Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors

The American based Environmental Working Group, which publishes a yearly dirty dozen and clean fifteen list of fruit and vegetables, has just released a dirty dozen list of endocrine disruptors.  This list contains a number of chemicals that can mimic or disrupt the hormonal balance in our body and can increase our risk of developing different types of cancer and other health concerns.  

The dirty dozen endocrine disruptors include:  
BPA  - which is a chemical found in plastics and is in the lining of many food cans, thermal paper receipts, and plastic products.
Dioxins - which are industrial toxins that have infiltrated the food supply and are especially found in higher fat foods like meat, dairy, and eggs.
Atrazine - which is a chemical used on corn crops and has infiltrated the water supply.
Phthalates - which are chemicals also found in plastics and are in food containers, plastic wrap, children's toys, as well as in fragrance containing/scented body care products.
Perchlorate - which is found in rocket fuel and has also infiltrated the food and water supply.
Fire retardants - which are found in foam furniture, carpet padding, and mattresses.
Lead- which is a heavy metal and is found in old paint and has infiltrated the water supply.
Arsenic - which is also a heavy metal and has also infiltrated the water supply.
Mercury - which is a heavy metal that gets into the air and oceans through burning coal and is found in fish. 
Perfluorinated Chemicals/PFCs - which are found in non stick cookware and stain/water resistant clothes/furniture/carpet.
Organophosphate Pesticides - which are some of the more commonly used pesticides currently and have infiltrated the food supply.

Glycol Ethers - which are solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid and cosmetics.

The pervasiveness of many of these compounds can feel pretty overwhelming.  It is important to understand the nutrients and antioxidants from the foods that we eat (even if they aren't certified organic), the antioxidant rich supplements we might take, the exercise we do, and the positive stress release activities we have in our routines (meditation, journaling) all help to strengthen our body's ability to manage these compounds.  Some other relatively easy positive steps we can take to limit some of our exposure include:  switching to natural based body care products and cleaners, using glass storage containers, using non stick cookware, buying certified organic food when possible, drinking filtered water.
For more info on the Environmental Working Group's dirty dozen endocrine disruptors list, see their website at