When patients come to me for help in taking charge of their health, one of the changes I encourage each of them to make is to limit their exposure to toxins – specifically to rid themselves of as many Endocrine Disruptors (EDs) as possible. But why the fuss over Endocrine Disruptors? It’s pretty simple: EDs are chemicals that interfere with hormone signaling and wreak havoc on your entire endocrine system.
Endocrine Disruptors include BPA (bisphenol-A), parabens, phthalates, PBDE’s (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), mercury, lead and organophosphate pesticides, and unfortunately, they are virtually everywhere nowadays, including foods, personal care products, sunscreen, perfume, antibacterial washes, household cleaners, laundry products, vinyl shower curtains, plastic toys, electronics, household dust, bug sprays – the list goes on and on!
And although it might seem impossible to escape them completely, you can significantly cut your exposure with these simple 15 tips:
- Store food in glass containers in your pantry and in the fridge.
- If you use a microwave, heat foods in microwave safe glassware or ceramic containers. Never plastic, no matter what the label says!
- Skip plastic wrap coverings, especially if heating foods in the microwave.
- Trade non-stick cookware for good old-fashioned, cast iron and stainless steel versions.
- Use glass cups at home and a glass or stainless steel water bottle when on the go. Also, remember that the young are especially vulnerable to the effects of EDs, so the less plastic they drink from, the better.
- Ditch old, ED-flaking plastic cooking utensils, strainers and cutting boards for steel or sustainable bamboo versions.
- If you use a dishwasher, choose a green detergent that is free of phosphates and fragrances, and use a minimum amount.
- Avoid antibacterials for hand-washing and general household cleaning. Instead, use eco-friendly products or, better yet, make your own using non-toxic ingredients like castile soap, baking soda, lemon and vinegar.
- Eat local and organic foods as often as possible.
- Skip canned goods, unless they’re clearly marked “BPA-free” to insure they’re not lined with endocrine-disrupting BPA (plastic) film.
- Remove plastic cling wraps and packaging from purchased foods and store them in glass or ceramic containers to keep EDs from leaching into the food.
- Make your own organic tea, coffee and other drinks instead of drinking out of plastic Containers.
- Choose organic, grass-fed meats that are raised without antibiotics or hormones. Factory farmed animals store environmental toxins in their fat, which gets passed on to you when you eat it.
- For poultry, choose pasture raised and organic options, or talk to the farmers at your local farmers market.
- Get to know the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 – the Environmental Working Group’s list of fruits and veggies raised with the most and least amount of endocrine-disrupting pesticides – and buy accordingly.