I recently published an article about how certain chemicals found in foods, skincare, personal care, and household cleaning products are classified as xenoestrogens.
Xenoestrogens are man-made chemical compounds which mimic the effect of estrogen in the human body. As I mentioned in my first article which you can read in its entirety HERE) on this topic, these estrogenic effects can interfere with our bodies’ normal hormonal activities and produce adverse health effects on women, men, and children. These symptoms and health risks are quite alarming, and I remember my initial thoughts being thoughts of anger and concern, and I remember asking myself “Well what the heck can I do about this?”
In this installment of the xenoestrogen series, I’m going to give you some tips on what the heck you can do about it—how you can reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens in your every day life. I’ll also share some of the chemical names of xenoestrogens to avoid on your product labels.
12 ways to minimize your personal exposure to xenoestrogens:
- Choose chlorine-free products and unbleached paper products including napkins, coffee filters, tea bags, sanitary products, diapers, baby wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels.
- Use filtered water to drink and bathe in to avoid chlorine absorption through the skin.
- Whenever possible, choose organic foods to avoid pesticides, herbicides, synthetic hormones, and fungicides.
- Reduce the use of plastics whenever possible.
- Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to serve and store food—this includes water bottles and microwaveables (if you still use a microwave)
- Use all-natural, biodegradable laundry and household cleaning products whenever possible (find recipes to make your own HERE).
- Use all-natural, paraben, glycol, and sulfate- free skincare and personal care products like toothpaste, shampoo, moisturizer, deodorant, etc.
- Minimize your exposure to nail polish and nail polish removers—if you do use them, choose a safer product line like Zoya or SpaRitual (read more about natural nail care HERE).
- Avoid synthetic fragrances. Use only products containing naturally based plant extracts and essential oils.
- Minimize use of X-rays whenever possible—their use is often excessive in many settings. Ask your healthcare or dental professional if they are truly necessary or seek a more holistically-minded professional.
- Be aware of noxious gases such as from copiers and printers, carpets, fiberboards, and at the gas pump—make sure indoor areas are well ventilated and don’t deliberately breathe in fumes from gas, glue, or permanent markers (I know we’ve all done it before…time to stop!)
- Maintain a strong immune system by exercising regularly, managing stress properly, and eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.
24 xenoestrogen-producing chemicals to avoid on labels:
- Atrazine (weedkiller)
- 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (sunscreen lotions)
- Butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)
- Bisphenol A (BPA-monomer for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin; antioxidant in plasticizers)
- Chlorine and chlorine by-products
- Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (one of the breakdown products of DDT)
- Dieldrin (insecticide)
- DDT (insecticide)
- Endosulfan (insecticide)
- Erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
- Ethinylestradiol (combined oral contraceptive pill)
- Heptachlor (insecticide)
- Lindane / hexachlorocyclohexane (insecticide)
- Metalloestrogens (a class of inorganic xenoestrogens)
- Methoxychlor (insecticide)
- Nonylphenol and derivatives (industrial surfactants; emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization; laboratory detergents; pesticides)
- Pentachlorophenol (general biocide and wood preservative)
- Polychlorinated biphenyls / PCBs (in electrical oils, lubricants, adhesives, paints)
- Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben commonly used as preservatives in personal care products)
- Phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
- Phthalates (plasticizers)
- DEHP (plasticizer for PVC)
- Propyl gallate
These lists aren’t meant to overwhelm you.
I know it can seem like a lot of information. I always recommend that people go at a pace that’s comfortable for them. When you run out of one product, replace it with a safer and healthier option. Other changes are small tweaks that happen in your kitchen or require you to ask some questions in your community. This is YOUR health and your family’s health—it’s always worth the extra effort!