The endocrine system is a complex network of glands and hormones that regulates many of the body’s functions, including growth, development and maturation, as well as the way various organs operate.
The endocrine glands – including the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, thymus, pancreas, ovaries and testes – release carefully-measured amounts of hormones into the bloodstream that act as natural chemical messengers, traveling to different parts of the body in order to control and adjust many life functions.
In the last two decades there has been a growing awareness of the possible adverse effects in humans and wildlife from exposure to chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine system.
These effects can include:
• Developmental malformations,
• Interference with reproduction,
• Increased cancer risk; and
• Disturbances in the immune and nervous system function.
Implementing the following measures will help you avoid the worst endocrine-disrupting culprits as well as other chemicals from a wide variety of sources. To sum it up, try to stick with whole foods and natural products around your home. The fewer ingredients a product contains, the better, and try to make sure anything you put on or in your body – or use around your home – contains only substances you’re familiar with
• As much as possible, buy and eat organic produce and vegan foods to reduce your exposure to added hormones, pesticides, and fertilizers. Especially avoid milk and other dairy products that contain the genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST).
• Buy products that come in glass bottles or jars rather than plastic or canned, since chemicals can leach out of plastics and into the contents.
• Store your food and beverages in glass rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap.
• Use glass baby bottles and avoid plastic sippy cups for your little ones.
• Eat mostly raw, fresh foods. Processed, prepackaged foods (of all kinds) are a common source of chemicals such as BPA and phthalates.
• Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware.
• Filter your tap water—both for drinking and bathing. Reverse osmosis filters are the most effective.
• Look for products that are made by companies that are earth-friendly, animalfriendly, green, non-toxic, and/or 100% organic. This applies to everything from food and personal care products to building materials, carpeting, paint, baby items, upholstery, and more.
• Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove house dust, which is often contaminated with traces of chemicals.
• Avoid stain- and water-resistant clothing, furniture, and carpets to avoid perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).
• Minimize your use of plastic baby and child toys, opting for those made of natural wood or fabric instead. Only use natural cleaning products in your home or make your own.
• Switch over to organic brands of toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, antiperspirants, and cosmetics. You can replace many different products with coconut oil and baking soda, for example.
• Avoid artificial air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, or other synthetic fragrances.
• Look for products that are fragrance-free. One artificial fragrance can contain hundreds – even thousands – of potentially toxic chemicals.
• Replace your vinyl shower curtain with one made of fabric.