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Endocrine disruptors to avoid

When most of us think about harmful toxins we tend to think about pollution and industrial chemicals. We don't usually think about things we commonly use on a daily basis, such as Cleaning products, laundry items, skin care products, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, perfume and make-up.

What are these toxins and how do they harm us?

It is thought that the average person comes into contact with over 3000 chemicals each day which may leech into food, be absorbed by the skin or gut. Whilst these chemicals may be tested for initial safety its impossible to test the accumulative effect and combined effect with other substances, as we are all individuals.

Most of the substances listed below are known as Endocrine disrupting chemicals, these have a negative influence on your hormones. They are mostly oestrogenic and can play havoc with the symptoms of peri-menopause. They also contribute to conditions such as diabetes, thyroid complications and infertility in both men and women.

Here are eight of the commonly used toxins that you may want to cut out:

Phthalates are used in products as platicisers. They are commonly found in synthetic fragrances where they hold the scent, food wrapping, packaging, children’s toys, furniture, PVC, glad wrap, varnish, lacquers. These are not required to appear on the label of personal care products. Phthalates are an example of an Endocrine Disrupting Chemical. Phthalates have been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and inflammation, which then can lead to presentations such as fatigue and joint pain.

Parabens are used as a preservative in personal care products such as shampoo, conditioners, body wash, toothpaste, sunscreen, deodorant, medications and some processed foods. Parabens are used in products to prevent bacterial growth. Parabens are also Endocrine disruptors. The concern with them is that because they are oestrogenic and in so many products their affect may be come accumulative. They have been linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and have been found intact in human breast tissue.

Bis-Phenols such as BPA are again Endocrine disruptors which have an adverse effect on the reproductive health of both men and women. BPA is often replaced with BPS when something is labelled BPA free, and BPS may actually be worse for your health. Bis-phenols are found in anything lined with plastic such as the lining of tinned foods, drink bottles and in checkout receipts. It is oestrogenic in its effect and can cause infertility across generations.

Triclosan is an antibacterial used in home cleaning products, hand soap, detergents, and some toothpastes. It has been found deposited in placenta, fat tissue and nails, as well as all body fluids. In animal studies it has been found to disrupt testosterone concentrations, and cause thyroid dysfunction.

Chlorine bleach is used in whitening products and toilet cleaner. It can be a respiratory irritant, and can also disrupt thyroid function causing fatigue, hormone imbalances, and infertility.

Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) is used as a foaming agent in personal care products. It is associated with skin irritation in children and in people with skin conditions, stripping the natural oils from the skin. Palm oil is also used in the production of SLS

Mineral oil is a petrochemical that is used as an emollient to hold moisture in the skin, and often used in moisturisers and creams. It can be an irritating to the skin.

Fluoride found in water and tooth paste, has been found to disrupt thyroid health in animal studies. Observational studies have shown that children born to mothers with higher flouride levels have slightly lower IQs.

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