The New Dirty Dozen: Avoid These Dangerous Endocrine Disruptors

dirty dozen endocrine disruptors

Common endocrine disruptors are the focus of a new dirty dozen list of toxins to avoid.

You’re likely familiar the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen–a list of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables in the store. Recently, EWG partnered with the Keep a Breast Foundation to develop a report on endocrine disruptors for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones,” states the Dirty Dozen report.

Here are 5 of the worst poisons on the new Dirty Dozen list (and how to keep them out of your home).

1. BPA

BPA, commonly found in plastics and food packaging, has been linked to breast cancer as well as other types of cancers. Other potential side effects of exposure to BPA include reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty, and heart disease. What’s worse, 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies, including most children.

How to Avoid BPA

  • Eat fresh instead of canned foods.
  • Say no to receipts because thermal paper is often coated with BPA.
  • Avoid using #7 plastics.

2. Dioxin

Dioxins disrupt female and male sex hormones, and research has shown that exposure to low levels of dioxins in the womb can permanently reduce sperm counts. It’s also a powerful carcinogen that impacts reproductive and immune health.

How to Avoid Dioxins

  • Unfortunately, the ongoing industrial release of dioxins means that they’re hard to avoid in our food system.
  • Animal products are most likely contaminated so reduce or eliminate meat, eggs, fish, and butter.

3. Atrazine

Low levels of the herbicide atrazine has been shown to feminize male frogs. Atrazine is commonly used on corn crops and often contaminates drinking water. It has been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty, and prostate inflammation.

How to Avoid Atrazine

  • Buy organic food whenever possible.
  • Filter your water using reverse osmosis filtration.

4. Phthalates

Phthalates, like BPA, are becoming recognized as an endocrine disruptor to avoid. They trigger cell death in testicular cells as well as causing hormone changes and reducing mobile sperm. Phthalates have also been linked to obesity, diabetes, birth defects in the male reproductive system, and thyroid problems.

How to Avoid Phthalates

  • Avoid plastic containers.
  • Avoid plastic wrap made with PVC.
  • Avoid using #3 plastics.
  • Choose personal care products that are free of phthalates.

5. Perchlorate

Perchlorate is a potent environmental toxin. When it gets into your system it alters the thyroid, which regulates metabolism in adults as well as proper brain and organ development in infants and young children.

How to Avoid Perchlorate

  • Filter drinking water through reverse osmosis.
  • Get enough iodine to reverse the impact that perchlorate can have on your thyroid system.

Check out the rest of Dirty Dozen list of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

Related on EcoSalon:
BPA and Infertility: What’s Really Going On?
Plastic Hormones: Enviromental Estrogen is Everywhere
14 Fashion Brands Test Positive for Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

Image: EWG