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9 Devasting Hormone Disruptors and How to Avoid Them: Part 2

In our first post of this series we went over three of 9 major hormone disrupters and how to avoid them, this week we will add three more to the list, the last one is extremely tricky to avoid, but it can be done. Below is a brush up on endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors usually affect development and reproduction and can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, hormone imbalances, and changes in the brain and immune system, as well. Endocrine disruptors are found in many everyday products, such as plastic bottles and food containers, the lining of metal food cans, toys, food, cosmetics, receipts, detergents, and pesticides.

So, with that in mind let’s jump right in!



Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal found in the earth’s crust, it is also a poison that exists in our drinking water and food. In high levels arsenic will kill you outright, however in smaller doses it disrupts the hormones and can cause skin, bladder, and lung cancer.

Arsenic interferes with normal hormone functioning in the glucocorticoid system which regulates how our bodies process cards and sugar. Disrupting this system has been linked to weight gain and loss, immune system suppression, insulin resistance (which in turn can lad to diabetes). Osteoporosis, retarded growth, and high blood pressure.

The highest levels are arsenic are found in contaminated groundwater, seafood, rice, rice cereal (other rice products), mushrooms, poultry, and fruit juices. There are maps online, like the one pictured below, showing arsenic concentration in soil water in the United States.

How to Avoid:

Use a good water filter such as a Berkey to avoid arsenic in contaminated water. The Black Berkey filters reduce over 99.9% of arsenic from water.

You can run a soil test for arsenic if you are growing your own food, or restart with raised beds, building new arsenic free soil over the contaminated or possibly contaminated ground.

Eat organic or grow your own food whenever possible.

Fire Retardants

PBDE or polybrominated diphenyl ethers are incredible persistent chemicals found in fire retardants, which have been found in humans and animals worldwide, even polar bears. These chemicals can disrupt thyroid hormone activity, cause memory and learning problems, delay mental and physical development, lower IQ, and reduce fertility.

Although several PBDEs have now been phased out, they are incredibly persistent and will continue contaminating humans and wildlife for generations to come.

A 1999 Swedish study regarding women’s breast milk found that the milk contained something they hadn’t expected: the endocrine-disrupting chemical found in flame retardants. But not only that, they also discovered the fact that the levels in the breast milk had been doubling every year since 1972!

Fire retardant is all around us on furniture, carpet, upholstery, children’s pajamas, baby products, automotive foam cushioning, strollers, nursing pillows, televisions, computers, adhesives, rubber, plastic, paints and varnishes.

How to Avoid:

Allow new furniture, carpeting, and the pads underneath carpets and mattresses to off-gas, or air out, as much as possible before placing in the house.

Always check labels carefully on children’s clothes, especially those worn next to the skin. Tighter fitting pjs tend to not be sprayed with flame retardant chemicals and will usually say so on the label.

Use a HEPA filter on your vacuum, which can cut down on toxic dust.

Avoid reupholstering furniture and be careful when replacing old carpeting.

Always, always read labels carefully when purchasing any of the products listed above, especially for children who are particularly susceptible to fire retardants toxic effects.

Glycol Ethers

Glycol ethers are a large group of organic solvents used industrially in our homes as glass, carpet, floor, and oven cleaners. Studies show that rats exposed to glycol ethers suffered testicular atrophy or shrinkage. Many glycol ethers are found in paints, making painters highly susceptible to their harmful effects.

Recent studies have shown that men working as painters and decorators exposed to glycol ethers are two and half times more likely to have poor sperm quality and low motile sperm count. They have also found blood abnormalities and anemia in shipyard painters exposed to ethylene glycol ethers in the paint they used.

But paint isn’t the only place glycol ethers are found they are also in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, sunscreen, inks, dyes, brake fluid, liquid soaps, gum, cleaning products (glass, carpet, floor, and oven cleaners), and adhesives.

How to Avoid:

These chemicals are in many products we use daily which makes them hard to avoid, but here are a few ways.

Us natural cleaning products with ingredients such as vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. Ecos is a good company for this. Or you can even make your own.

If you use store bought cleaners, read the labels carefully and avoid products with ingredients such as 2-butoxyethanol and methoxydiglucol.

If painting, look for non-toxic paints free of glycol ethers.

Look for natural cosmetic brands to avoid glycol ethers.

Use Zinc instead of sunscreen.

Buy natural liquid soaps such as Ecos.

Don’t chew gum.


If you missed last week’s post here is the link for that and next week we will tackle the last three endocrine disruptors on our list.


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