I was standing next to a projector with a powerpoint presentation illuminated on the wall. The room was cozy, with the wafting scent of coffee. There were plates with crumbs and bits of fruit sitting on tables that had been placed side-by-side and end-to-end to accommodate the group of women surrounding them.
As my colleague was speaking, I caught the glance of a couple of women whose pleasantly nodding heads had suddenly became puzzled scrunched-up faces. The unsettling moment came when the term “endocrine-disrupting chemicals” was mentioned. I scanned other faces and discovered similar face contortions and knew we had some explaining to do. These were highly educated women and even one woman who had chimed in several times that morning, and professed to know pretty much everything, wasn’t familiar with the term.
While we thought most people had heard about endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which are also called hormone-disrupting chemicals, we were mistaken. And for anyone with a health issue, or who has a loved one with a health issue, they are really important.
Hundreds of studies have linked EDCs to a higher risk of developing diabetes, obesity, thyroid disorders, infertility, hormone-related cancers (including breast, prostate, and ovarian), neurological issues, developmental problems in kids and other disorders.
Know anyone with one of these diseases or conditions?
Yes – I thought so.
There is extensive information available on EDCs. Rather than alarm and overwhelm you, my intention is to share some very basic topline information that you can easily digest and immediately put into action.
WHAT ARE EDCs?
Let’s start with the endocrine system, which Live Sciences describes as: “the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep and mood, among other things.”
So logically, an endocrine or hormone-disrupting chemical is a substance that interferes with metabolism, growth and development, tissue function (every cell in our bodies), reproduction, sleep, and mood - pretty much everything in our body!
HOW CAN THEY AFFECT YOU?
EDCs are widespread. They include substances like BPA (which I’m sure you’ve heard of), found in the linings of canned foods and beverages, and that coat cash-register receipts. They are also found in flame retardants in furniture, as well as everyday items like scented candles, cleaning products, air fresheners, cosmetics, and in the pesticides that are applied to much of our food.
According to the Endocrine Society, “EDCs contribute to health problems by mimicking, blocking, or otherwise interfering with the body's natural hormones. By hijacking the body's chemical messengers, EDCs can alter the way cells develop and grow.”
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Regulation is poor, so until additional protective laws are put in place, here are a few tips from Rodale Wellness to protect you and your loved ones from EDCs:
• Opt for fresh or frozen foods and avoid canned food and beverages (even BPA-free ones) whenever possible
• Purge plastic from your life
• Say no to trivial receipts that are often coated in BPA that easily is absorbed through your skin into your bloodstream
• Stop burning scented candles and avoid air fresheners, scented plug-ins, and other artificial fragrances
• Eat whole, organic foods as much as possible to avoid pesticides inside of food
• Avoid exposing younger household members even to natural fragrances like certain essential oils. Lavender and tea tree oil can have potent effects as estrogen mimickers, so their use by young children should be avoided.
If you’d like to learn more, I recommend this article from Rodale for additional information. I also welcome your questions and comments. Simply Comment and I’d be happy to respond.
P.S. So, yes – your exposure to chemicals may be impacting your health, including sabotaging your efforts to lose weight. If you’d like to learn more, please schedule a complimentary 30-minute chat. Scheduling is easy with my online booking system: Schedule Now
Wishing you well!