Have you been told to choose products that are BPA-free and Phthalate-free but don't quite understand why? We are going to go over some basics about endocrine disruptors and why you want to avoid them as much as possible.
The endocrine system is made up of the following glands which are required to regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction sleep and mood*:
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. Research shows that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming*.
We have taken several chemicals from EWG's Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors and added some product suggestions.
- Mimics the sex hormone estrogen.
- Linked to cancers (including breast), reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease.
- Look for BPA-free on the packaging.
Phthalates (found in PVC and "added fragrance")
- Accelerates cell death rate.
- Links to hormone changes, lower sperm count, less mobile sperm, birth defects in the male reproductive system, obesity, diabetes and thyroid irregularities.
- Look for Pthalate-free on the packaging. Avoid products with PVC and added fragrance.
- Lowers sex hormone levels.
- Linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and depression.
- Also linked to non-endocrine system issues such as permanent brain damage, lowered IQ, hearing loss, miscarriage, premature birth, increased blood pressure, kidney damage and nervous system problems.
- Choose lead-free products and get a good water filtration system if you have high levels in your water system.
- Binds to one particular hormone that regulates women's menstrual cycle and ovulation. Also damages pancreatic cells.
- Linked to birth defects (affects fetal brain development) and diabetes.
- Choose fish that are low in mercury (e.g. wild salmon, haddock).
- Interferes with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowers testosterone and alters thyroid hormone levels.
- Linked to brain development, behavior and fertility issues.
- Choose organic fruits and vegetables when possible and wash thoroughly.
- Imitates and disrupts thyroid hormones.
- Linked to lower IQ.
- For bedding we recommend getting the Zip & Block Mattress Cover which will keep any emitting odors inside. You can get this cover in any size from crib mattress to king size.
- We recommend not buying curtains labelled as blackout blinds with a plastic side as they contain several detrimental chemicals (you will notice a smell). We recommend getting a thick heavy curtain instead like Ikea's Vilborg curtains.
Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs)
- Affects thyroid and sex hormone levels.
- Linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease and high cholesterol.
- Avoid non-stick cookware, and stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.
- Linked to asthma, allergies, blood abnormality, low sperm count, fertility and birth defects.
- Found in paints (choose ZERO VOC), cleaning products, brake fluids and cosmetics.