Wednesday, May 29, 2019

HEALTHY LIVING :: Ways to Avoid Hormone Disruptors

We have in our bodies these master chemicals called hormones.  They are produced in small amounts by our endocrine glands in a timely fashion and serve to regulate a lot of activities in our cells, the tiny building blocks that we are made up of.  

The system seems pretty perfect in and of itself.  The trouble is that we are exposed to thousands of chemicals in our daily lives that mimic or act like the hormones that we make in our body.  If these hormone disruptors come in at the right time, they can stop the hormone from doing its job or alter the way its made or metabolized (broken down) in our bodies.  As a result, these chemicals can have adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological or immune effects in our bodies because they are preventing hormones from doing their job.
Here are some simple approaches to help reduce your exposure to these chemicals in your daily life:
a)  Wash your hands often, specially before eating:  This one is so simple, right?  Now make sure you are using soap that is fragrance-free since the term "fragrance" is very non-descriptive and can include many chemicals that the manufacturer does not have to disclose.
b)  Avoid fragrance:  This one can be tough at first because scent and memories are tightly associated so once you get used to a scent it's hard to break up with it.  But it's the best choice you can make for yourself (see explanation above).  Now check the labels in the products you use.  Fragrance can be hidden in the ingredients of the most unexpected products.
c) Stick to glass for food containers:  plastics can contain BPA, a known hormone disruptor.  Glass is always a safer choice but I know it's not always the most practical specially if you're trying to pack lunch for your young kiddos.  I am trying to avoid cans too, even the ones that say BPA-free, because they can contain a chemical similar to BPA.
d)  Eat organic as much as possible:  some pesticides have been identified as hormone disruptors and some produce like blueberries is traditionally heavily sprayed.  If buying everything organic is not an option, you can also stick to buying organic for the "dirty dozen".  Whatever you do is better than nothing-  remember that!
e)  Check your skincare and make-up products:  we now have apps like the ThinkDirty app or the Healthy Living app that are very useful if you want to figure out if a product is safe.  You can install them on your phone and use them on the go.  They both allow you to scan a product bar code to find out about its safety.  Again, any action is better than nothing.  You don't have to get rid of all your products overnight either.  Start slowly and work in batches.  
f)  Filter your water:  tap water can contain hormone disruptors among other chemicals.  The easiest way around this is to buy a good water filter.  They now sell refrigerator dispensers and pitchers so you can have clean water readily available for consumption.  We personally like the PUR brand products because they remove a bunch of different chemicals from water, not just lead.  Check your filter to see what it claims to remove.  When drinking water, stick to glass again-  it's cleaner!

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