Can Toxic Household Products Affect Your Hormones?
Our bodies are not equipped to detoxify everything that has been produced in recent years - the average household is said to contain 62 toxic chemicals!
Our bodies are not equipped to detoxify everything that has been produced in recent years - the average household is said to contain 62 toxic chemicals! In testing 21 commonly used household cleaners, Environmental Working Group found that the cleaners emitted more than 450 chemicals into the air. Less than 3% of synthetic chemicals have been fully tested for their toxicity, carcinogenic, or birth defects, and most haven’t been tested for long term effects - how these moderately new chemicals in the abundant amount we use them and how they alter the human body remains to be seen.
Unfortunately, the regulations on harmful toxins in everyday household products aren’t as strict as we would like to think they are. We could probably go crazy trying to control the chemical load of everything that we put in our household environment. Since its not possible (or healthy!) to worry about everything, it is important to be mindful of what we can control, and that starts with the products that we buy and use on a regular basis, such as cleaning products. From dish detergent to glass cleaner to soap, there are so many endocrine-disrupting chemicals that over time have detrimental effects on our overall health, but more specifically, our hormonal health.
Our endocrine systems are especially susceptible to imbalances, and more specifically a class of chemicals called xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are man-made chemicals that affect our bodies’ levels of natural estrogen and our ability to excrete it. Both of these very delicate and important processes influence all the hormones in our endocrine system and their wide variety of functions. Xenoestrogens are also linked to estrogen-related cancers such as breast cancer and testicular cancer, as well as a wide variety of prevalent health issues such as endometriosis, fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, polycystic ovarian syndrome, reduced androgens, gynecomastia, and uterine fibroids. Studies have shown that infants exposed in the women to cleaning products used by their mothers may suffer lower IQ, low birth weight, wheezing and respiratory symptoms that persist throughout life.
There are countless toxic chemicals that contribute to many health issues, and its important to aware of these when reading ingredients lists: BPA (Bisphenol-A), Sulfates, Phthalates, Parabens, Triclosan, Doxins, Ureas, Atrazine, Perchlorate, PFOAs, pesticides, glycol, petrolatum or petroleum. BPA is commonly found in lining of canned foods and other packaged materials, tupperware, receipts, as well as plastic bottles. Even if they are labelled “BPA free”, if it’s malleable plastic its most likely a BPA derivative and just as harmful. BPA has been linked to breast cancers, reproductive and fertility issues, obesity, and early puberty. Phthalates are used to make plastic malleable, and incur death inducing signals in testicular cells.
There are many benefits of using toxin-free products, including the impact on the environment. What is harmful to our bodies is just as harmful to plants and wildlife. Aquatic life is just as affected by phthalates as humans. Eco-friendly cleaning products are often multi purpose, made with recyclable packaging, and cruelty free as well.
Looking to make a change to safer, non-toxic products?
Here's how to start:
1. Start buying cleaner household cleaning products. We like Attitude All Purpose Cleaner and their bathroom tile cleaner. We also use Dr.Bronner’s Castile Soap for mutli-purpose hand soap, dish soap and cleaner.
2. Ditch your Teflon cookware and replace it with cast iron, stainless steel cookware, or anything without free or non-stick coatings.
3. Say goodbye to your air fresheners and synthetically fragranced candles! These can emit up to 100 different chemicals including volatile organic compounds and semi- volatile organic compounds such as phthalates. No thanks! Invest in a diffuser, or 100% soy or beeswax candles that are scented with essential oils.
4. Invest in glass containers, and commit to reheating food in glass in the oven. Say goodbye to your plastic Tupperware, as its full of Bisphenol A Plastic (BPA), Bisphenol S Plastic (BPS), and Phthalates. Do not heat or microwave foods in plastics, as this increases the toxicity tenfold, and avoid plastics marked with a “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7. Avoid plastic food containers, children’s toys, and PVC plastic wrap with the recycling label #3.
5. Commit to replacing your cosmetics and personal care products when they run out. Look to the ingredients list and avoid products that read “fragrance”. Use EWG’s Skin Deep Database for phthalate free cosmetics.
6. Avoid dryer sheets. One of the most toxic things in the home, these are easily replaced with wool dryer balls scented with essential oils.
7. Replace the shower curtain. This is one that no one ever thinks of. The shower curtain liner emits PVC, which is not ideal, especially since chemicals are off-gassed at a higher rate when it is heated by your hot shower!
8. Support the liver! Its important to be supporting the detoxification pathways that lessen this toxin load on the body.
It can feel overwhelming to find out that these harmful chemicals are in everything from makeup to cookware. It really is just a lifestyle adjustment that needs to be made, but can be done slowly over time. Start with the stuff you use every day, and slowly replace the chemical filled ones with better alternatives. Every bit counts!
Written by Maddie Battle
Maddie Battle is a Holistic Nutritionist based in Vancouver, BC. Maddie is the owner of Natural Balance Wellness, her private practice where she specializes in women’s health and hormone balance. She can be found on Instagram @balancewithmaddie and www.naturalbalancenutrition.com
Find the best toxin-free household products and so much more at Vitarock. Shop with confidence, knowing all our wellness products have been pre-screened to be PURE, GREEN, SAFE, and FAIR. Founded by a fellow mom, Alicja is one of Canada’s most respected experts in natural product quality and safety.