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  • Writer's pictureRani

Common Endocrine Disruptors to Avoid and How to Minimize Exposure

Updated: May 31

Navigating the world of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) can feel overwhelming, especially when trying to protect your fertility and overall health. There are over 4,000 EDCs in existence, found in everything from industrial settings to household products (1). Understanding which ones are most problematic and how to avoid them can significantly affect your health journey.

The Most Problematic Endocrine Disruptors

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most common and concerning EDCs:

Bisphenol A (BPA)

  • Commonly Found In: Plastics, resins, plastic bottles, canned food linings, and other consumer products.

  • Why It’s Harmful: BPA mimics estrogen, disrupting the hormonal balance crucial for fertility.

  • How to Avoid It:

    • Store food in glass or stainless steel containers.

    • Limit drinking from plastic bottles.

    • Be cautious with “BPA-free” plastics as they may contain other harmful bisphenols.

    • Reduce contact with store receipts, which often contain BPA.

Phthalates

  • Commonly Found In: Toys, vinyl flooring, personal care products like nail polish and hairspray.

  • Why It’s Harmful: Phthalates can disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking or blocking hormones.

  • How to Avoid It:

    • Store food in glass containers.

    • Avoid fragrances in personal care products, candles, and air fresheners.

Parabens

  • Commonly Found In: Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals.

  • Why It’s Harmful: Parabens can mimic estrogen, potentially leading to reproductive issues.

  • How to Avoid It:

    • Look for these paraben ingredients in skincare products, including sunscreen, shampoo, and toothpaste:

    • Methylparaben

    • Propylparaben

    • Butylparaben

    • Ethylparaben

    • Choose “paraben-free” products whenever possible.


Pesticides and Herbicides

  • Commonly Found In: Agricultural chemicals.

  • Why It’s Harmful: Chemicals like atrazine can affect reproductive systems.

  • How to Avoid It:

    • Avoid spraying pesticides in your yard; use natural alternatives instead.

    • Eat organic produce when possible to reduce pesticide exposure.

    • Wash all produce thoroughly before eating.

    • Use the “Clean 15, Dirty Dozen” list to make economical and safer food choices.

Sulfates

  • Commonly Found In: Preservatives in foods and beverages.

  • Why It’s Harmful: Sulfates can cause adverse reactions, especially in people with asthma or genetic sensitivities.

  • How to Avoid It: Look for “sulfate-free” labels on personal and household products.

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine

To explore more about what EDCs are and how they impact both female and male fertility, check out our detailed blog posts.


More Tips to Minimize Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors

At Home

Take Off Your Outdoor Shoes

  • Removing your shoes at the door and switching to “indoor only” shoes can reduce environmental toxins tracked inside.

Use Natural Cleaning Products

  • Many conventional cleaning products contain EDCs. Opt for natural alternatives like vinegar and essential oils. Regular vacuuming and dusting can also minimize household dust that may contain harmful chemicals.

Eat Organic Fruits and Vegetables

  • Organic produce is grown without harmful pesticides. If growing your own food isn’t practical, visit local farmers' markets and choose organic whenever possible.

Prioritize “Endocrine Disruptor-Free” Products

  • Look for personal care and household products labeled as free from common endocrine disruptors like BPA, phthalates, and parabens.

Drink Filtered Water

  • Use a water filter to remove contaminants and avoid single-use plastic water bottles to reduce exposure to BPA and phthalates.

Open Your Windows Daily

  • Improve indoor air quality by airing out your home daily, especially if outdoor air quality is good.


In the Kitchen

Use Non-Plastic Cookware

  • Opt for glass, stainless steel, or ceramic cookware. Avoid microwaving food in plastic containers to prevent harmful chemicals from leaching into your food.

Avoid Non-Stick Cookware

  • Replace non-stick cookware containing PFOA or similar substances with alternatives like steel, ceramic, or cast iron.


For Personal Care

Check Cosmetic Labels

  • Choose natural, organic cosmetics free from phthalates and parabens. Trusted brands will specifically state that their products are free of these substances.

Limit Plastic Children’s Toys

  • Choose toys made from natural materials like wood or certified as free from harmful chemicals. For infants, use silicone baby bottle nipples instead of plastic.


Check out my favourite products page for recommendations on the abovementioned products to make your house a safer and healthier space.



Taking these steps can significantly reduce your exposure to EDCs, supporting your fertility and overall health. Remember, small changes can lead to big benefits. By making informed choices, you empower yourself and control your health journey.




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