The World Health Organization and the UN Environment Programme tagged a class of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors a “global health threat.” And there are plenty of reasons for you to be alarmed about that.
These potent chemicals are harmful and can affect your endocrine system, the very system that regulates your hormones in which disruption can result in a number of chronic diseases and even infertility.
“Never has there been a time in history that the disease burden of the human population is predominantly chronic disease, not communicable or infectious disease,” Thomas Zoeller, PhD, professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a coauthor of the report, told us at the time. “We can’t prove that this is related to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, but we can’t continue to deny their impact.”
Here’s the list of the top 9 most toxic chemicals found in your home:
WHAT: It’s like a pesticide and can cause cancer. And yep, it’s rated as highly toxic. It can decrease fertility rate, jumpstart diabetes, cause endometriosis, and bring forth a number of immune system problems. It can also reduce testosterone levels, contribute to miscarriages, and reduce sperm counts and quality.
WHERE: Garbage incineration facilities produce them. But the huge quantities of it in the air come from bleaching of paper and wood pulp. It can be deposited in the fatty tissues of animals that you eat.
SOLUTION: Minimize your consumption of fatty meat like pork and dairy products.
Bisphenol A, or BPA
WHAT: It’s an endocrine disruptor that acts like estrogen. BPA was first introduced in 1930s as a synthetic estrogen given to women. Exposure to this can lead to fertility problems in genders, early puberty ion girls, decreased sperm production in men and even a high risk of miscarriage. It can also interfere with basic hormones that influences heart function, body weight and sugar control.
WHERE: It is found in the linings of food cans, and it’s used as a coating on receipts. Some plastic products still has it. It is actually hard to perfectly pinpoint where they are because there are no laws that require companies to disclose how they use this chemical.
SOLUTION: Ditch canned goods; go for fresh and organic alternatives. Reduce skin contact with those receipts you get from shopping.
WHAT: Tested on fish and frogs, the chemical changed the gender of the said animals. In humans, atrazine causes infertility on genetic level.
WHERE: Herbicides contain atrazine and according to sources around 86 percent of atrazine in the US is applied to corn.
SOLUTION: Go organic. Organic farmers do not use toxic synthetic herbicides like atrazine. Also, eat less meat as farm animals consume corn often grown with atrazine.
WHAT: Phthalates faced a lot of controversy after boys born of women that were exposed to high phthalate suffered from abnormal genitals. The compound interferes with testosterone and estradiol, a hormone that affects breast development. Researchers also found out that women with breast cancer have higher levels of phthalates than those without.
WHERE: Your home’s flooring, shower curtains, synthetic leather, and other products made with PVC vinyl all have phthalates. Phthalates keeps plastics flexible. It is also found in nail polishes, paints, and furniture finishes as well as plastic wraps and food containers.
SOLUTION: Stay away from material with synthetic fragrance and store your food only in glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers.
WHAT: Perchlorate interferes with your thyroid and destroys your metabolism. It also affects your ability to absorb iodine with in turn disrupts your glands’ functions.
WHERE: The compound is a material in rocket fuel and is also found in fireworks and safety flares. It can be absorb in soil and move into groundwater so it can also be found in food and water.
SOLUTION: You can’t really avoid the chemical but its effects can be countered by taking in good amounts of iodine, think of iodized salt and seafood.
WHAT: The chemical is supposed to keep you safe, at least from fire but it has a negative impact on the thyroid and on female infertility. A special class of flame retardants known as PBDEs also lowers IQ of children.
WHERE: Furniture, carpet, curtains, beddings etc. A lot of things in your home are now fire retardant. Even the chair you could be sitting at the moment. Some appliances also have flame retardants in them.
SOLUTION: Clean everything. Dust and vacuum on a regular basis. Cleaning your area removes dusts where flame retardant molecules can hatch into. That way, it’s entry to your body system is minimized.
WHAT: Lead interferes with hormones that regulate your stress levels. It is also associated with a list of other diseases that merits a whole new discussion.
WHERE: Usually used in paint it can now be found in drinking water and old pipes.
SOLUTION: Install a lead-removing water filter so the water you drink is safe. Ordinary filters won’t work. Also, maintain a healthy diet. People with healthy diet are less likely to absorb dangerous amounts of lead.
WHAT: It causes cancers in skin, bladder and lung. According to the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program arsenic also causes a lot of endocrine illnesses. It also disrupts estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone receptors while destroying your metabolism and immune system.
WHERE: Found in water as it used to be popular ingredient in pesticides. It also exists in soil naturally. Johns Hopkins School of Public Health researchers also recently found out that high levels of arsenic are in factory-farmed chicken.
SOLUTION: Use water filters that can filter out arsenic. Consumer Reports suggests to cut your rice consumption to two servings per week and to eat different grains. Prefer whole fruits over fruit juice drinks and consume organic chicken fed with organic animal feeds.
WHAT: Mercury damages children’s brain and lowers their IQ. It also disrupts women’s menstrual cycles and ovulation while damaging the very cells that produces insulin.
WHERE: Seafood primarily that are harvested from waters near industries that rely heavily on coal-power.
SOLUTION: Find low-mercury seafoods. It’s important to know where your food comes from. Alaskan salmon and farmed trout, sardines and anchovies are found to be low on mercury.