Don’t worry, we’re not about to go Gwenyth Paltrow Goop on you, but the facts are the facts—some chemicals in our environments are proven to damage our health. In particular, some ways dangerous chemicals damage our health have to do with our hormones. These chemicals, known as hormone-disruptors, have a negative influence on this fundamental and vital aspect of our biology.
These hormone disruptors are dangerous and toxic in varying levels. Some of their effects include the development of cognitive issues like learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder, the development of cancers like prostate, breast, and thyroid cancer, and disturbances in our reproductive functions and immune and nervous system. Nasty stuff to be avoided at all costs.
But how do you avoid these hormone-disrupting chemicals without knowing what they are? We’ve got your back (and your hormones).
- Phthalates — That’s right; this is the name of a chemical many beauty companies are labeling their products specifically as lacking. After overwhelming evidence that phthalates are linked to hormone changes, obesity, diabetes, lower sperm count, and congenital disabilities in the male reproductive system, many companies that have previously included phthalates in their products excluded them.
- Bisphenol A (known as BPA) — This chemical is in many hard plastics like water bottles, baby bottles, and eyeglass lenses. That’s terrible news because BPA is linked to heart disease, fertility problems, and impotence in males.
- Fire Retardants — These chemicals have been around for a while and were some of the first to have their health-harming effects discovered. Those effects include cancer, fertility problems, and lowered I.Q.
- Lead — This chemical may come as no surprise, but it’s still a serious health danger to watch out for, as it can cause miscarriages, premature births, lowered I.Q., and even permanent brain damage. You might think we’re generally protected from lead, but as the tragic crisis in Flint, MI showed, a strong water filter can go a long way.
- Organophosphate Pesticides — If you’re not already buying organic food, let this be a reminder as to why organic is not just an L.A. fad. Organophosphate pesticides are still used to treat produce against insects today even though they are linked to harmful effects in brain development and fertility issues.
- Glycol Ethers — These nasty chemicals are linked to fertility issues, blood abnormalities, and harm of fetuses in utero. Watch out for familiar sources of these chemicals like cleaning products, beauty products, and paint.
- Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) — These chemicals are high on the list of scary stuff; they’re linked to thyroid disease, low birth weight, and kidney disease and worse yet, they are completely resistant to biodegradation, meaning they will exist in the environment forever, despite being banned. Avoid it by avoiding non-stick cookware and water-resistant coatings.
- Arsenic — Sure, this one is obvious, but what’s not so obvious is the risk of it being present in our lives even though we know it’s literally poison. Arsenic can still find its way into our water supply because of its use in some pesticides. Avoid its harmful effects like osteoporosis and growth retardation that occur even from tiny doses by using a robust water filter.
- Atrazine — This chemical is another to be avoided through the use of a strong water filter. Found in pesticides, it can cause breast tumors, delayed puberty, and prostate cancer.
- Mercury — Another famously harmful chemical. Don’t think just because everyone knows it’s toxic that it can’t find its way into our bodies where it can cause cell damage and interfere with fetal brain development. Mercury can find its way right onto your plate due to the burning of coal that creates it, making its way into oceans and, ultimately, our sushi.