Just the name, Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals, often simply called Endocrine Disruptors, sounds a little bit creepy! What is an endocrine anyway? Is it a good idea to disrupt it?
Well, first of all, we don’t have an endocrine, we have an endocrine system. By definition, any tissue or organ that excretes hormones into the blood stream is part of the endocrine system. Those hormones move through the blood stream to receptor sites throughout the body. Some of the familiar endocrine organs include the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, the ovaries and the testicles …. and there are many more. There are more than 50 currently identified hormones that control a vast array of bodily functions.
Now enters the “not good for you in any way” Endocrine Disruptor Chemical effect. Endocrine Disruptors are substances that are made outside of the body that bind with our hormone receptor sites or disrupt production of hormones and cause our natural, healthy, elaborate endocrine function to be thrown off. When that happens, all sorts of chaos can occur.
BPA is a classic endocrine disruptor chemical that gets into our foods. Take a look at how BPA exposure is linked to prostate cancer. Other common endocrine disruptors include chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides (weed killers). The TEDX List of potential endocrine disruptors (last updated in Oct ’13) has over 1,000 chemicals with documented and published scientific data for causing problems.
Of course, some chemicals are more toxic than others ….and the amount and duration of exposure will play a big part in how toxic an endocrine disruptor chemical might be. In 1996, the EPA started efforts to track and understand the impact of endocrine disruptors. The information keeps growing. In the current issue of Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America, they looked at several studies that linked airborne endocrine disruptive chemicals to obesity. This is just the latest published study!!
We seem to be surrounded by a ridiculous amount of chemical exposure that can lead to every imaginable health issue. We cannot completely avoid it. So, what to do? Well you could just throw in the towel and give –up …. but you are smarter than that! Good for you … so am I. My recommendation is to be aware and use good judgment. Start with the foods you feed to your family! My fellow Oaties are a great source of smart and helpful information.
The Environmental Working Group has published its “Dirty Dozen of Endocrine Disruptors” list …. this gives only the top twelve offenders. Oh, and BPA is #1!
Other harmful chemicals are found in carpeting, paint, furniture, cleaners, all sorts of household items.
Look, I know we can’t completely avoid the disruptors but at least we should try to minimize our exposure. Our endocrine system is such a beautiful thing, give it a little love!