Hormones secreted by your endocrine system coordinate different functions in your body by delivering messages to your organs, skin, muscles and other tissues. These messages then tell your body what to do and when to do it. Hormones influence metabolism, growth and development, emotions and mood, fertility, sexual function, sleep and blood pressure, among other things.
Endocrine disruptors interfere with these by disrupting the way your hormones work. Some EDCs trick your body into thinking that they are hormones, while others prevent hormones from doing their job. Some also increase or decrease the levels of hormones in your blood by interfering with how they are made, broken down or stored in your body. Others, on the other hand, alter your body's sensitivity to different hormones.
Many endocrine disruptors are found in common household products, such as the following:
Studies link BPA exposure to an increased risk of infertility, cancer and metabolic disorders like diabetes. BPA exposure during pregnancy can also increase a child's risk of developing diabetes and heart disease later in life. Meanwhile, a fluorinated analog of BPA known as bisphenol AF is associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer.
PCB exposure during pregnancy, on the other hand, can affect a fetus's brain development, while pesticide exposure can predispose premenopausal women to heart disease and inflammation. Meanwhile, exposure to high levels of phthalates can reduce testosterone levels and cause early menopause.
Both triclosan and flame retardants can negatively impact the immune system. On top of disrupting the endocrine system, studies show that the use of triclosan also contributes to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Meanwhile, flame retardants can interfere with fetal and child development as well as reproduction. (Related: Scientist says sperm counts are dropping so low that human reproduction may soon be a thing of the past.)
While some endocrine disruptors are already banned, these chemicals can remain in the environment and food supply for decades. In fact, some EDCs can be stored in your fat cells for years after exposure and be passed on to your children during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.
Check out the following tips to minimize your exposure to EDCs:
Exposure to endocrine disruptors can cause several different health problems, including cancer, diabetes and infertility. While these toxic chemicals are present almost everywhere, there are ways to minimize your exposure to endocrine disruptors.
Chemicals.news has more about endocrine disruptors and other toxic chemicals.