In our modern day life, we come into contact with toxic chemicals every single day.
These chemicals are in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the products we use. Studies have shown that a particular group of chemicals called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can have a negative effect on both female and male reproductive health. These sneaky chemicals interfere with the body’s sex hormones by mimicking or blocking estrogen and testosterone. This can cause the following:
Changes in hormone levels
Decrease sperm and egg quality
Damage to the DNA in sperm
Longer menstrual cycles
Increased risk of miscarriage
If you are planning on getting pregnant, it is important to educate yourself about EDCs and how to reduce your exposure to them. This can be overwhelming but by learning about where these toxins come from, you can begin taking small steps to avoid them.
There are around 800 artificial EDCs in everyday items such as plastics, personal care products, food products, and in manufacturing, industrial and agricultural processes. The three most prevalent forms of EDCs are:
Bisphenols (BPA/BPS/BPF): Widely used in plastic products, lining of cans, and sales receipts. These chemicals can leach into our foods.
Phthalates: Added to plastics to increase flexibility and durability.
Parabens: Used as a preservative and in antibacterial products. They are commonly found in food, cosmetics and personal care products.
Here are some practical and simple ways to avoid exposure to EDCs.
Buy organic if possible. Wash your fruits and vegetables and buy them from local sources.
Eat fewer processed, canned and packaged foods. This will reduce your intake of BPA’s, Phthalates and plastics that can coat the inside of cans and packaging.
Avoid handling sales receipts or storing them in your wallet. The shiny coating contains BPA.
Read labels on your personal care products such as shampoo, conditioner, lotions and makeup. Purchase products labeled paraben and phthalate free.
Avoid potent household cleaners like detergents, hand sanitizer, and carpet and oven cleaners. Look for “green products” which use alternative non-toxic cleaners.
Avoid air fresheners, smoke, heavily perfumed products. Open your windows and air out your home frequently to reduce the amount of products that can be inhaled.
Avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides in the garden, at work and at home. Use “green chemicals” when reducing pests and weeds.
Remember that it is impossible to completely eliminate all toxic chemicals from our everyday life but by taking small steps, you will be on your way to not only improving your reproductive health, but also your overall life and vitality. You’ve got this!
(For more information on the toxicity level of common household and self-care products, visit the Environmental Working Group’s website at www.ewg.org.)