptors (EDCs) can send mixed messages through your body and when this happens daily from chronic exposure it can result in a number of hormonal imbalances and associated symptoms such as estrogen dominance, thyroid disfunction, endometriosis, some cancers, infertility, weight control challenges, loss of hair, poor sleep, mood swings, skin issues, sleep issues, cognitive disfunction + more.

EDCs can be both naturally occurring and manmade including pharmaceuticals, dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides + plasticizers. They are found in everyday items like plastic bottles, food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, toothpaste, skincare, shampoo, pots+pans, perfume+produce.

Some of the top ways to protect yourself + reduce your exposure to EDCs:

  • Use a lot less plastic - from plastic lined coffee cups (yes those to-go cups are lined with plasticizers) to water bottles, cutlery and straws, we expose ourselves to plastic all day everyday. Shop the Pop Of Health Store for plastic free alternatives.

  • Switch out Teflon cookware for cast iron, stainless or ceramic varieties. We really love Lodge cast iron, Finex, Staub, Xtrema and Le Creuset.

  • Swap skincare + makeup for safer options - start with items you use most and work backwards. I personally use and educate for Beautycounter. You can contact me directly and I will help color match you or pick the best safer swaps for your lifestyle and skin. I do it everyday for people so don’t be shy! I am here to help.

  • Reduce flame retardants in your home by opting for safer rugs, mattresses and upholstered furniture.

  • Ditch the chemical-laden cleaning supplies and choose essential-oil based products like those from SQUEAK (Use code POPOFHEALTH for 15% off your order)

  • Ditch the perfume and candles with undisclosed synthetic fragrance most of which is derived from petroleum. Opt for safer brands like Henry Rose for perfume and Big Dipper Wax Works or Milk+Honey for candles.

  • Choose organic meats, dairy, grains and produce whenever possible. Prioritize the Dirty Dozen most heavily sprayed crops as well as what you eat the most each week.

  • Make sure water is clean. Have your water tested and then identify the best solution for you.

While it may feel daunting, findings from the HERMOSA Intervention Study offer hope and a reminder that WE hold the keys to our health. The study found that by choosing personal care products like soaps, shampoos, and makeup that are free of harmful EDCs, like parabens, phthalates, triclosan and more, you can decrease the concentration of Endocrine Disruptors in your urine by nearly HALF in just three days.

Read more from the HERMOSA Intervention Study here.

Each and every day we have opportunities to add or detract from our exposure and this is proof those choices matter. With even small swaps we can drive down the number and toll of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals on our bodies and health. What is one swap you can make today to lessen your toxic burden tomorrow? Drop me a comment below and you just might inspire someone else to join you in your journey.