You exercise regularly, you eat healthy and done other things to clean your personal environment in your home including ditching BPA bottles, thowing out the Drano and stop using pesticides to kill spiders. But, unknowingly, you may still be exposing your self to serious levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCS). Research shows the EDSs can hijack hormonal systems in your brain and thyroid, putting you at risk for diabetes, unexplained weight gain, asthma and cancer. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, links exposure to EDCs called phthalates – found in beauty products, processed foods and plastics – to a 13 percent lower testosterone level in men ages 40 to 60.
According to Heather Patisaul, a biology professor at North Carolina State University specializing in EDCs, “we’re swimming in a soup of nealry 90,000 chemicals, most of which have not been tested for endocrine disruption or safety. It is not something to panic over but simple lifesyle changes can cut exposure and reduce risks,” using these simple strategies:
- Ditch Chemical Cleaners: Most detergents and household cleaners are full of EDCs, which you inhale and absorb through your skin. “Cleaning products are not required to list ingredients,’ says Caroline Cox of the Center for Environmental health, “so even if they’re marketed as ‘green’ or ‘natural,’ you don’t really know what’s in them.” Choose products that carry the EPA’s Design for the Environment seal, which Cox says certifies that products are safe.
- Store food in metal or glass: One major sourch of phthalates is plastic food-storage containers and plastic wraps. “the longer plastic is in contact with food, the more likely EDCs are to migrate,” says Rolf Haden, director of the Center for Environmental Security at Arizona State University. Microwaving makes the phthalates leech even more quickly. Put your leftovers in glass or ceramic and pack lunches in stainless steel versus plastic bags.
- Use old-fashioned soap: For your sink and shower, you want plain bar soap. Antibacterial soaps and body washes often contain either triclosan, which mimics a thyroid hormone and can affect your metabolism, or triclocarban, which may interfere with testosterone, Haden says. “Besides posing a health risk there’s zero proof synthetics clean any better than regular soap.”
- Limit packaged foods: Anything mass produced and wrapped is suspect of containing high levels of phthalates. It’s impossible to avoid packaged food entirely, so as much as you can “eat fresh foods that have undergone as little porcessing as possible,” says Joh Meeker, an EDC researcher and dean at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
- Upgrade your couch: Furniture with foam is often treated with brominated flame retardants and one common type, called PBDEs, can impair thyroid function and brain development, says Gina Solomon, Deputy Secretary for Science and Health at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Replace the foam lining in your mattress or couch cushions with fire retardant-free foam, or buy a new model and double-check the brand via the watchdog website http://www.greenscienceepolicy.org.
- Avoid synthetic fragrance: Air fresheners, candles, hand lotion, if it’s scented, you can bet it contains EDCs. “Phthalates are wonderful carries of fragrance,” Patisaul says. “That ‘new car’ smell? That comes from phthalates releasing into the air.” Eliminate all scented home and body products and look for brands that specifically say they’re phthalate-free, or that use natural, plant-based oils.
These are a few of many inexpensive and simple ways you can be detoxing your house today. Take some time and look for ways to improve your living environment. Besides, you don’t know what might be killing you.
Source: Men’s Journal, November 2014