Xenoestrogens, what are they and why should I avoid them?

Xeno-what?!

Xenoestrogens are chemicals that imitate estrogen and act like estrogen in your body, negatively impacting your hormone balance.  Health conditions associated with excessive xenoestrogens in the body include PMS symptoms, fibroids, endometriosis, breast cancer, early puberty, ovarian cysts, migraines and weight gain.

Probably the most famous xenoestrogen is BPA, the bisphenol-A found in plastic water bottles, plastic packaging, lining canned food and baby bottles (although Canada was the first to ban BPA from baby bottles in 2008).

BPA has gotten lots of publicity, even from the David Suzuki Foundation with their ‘12 ways to avoid hidden BPA.’

However, there are lots of other classes of chemicals that are considered xenoestrogens and can influence your hormone balance.  We are literally exposed to them everywhere, so it is impossible to eliminate them completely from our lives (unless you can live in a bubble!).

I like handing out the following list to my patients which contains many sources of xenoestrogens.  I suggest they take a look and pick 1-2 items that they are exposed to daily or in excessive amounts and make a change in their lives.  1-2 changes can go a long way to improving the health of yourself and your family.

Xenoestrogen list

What are you doing to make a positive change for your hormonal health? Feel free to share your stories and tips!

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Are your cosmetics harming your health?

I’ve been doing a series of health talks on how to detoxify your body and one of the facts that is most eye-opening to people is the fact that cosmetics contains harmful chemicals.

It is really great if your cosmetics company does not test on animals, is giving back to the environment or supporting a good cause every time you purchase their product.

However, despite their good deeds, the ingredients they are using may be harming your health.

Have you heard of the Environmental Working Group’sDirty Dozen‘ list of foods which contain the highest amount of pesticide residue?

Well, David Suzuki has come out with the ‘Dirty Dozen in Cosmetics‘.

Click on the image below to download his consumer shopping guide.

suzuki-dirty-dozen

If you want to find out what’s in your cosmetics and how hazardous they are to your health, check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database!

How dirty are your cosmetics?

Rubber ducks, shampoo and bubble tea oh my! What harmful chemical do these 3 have in common?

What do rubber ducks, shampoo and bubble tea all have in common?

PTHALATES!

Pthalates are chemicals which are added to plastic-based products to make the material softer and more flexible.

What types of products contain pthalates?

Rubber ducks and other children’s toys, body care products such as shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and fragrances, electronics, PVC shower curtains, wallpaper, furniture, plastic containers and plastic wrap, household cleaners, and now most recently discovered in the ingredients from bubble tea products.  List of recalled bubble tea products by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency 

How do pthalates get into your body?

Ingestion: Children who chew on toys (like those really cute rubber duckies!), eating food which was wrapped in plastic packaging material or stored in containers which contain pthalates. Recently, the Canadian government decided to reduce the pthalate content from children’s toys: http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2011/01/18/health-phthalates-restrictions-children-toys.html

Absorption: Applying personal hygiene products to the skin allows for daily absorption of pthalates.  Some products specifically add pthalates because pthalates aid in the skin’s absorption of the product.

Have I been smearing chemicals on my body for the last 25 years? Luckily, once you start using these products the pthalates are eliminated from your body in about 24-48 hours.

***One of the key things I recently learned is that companies are NOT required to list pthalate content in their products.  However, products that list the ingredient `fragrance`or `parfum`most likely contain pthalates.

Inhalation: Pthalate fumes from household products, electronics and furniture pass through the air and we inhale them on a daily basis. Air fresheners are a key culprit in the inhalation of pthalates.

Why should you reduce your pthalate exposure?

Preliminary studies are showing pthalates have potentially negative effects on the body by disrupting hormone balance and affecting male and female reproductive organs. There is also a potential relationship between pthalates and cancer, obesity and diabetes.

5 Resources for pthalate content in products:

Pthalates: what you need to know

Chemical Body Burden: Pthalates

Environmental Defence

Environmental Working Group

Slow Death by Rubber Duck

Please share your tips to reduce pthalate exposure and help others reduce their chemical body burden.