Lets talk about the Endocrine System and Endocrine Disruptors
First, what is the endocrine system. The endocrine system are glands that are all throughout the human body. Their function is to produce hormones into the body that control things like growth, fertility, reproductive health. Endocrine disruptors or Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC) are chemicals that can harm the endocrine system and cause many health issues.
Endocrine disruptors can be found in everyday products like deodorant, hairspray, toothpaste, skincare, home cleaning products, plastic food packaging and wrapping, pesticides, and flame retardant chemicals sprayed on clothing furniture and other things (this is why we are choosing non-flame retardant baby products). These chemicals can come into our body through the air we are breathing, the water we drink, food we eat, what we use to clean our house and the skincare we put on out face each night.
Don't be overwhelmed by this though...there are SO many nontoxic and non EDC swaps for your everyday items. More on that bellow.
Some common chemicals that are EDCs
This list is taken from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
- Atrazine is one of the most commonly applied herbicides in the world, often used to control weeds in corn, sorghum, and sugarcane crops.
- Bisphenol A (BPA) is used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It is used in manufacturing, food packaging, toys, and other applications. BPA resins may be found in the lining of some canned foods and beverages.
- Dioxins are a byproduct of certain manufacturing processes, such as herbicide production and paper bleaching. They can be released into the air from waste burning and wildfires.
- Perchlorate is a colorless salt manufactured and used as an industrial chemical to make rockets, explosives, and fireworks, which can be found in some groundwater.
- Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of chemicals used widely in industrial applications, such as firefighting foam, nonstick pans, paper, and textile coatings.
- Phthalates are a large group of compounds used as liquid plasticizers. They are found in hundreds of products including some food packaging, cosmetics, fragrances, children’s toys, and medical device tubing. Cosmetics that may contain phthalates include nail polish, hair spray, aftershave lotion, cleanser, and shampoo.
- Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring substances with hormone-like activity found in some plants; they may have a similar effect to estrogen produced by the body. Soy foods, for example, contain phytoestrogens.
- Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are used to make flame retardants for products such as furniture foam and carpet.
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used to make electrical equipment, such as transformers, and are in hydraulic fluids, heat transfer fluids, lubricants, and plasticizers. PCBs were mass-produced globally until they were banned in 1979.
- Triclosan is an ingredient that was previously added to some antimicrobial and personal care products, like liquid body wash and soaps.
How does our skincare and home care affect our endocrine system?
By using skincare and personal care products comprised of toxins that are various endocrine disruptors, we are allowing those toxins to seep into our skin and cause harm to various areas on our body, not just limited to our reproductive hormones. Things like ADHD and other developmental issues have been linked to EDCs as well as decreased immunity and harm to the nervous system and can even be linked to an increasing the risk for cancer.
Common EDCs found in skincare are all found in "fragrance" or "natural fragrance", among other toxic ingredients that can wreck havoc on our bodies, endocrine system and hormones. Fragrances can enter our bodies through our skincare or home cleaning/care products easily and they can mimic hormones your body naturally produces and interfere with the natural cycle of the endocrine system. These disruptors harm our hormonal system by making some hormones over produce while other underpricing, throwing your whole system out of whack.
Fragrances, specifically, are one of the easiest things to swap out and remove from your home. Replacing products that have toxic fragrances in them with clean and nontoxic versions as you finish a bottle is an easy way to start. Choosing nontoxic skincare is a great way to start. Here at Ash + Stone we do not use ANY fragrances or "natural fragrances". We only use organic and high quality essential oils, in 1-2% of the formula for each product, choosing essential oils that truly add to the formulation and benefit the skin. This is a great way to make sure what you are putting onto your skin and into your body via your skin is safe and will not disrupt your endocrine system.
What can we do about it?
Like we mentioned before. We can swap out our skincare, body care and cleaning products. You can totally do this all at once, but let's be honest...thats overwhelming and expensive. So, slowly swapping toxic products out for nontoxic solutions as you finish the products is the most economical and sustainable option.
I would start small, and then slowly as you learn begin to make even bigger swaps (like our cookware and kitchen appliance that contain toxins through the nonstick coating).
Bellow I will link TONS of swaps for your everyday products.
- Nontoxic Cleaning Swaps: https://amzn.to/48ImU5K
- Nontoxic Beaty/Hair care Swaps: https://amzn.to/3Jg45vu
- Nontoxic Kitchen Swaps: https://amzn.to/3RT40SQ
- Nontoxic Baby Items: https://amzn.to/3vqybcx
- Nontoxic Home Scents: https://primallypure.com/collections/home-candles
Stay tuned for our next few blog post where we will talk about food and how to implement nontoxic swaps/make better hormone healthy choices in our eating habits and lifestyle.
Sources and more resources to check out: