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  • Writer's pictureANH Team

EDCs (Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals)

There has been a huge influx of people on social media discussing the importance of eliminating endocrine-disrupting chemicals, but what does this actually mean?

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) are exactly as they sound; natural or human-made chemicals that mimic, block, or interfere with our body’s hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers regulated by our endocrine system.

What are EDCs?

The endocrine system is made up of different glands in our bodies that help maintain homeostasis, or what we call "normal." Some well-known hormones include insulin, testosterone, estradiol, thyroid hormone, and growth hormone. Our hormones are highly complicated and can be influenced by a range of external factors. They are released in very small and particular amounts, thus disruptions can have serious consequences for the body.

How do we encounter EDCs in our everyday life?

EDC’s can be found in a multitude of products that we use every day including; plastic, cosmetics, pesticides, toys, fabric, and cleaning products.

The major EDCs are listed as:

  • Atrazine

  • Bisphenol A (BPA)

  • Dioxins

  • Perchlorate

  • Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

  • Phthalates

  • Phytoestrogens

  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)

  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)

  • Triclosan

You may have seen "BPA free" labels on water bottles or other plastic items, as well as products like shampoos and conditioners branded "free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates." While this is an effort to eliminate known EDCs from a range of products, the majority of the things we use on our bodies still contain fragrance.

The major concern regarding fragrance is just how many household products contain it – and no it’s not just candles. This can be particularly frustrating when you purchase “clean” products that aren’t clean. Many corporations design labels that greenwash products, tricking people into purchasing less-than-clean products. This isn’t limited to candles or perfumes; it includes makeup, skincare, hair care, shaving care, body wash, dry shampoo, deodorants, lotions, tampons, household cleaning products- window cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, room sprays, bathroom cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, laundry detergent, etc.

How do we know which products to use? There are a variety of different apps that list ingredients and determine which ones are safe for consumers. However, my favorite resource is the EWG Skin Deep database. This database allows you to search for personal care products and provides a rating as well as a detailed list of chemicals that may include EDCs. It can be discouraging at first to see how many of our products actually contain chemicals that are harming us.

Simple ways to reduce or eliminate your exposure to EDCs:

  1. Begin slowly replacing your household cleaning supplies. Starting over can be expensive, and adding extra rubbish to landfills is never a good idea. I propose finishing the bottles and then replacing them with EWG-certified or homemade/natural products. Vinegar and water are one of the easiest cleaning remedies! If you wish to add aroma, you can do so with essential oils!

  2. Throw out additional fragrances within your home. However, when it comes to fragrances; I do recommend getting rid of them within your home.  Wallflowers, automobile air fresheners, room sprays, and candles contain a number of chemicals that can be harmful to your endocrine system. I propose using a diffuser that contains high-quality essential oils, such as lemongrass, lavender, and eucalyptus. I understand that getting rid of candles can be difficult for us girlies; Fontana Candle Co. makes non-toxic candles in a variety of great scents!

  3. Get rid of your perfume. This can be a terrifying thought for many of us who grew up during the "Love Spell" and "Warm Vanilla Sugar" eras. Perfume is frequently sprayed directly onto your skin (often on your neck and chest--our thyroid is located here!!) and therefore it’s a really important change to make. I have tried Dime Beauty; they offer a sample pack to try out all the scents prior to making a big purchase! I am a perfume girl and this has helped me continue to use it.

  4. Research clean skincare and makeup products. This process can be time-consuming, and it might be not easy to discover products that function similarly to those we are accustomed to. I've been on a mission to locate the greatest products, and the skin-deep database is an excellent place to start.

  5. Don’t get tricked by greenwashing. It can be so frustrating when you think you are making a healthier choice only to find out that the product you purchased still has fragrance or EDC’s. Major corporations recognize that consumers desire safer options, but this usually takes the form of deceptive labeling and attractive "clean" packaging. Appearances can be deceiving. Before you buy a product, do some research on it; look at the ingredient list and avoid some of the misleading marketing practices.

A few even easier swaps I’ve personally tried and love:

  • Tampons: When you think about personal care products most people assume it is just cotton within tampons or pads, unfortunately, that’s not the case. Most big-name brands contain Butyl Stearate, polysorbate 20, paraffin wax, etc. Now these ingredients aren’t necessarily as toxic as the ones listed above. When you think about how frequently we use these items, it may not be the best idea to have chemicals lingering in your body for 4-6 hours at a time. I adore The Honey Pot brand; they include standard, super, and pads.

  • Dry Shampoo: mix arrowroot powder and bentonite clay into a powder and use a kabuki brush to apply to the hair. Blow dry into hair to set and you have your non-toxic dry shampoo!!

  • White Vinegar & Water: works as an all-purpose cleaner that I use on my counters, floors (in my steam mop), stovetop, sink, etc. Vinegar can also be used as a glass cleaner!

  • Attitude Laundry Detergent: EWG verified and comes in a variety of scents! It cleans clothing thoroughly; even heavily soiled clothing from outdoor work.

  • Dryer Balls: I no longer use fabric softeners or dryer sheets because the chemical makeup of these products often contains phthalates to give anti-static characteristics. I bought wool dryer balls, which have worked great!

  • Glass Dishes: Swapping out your plastic containers for glass ones (you can find a ton at thrift stores!!) is a great way to reduce your microplastic intake. Food preserves better in glass, plus it never stains or tastes odd like plastic!

In Summary

This entire process is a marathon, not a sprint. It might be really stressful to begin replacing all of your products and realize that the majority of the products we use contain dangerous chemicals. Start slowly, and when you run out of a product, replace it with a healthy alternative. Some awesome Instagram accounts post swaps and can be helpful!

By: Dr. Abby Kellogg

Chiropractor at ANH Wellness

Disclaimer: "This blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Please speak with your physician before starting red light therapy. "The information including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment."

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