Hormone Mimickers, put simply, are man made chemicals (and some natural) that react in our body similarly to how our own hormones react. They can fool our cells into thinking that they are the hormones themselves, and so give false signals. It’s very dangerous indeed to disrupt hormones as when our body’s balance is played with, health and mood issues from minor to major arise – most notably? Endocrine disruptive disorders and boy what a minefield they can be to navigate out of.
In my teens / early 20s I would microwave popcorn bags, plastic containers, I used heavily fragranced hair products, body creams and lotions, cheap cosmetics, contact papered books, shower curtains, loads of inexpensive tinned food… I was swimming in hormone mimicking cocktails and came out the other end with a sub clinical thyroid issue, too much oestrogen in my system and polycystic ovarian syndrome! Judging by the internet forums and studies, there are millions more just like me – and perhaps you too as you read this?
I know most people tend to frown upon ‘alarmism’, but i’m not too sure how to talk about hormone disruption and the things I’ve learnt, without alarming people… It IS alarming, so the anti-alarmists best tune out now… no offence taken.
We cannot wait to find out ‘for sure’ if these things are harmful when there is such a large net of doubt from independent scientists around the world, cast over this issue, with more and more studies emerging each day that affect not just one generation, but several afterwards.
In terms of the effects of hormone mimicking chemicals in our bodies, we’re looking at compromised reproductive and behavioural health, immune systems, thyroids, neurological systems, and tumour development, all being very strongly linked – is not the fact that there ‘could be’ a link, enough when it comes to issues like this and their potential to affect us so adversely? The power to vote through knowledge and with one’s dollar, is possibly the only true power we have – I ain’t waiting for 3 eyed babies to make the change!
What are the most prevalent hormone mimickers?
BPA – It’s mostly now out of baby’s bottles but this puppy needs to come out of everything. You only need to look at the birth defect stats on women who’ve worked in BPA factories to know that this stuff is B.A.D! It’s in many plastics, resins, paints, varnishes, tin can linings and inks.
Phthalates – They help perfume / fragrances last longer and they make plastics softer and help PVC be flame resistant – these guys lurk in nearly every fragranced product and many kiddies toys, raincoats, microwaveable bags and pet toys.
Parabens – Used most commonly as a preservative and found in many personal care products.
How I should change what I’m doing?
Short of living in a field with a veggie patch and a hemp weaved yoga mat, the best way we can diminish our personal hormone mimicking baggage, is to know where they mainly lurk, and make the right choices around that bit by bit as we find replacements.
I’ve had over 2000 people now do the GO LOW TOX e course and we head into the 7th round January 23rd – We cover every aspect of daily life choices and get you confidently hip with the lingo, able to spot a fake and switching and ditching with glee.
In the meantime, you can start with these tips which are about 1/150th of the course content just to give you an idea of how thorough a resource it is!
What to ditch?
Air freshener, artificially scented candles and perfumes.
I don’t know what made these chemical manufacturing giants think that they were the authority on capturing the scent of fresh alpines and ocean mists…Those weird cans, fake scented candles and ‘time release technology’ products stink! No one is under any legal obligation to mention ‘phthalates’ as an ingredient on their packaging – scary! Needless to say they reside in almost every home cleaning product, most cosmetics, many fragrances and children’s soft plastic toys and air freshener. They hide mostly under the word “fragrance’. For cosmetics, stay natural and buy from brands that state that they are proudly phthalate free or use fragrances with natural essential oils – for a full and thorough low tox online site, you cannot beat Nourished Life.
Ditch most of your canned food and say no to receipts wherever possible- BPA in the lining of cans and the ink on receipts almost all of the time! The 2 brands of cans I know that are BPA free are Honest to Goodness organics and Global Organics. On receipts, there’s BPA in the coating. Given that BPA is a chief ingredient in ink also, whenever it’s not essential to read a physical newspaper or take a receipt, then don’t. BPA hangs out often in plastic bags and cling film, so wherever you can, avoid those too. Use wax paper for cheese storage, brown paper bags for your sandwiches and dry snacks.
Ditch PVC – Kids raincoats, Shower curtains, Vinyl flooring, loads of soft plastic kids toys and contact paper – all leaching PVC which is packed with phthalates. Also, it’s long been thought that because a fire takes longer to catch on PVC material that it is a safer choice. Sadly it’s a massive double edged sword as researchers have found that in the ‘hot pre-flame’ stage it’s giving off hydrogen chloride and dioxin gasses, which cause burns themselves, permanent respiratory conditions, cancer and reproductive abnormalities – Definitely worth checking the labels on a few house hold items there! I was shocked recently looking for a raincoat for my little man how hard it was to find ‘PVC free’ ones. It was like some tags were boasting that they were ‘100% pvc’ – Nothing to be proud of as it turns out! Ended up having to ship one from the UK from Mini Boden range – which is beautiful! http://www.boden.co.uk … where I found the divine little insulated PVC free raincoat for my little man and I bought it big so it’s lasted us 4 years so far.
Parabens lurk in many cosmetic products, so the best thing you can do is keep your routine simple and go paraben free. Read the ingredients!
Work up a sweat – Toxins and foreign chemicals are most always stored in fat, except for the water-soluble ones such as phthalates. One sure fire way of minimising the amount of these chemicals ‘on board’ with you in your fat tissue, therefore, is to do that extra run, sauna, swim, kettle bell set or dance class and work all the chemicals off – literally! Less toxins AND a better looking bod. It’s a win win.
And when it comes to plastics, it’s best to avoid 3, 6 and 7 if that is one of the numbers in the little triangle underneath the item. I’ve written a post on that here if you fancy checking it out. Stay away also from storing food in plastic long term, ie, in your pantry and opt for glass or stainless steel storage solutions instead.
So there you go. Good luck going through what you’ve got, and starting to shop for better alternative brands or simply cut down on the amount you’re using of things. For cleaning products I choose Ecostore and good old fashioned baking soda and white vinegar. For body products, just cold pressed coconut oil or 100% shea butter. For tinned food for cooking emergencies, I stick to the two brands I mentioned above and then for cosmetics, I stay organic, simple and natural. If you’re on a journey with this too, I’d love to hear your ideas on what you’ve eliminated and found to be easy or challenging if you’ve time to post a comment & don’t forget to check out these stockists.
Most importantly? Just buy less stuff. We over complicate things because we’re told we NEED so many things. Not so. Going low tox is a wonderful exercise in minimalism, switching to simpler, safer options.
In fact, I have a whole 30 day course on the journey of going low tox, so why not sign up to the blog to get the next round’s release date – SIGN UP HERE
Low Tox. Happy Bodies. Happy Planet.
Awesome stockists that I am proud to affiliate for their commitment to reducing these endocrine disruptors in their product stocking choices…
Nourished Life. A Mum, Irene Falcone, who one day decided to throw it all away (the toxic stuff that is) and start replacing everything with toxic free ingredients – transforming the health of herself and her family, and now educating her community through her blog and shop. She makes shopping for beauty a delicious, prestige experience, minus the crap.
BIOME – Tracey Bailey was a low tox internet pioneer 10 years ago now, and has a wonderful strong leaning towards Aussie brands too.
I adore these women and their incredible commitment to this space. Support them and make this ‘crap free category’ grow to send a powerful message to the beauty industry.
Further geeky reading…
On the banning of DDT pesticide in the late 60s/70s which was highly toxic and hormone mimicking http://www.edf.org/about/our-mission-and-history