What is an endocrine disruptor, you may ask? It’s a chemical which can, in the words of the WHO, “be associated with altered reproductive function in males and females; increased incidence of breast cancer, abnormal growth patterns and neurodevelopmental delays in children, as well as changes in immune function. Human exposure to EDCs (Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals) occurs via ingestion of food, dust and water, via inhalation of gases and particles in the air, and through the skin. EDCs can also be transferred from the pregnant woman to the developing fetus or child through the placenta and breast milk.” Many of these EDCs are linked to endometriosis, early menopause, disrupted thyroid function, low fertility in both men and women, hormonal imbalances and even cancer. So when we begin speaking of menstrual health and irregularities, this should be one of the first factors we look at. Let me show you some of the names that endocrine disruptors go for: BPA and BPS (bisphenol A and bisphenol S) Dioxins such as DDT Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane Heavy metals: mercury, lead… PBDE’s (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), also known as flame retardants PCB’s (polychlorinated biphenyls) Pesticides (atrazine, glyphosate…) Phthalates Sulphates Synthetic xenoestrogens (not to be confused with Phytoestrogens, which are beneficial) One could go completely crazy going shopping and having to check the label of every single product, right? So I’m going to help you out to make that easier. Some apps that help you scan the products and know within seconds whether it has EDCs or not:
- Think Dirty
- INCI (cosmetics only)
When I started realising how many supermarket or grocery store products I couldn’t trust, I swapped my shopping and started ordering most of our cosmetics and cleaning products through Young Living. I order once a month so I can save on delivery fees, and for every euro I spend I collect points to exchange for free products. Right now you’re probably thinking: what if I already have these products at home and/or I can’t scan them? Here’s where to look for them: IN YOUR BATHROOM: shampoo, conditioner, soap, moisturisers, acne related products, air fresheners, fragrances and perfume, deodorant… MAKE-UP PRODUCTS: primer, foundation, eye shadow, lipstick and lipgloss, blush, eyeliner, mascara, make-up remover, nail polish, nail polish remover… MENSTRUAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS: tampons, pads, intimate gels… YOUR KITCHEN: food (meat, fish, milk, eggs, butter), plastic food containers, metal cans, non-stick cookware… CLEANING PRODUCTS: oven cleaner, laundry detergent, bathroom sprays, bleaching agents… YOUR BEDROOM: bedding, clothing, foam cushions and other textiles YOUR LIVING ROOM: plastic cases of televisions and computers, electronics, carpets, lighting, foam cushions, mattresses and textiles YOUR CAR: electronics, car components, tires Some people use them up and then make a healthier choice the next time they purchase. Others throw them out right away because they don’t want to have toxic chemicals in their homes anymore. Whichever of these options (or a different one) you go for, will be the right one for you. There isn’t just one right way to take care of yourself. Now that you know what to look for and what to avoid, it will get easier and easier to spot what’s better for you. Remember practice makes perfection!
Environmental Working Group https://www.ewg.org/search?fullsearch=endocrine+disruptors
European Commission https://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/endocrine/definitions/endodis_en.htm