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The Top 10 Endocrine Disruptors To Avoid

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
A crushed plastic water bottle. Endocrine disruptors to avoid would be items like BPA products, perchlorate, and arsenic.

Exposure to endocrine disruptors is like putting a drop of water into the gas tank of a car. One drop may not have a major impact, but drip by drip, the car breaks down. Endocrine disruptors do the same thing to the human body. Endocrine disruptors cause symptoms such as infertility, weight gain, cardiac disease, dementia, and more. Hormones control every function in the body; when they're out of balance, so is everything else.

Top Endocrine Disruptors

The following endocrine disruptors are the main ones you should completely avoid.

1. Organophosphate Pesticides

These pesticides are sprayed on food to kill common pests. Pesticide residue on vegetables and fruits are one of the most common ways we consume these dangerous chemicals. Organophosphate pesticides have been shown to cause infertility in men, slow brain development in children, and have even been shown to affect thyroid function. [1] [2] Always choose organic when purchasing food to avoid these pesticides.

2. 17α-Ethynylestradiol

17α-Ethynylestradiol is a synthetic form of estrogen and the only one that remains active when taken orally. Currently, this synthetic hormone can be found in all forms of oral birth control. Studies have shown that it promotes breast cancer complications and cell proliferation. [3] Even the US government has acknowledged its dangerous effects.

3. Fire Retardants (PBDEs)

PBDEs, or polybrominated diethyl ethers, disrupt thyroid function by blocking the uptake of iodine, eventually taking its place in the thyroid. [4] Because of this action, they also mimic and disrupt thyroid hormones. PBDEs have been linked to lower IQ and are proven to negatively affect neural and physical development in children and developing infants. [5]

4. Phthalates

Phthalates are added to plastics to aid durability and flexibility. Their negative health effects have been constantly reported in various studies all across the world. Phthalates can easily leach into water and bottled water is subject to contamination. Research has confirmed that phthalates inhibit sperm cell development. [6] They're also linked to obesity, diabetes, and thyroid conditions. Always store foods and liquids in glass whenever possible.

5. BPA

BPA permeates our lives. Food cans, plastic bottles, cell phone protectors, and water pipes may all contain this stuff. The chemical even coats store receipts and can be absorbed through the skin on contact. Studies have found people who handle receipts have this chemical in their urine just a few hours later. According to government research, ninety-three percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. BPA has been tied to obesity, breast cancer, early-onset puberty, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive concerns. Choose BPA-free storage containers and, again, use glass whenever possible.

6. Perchlorate

Found in rocket fuel, explosives, fireworks, and fertilizers, this common environmental chemical noticeably disrupts thyroid function. Similarly to PBDEs, perchlorate replaces iodine in the thyroid and leads to decreased thyroid activity. Symptoms of decreased thyroid activity include weight gain, poor energy, and depression. Water contains the highest concentrations of perchlorate. The best solution to prevent damage from this endocrine disruptor is to ensure you are getting enough iodine. A high-quality water filter may also help filter out perchlorate.

7. Arsenic

This element naturally occurs deep within the earth’s crust, but can also be released through mining and industrial activities and find its way to water sources. [7] Exposure to arsenic can result in insulin resistance, immune system suppression, slowed cognitive development, cardiovascular damage, and weight gain/loss. [8] The best way to protect against arsenic is to install a water filter that specifically removes arsenic.

8. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)

It’s estimated that 99% of Americans have PFC accumulation in their bodies. PFCs are commonly used to make non-stick pans. During cooking, some of these chemicals escape into your food and accumulate in your body. PFCs disrupt hormone function and have been tied to infertility, ineffective sperm, heart disease, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, and low birth-weight in babies. One study confirmed PFCs, especially PFOA and PFHxS, negatively affect thyroid hormone levels. [9] Avoid non-stick cookware.

9. Mercury

Mercury is toxic and dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. It’s will bind with a hormone essential to menstruation and ovulation. Mercury also attacks the pancreas to affect insulin production. Suffice to say – avoid mercury! Reducing seafood consumption may be one of the best solutions to reduce mercury intake; unfortunately, fish is no longer the only concern. The new CFL light bulbs contain dangerous levels of mercury. In fact, if one of these light bulbs break, evacuation is recommended.

10. Dioxin

The US government recognizes dioxin as an endocrine disruptor. Dioxin, a byproduct of industrial processes, with heart disease, diabetes, reduced fertility, poor sperm activity and low sperm counts, embryo development interference, and spontaneous miscarriage. [10] Meats and other food products which contain animal products provide the majority of exposure to Americans. It accumulates in fat and can remain for years.

What Can We Do?

While difficult, it is possible to take steps to avoid endocrine disruptors. If you eat meat or fish, choose organic, free-range, or wild sources. Buy fresh, organic produce as much as possible, and choose glass for food storage. Make sure you supplement with iodine to protect the thyroid. I also highly recommend regular cleansing to help remove toxin accumulation.

YouTube Video

Watch an In-Depth Video on How to Balance Your Hormones Naturally

Length: 86 minutes

References (10)
  1. Jurewicz J1, Polaska K, Hanke W. Chemical exposure early in life and the neurodevelopment of children--an overview of current epidemiological evidence. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013;20(3):465-86.
  2. Aguilar-Garduo C1, Lacasaa M, Blanco-Muoz J, Rodriguez-Barranco M, Hernandez AF, Bassol S, Gonzalez-Alzaga B, Cebrin ME. Changes in male hormone profile after occupational organophosphate exposure. A longitudinal study. Toxicology. 2013 May 10;307:55-65. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2012.11.001.
  3. Barbara Demeneix. Examples of Chemical Pollution Targeting Thyroid Hormone Action.Losing Our Minds: How Environmental Pollution Impairs Human Intelligence and Mental Health.
  4. Lata K1, Mukherjee TK2. Knockdown of receptor for advanced glycation end products attenuate 17-ethinyl-estradiol dependent proliferation and survival of MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Mar;1840(3):1083-91. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2013.11.014.
  5. Eskenazi B1, Chevrier J, Rauch SA, Kogut K, Harley KG, Johnson C, Trujillo C, Sjdin A, Bradman A. In utero and childhood polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) exposures and neurodevelopment in the CHAMACOS study. Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Feb;121(2):257-62. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1205597.
  6. Specht IO1, Toft G2, Hougaard KS3, Lindh CH4, Lenters V5, Jnsson BA6, Heederik D7, Giwercman A8, Bonde JP9. Associations between serum phthalates and biomarkers of reproductive function in 589 adult men. Environ Int. 2014 May;66:146-56. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.02.002.
  7. Garelick H1, Jones H, Dybowska A, Valsami-Jones E. Arsenic pollution sources. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2008;197:17-60.
  8. Naujokas MF1, Anderson B, Ahsan H, Aposhian HV, Graziano JH, Thompson C, Suk WA. The broad scope of health effects from chronic arsenic exposure: update on a worldwide public health problem. Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Mar;121(3):295-302. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1205875.
  9. Wen LL1, Lin LY, Su TC, Chen PC, Lin CY. Association between serum perfluorinated chemicals and thyroid function in U.S. adults: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2010. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Sep;98(9):E1456-64. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-1282.
  10. Chen SC1, Liao TL, Wei YH, Tzeng CR, Kao SH. Endocrine disruptor, dioxin (TCDD)-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in human trophoblast-like JAR cells. Mol Hum Reprod. 2010 May;16(5):361-72. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gaq004.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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