12 Chemicals That Are Screwing Up Your Hormones
The world can be a toxic place sometimes, can't it? While technological innovations have in many cases made our lives better (see: Vitamix), "progress" can often bring unwanted toxins into our homes and lives.
That's why it's important to arm yourself with information about what sort of chemicals may be making their way into your body. Fortunately, the Environmental Working Group this week released its Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors, 12 hormone-altering chemicals that can be found in everything from drinking water to cleaning products. So keep an eye out for these bad boys, and protect yourself from a hormonal roller coaster ride!
This is the name of a highly toxic group of chemicals found all over the world—both in nature, and also as byproducts of manufacturing—basically, everywhere! 90% of our exposure to dioxins is from eating animal products, which is why the EWG recommends limiting consumption of animal products in order to reduce intake. Dioxins can increase stress hormone levels, hurt your immune system, and they can cause liver damage and skin lesions. Because these toxins can be found in human breast milk, it's a good idea to eat a varied diet, to minimize your exposure to any one toxin.
Ah, our old friend phthalates. Many MindBodyGreen readers are familiar with this toxin class, members of which are found in common beauty products and plastic containers. But did you know that phthalates can induce apoptosis in immune system cells? In plain speech, phthalates can destroy part of your immune system, so toss any lotion or cream that contains them!
Fire retardants (PBDEs)
Yes, that's a picture of butter for the slide that says "fire retardants." Why? Because compounds called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which are used as a fire retardant, have made their way into our groundwater, thereby contaminating our food and water supply. That's all fun and games — until your thyroid function suffers and the weight of your sexual organs changes. Unfortunately, these chemicals are so widespread that the EWG believes legislative action will be required to curb their effects.
We have one word for you: biomagnification. The one positive aspect of mercury's well-known status as a neurotoxin is that many of the world's political leaders have finally recognized mercury's damaging effects, and have signed the Minamata Convention to reduce pollution caused by this heavy metal.
Perchlorates aren't just components of rocket fuel: they're also in fertilizers and groundwater! This is a bummer for your thyroid, which perchlorates can attack, in turn messing up your metabolism.