Endocrine Disruptors and Your Health
July 13, 2011By Lynel Shreve
An important piece of legislation was introduced in Congress today, The Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Exposure Elimination Act of 2011. This marks an inflection point in the story of environmental effects on human health. Endocrine disruptors are chemical compounds that disrupt hormones, and importantly,
the endocrine system regulates almost every function of the body, including metabolism, growth and development, reproductive processes, and emotional health. These chemicals are found in agricultural pesticides and in many common household items like cleaning products, furniture, toys, and cosmetics.
Dr. Theo Colborn and Dr. Lynn Carroll of TEDX have recently compiled a new list of all chemicals known to disrupt one or more aspects of the endocrine system. They list 803 chemicals on the “TEDX List of Potential Endocrine Disruptors”, of which 269 are pesticide related.
It is important to avoid these chemicals in your homes and in your diet. Children in critical stages of development and in the womb are particularly vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals that can trigger lifelong changes with sometimes very negative consequences. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to ADHD, autism, birth defects, and some cancers.
What can you do?
- Educate yourself, family and friends about endocrine disruptors.
- Buy organic food whenever possible. People consuming a predominantly organic diet ingest a small fraction of the total amount of endocrine disrupting pesticides, compared to people consuming mostly conventionally grown food.
- Avoid using pesticides in your yard.
- Find out if pesticides are used in your child’s school or day care center and campaign for non-toxic alternatives.
- Avoid plastic food containers, soft plastic toys and teethers that can leech chemicals.