In this post, I am going to give a brief summary of the top 2 endocrine disruptors: BPA, and Phthalates.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
This is probably the one that most of us are already somewhat familiar with. It has been in the news a lot lately in regards to its presence in baby bottles and other household items. It’s basically a chemical that helps to hold plastic together to make it hard and durable.
BPA can be found in baby bottles, reusable food containers, and the linings of metal cans of food as well as other items.
The most well known risk of BPA is that it is a “synthetic estrogen.” It has been found, in studies with lab animals, that early exposure to BPA predisposes them to prostate and breast cancers. It has also been suggested that it may lower fertility, increase asthma rates, increase the risk of developing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, cause insulin resistance/diabetes, and increase cardiovascular problems! Yikes!
Plastics are all around us so I will be realistic in saying that I will not be able to rid my home of all traces of BPA or other chemicals. I’ll be honest that I quickly dismissed all of the “hype” that initially developed a couple of years ago regarding BPA. In fact, I was pregnant with my second baby and we chose to reuse the bottles from our first baby (not BPA-free). Today, if I have a choice between a food container with BPA and a BPA-free container, you can be sure that I will be choosing the BPA-free one because of what I have learned recently!
Phthalates are chemicals added to plastics to make them flexible. They can be found in teething rings, pacifiers, shower curtains, plastic wrap, and plastic food containers. They can also be used to lengthen the life of fragrances in personal care products. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 banned the use of phthalates in products for children 3 and under, but they are still easily found in many products especially if they were made before the ban.
Phthalates have been associated with reduced testosterone levels in children and adults which could lead to lower fertility rates as adults.
Mount Sinai’s Children’s Environmental Health Center performed a study that found that children exposed to phthalates before birth were more likely to exhibit symptoms of ADHD between the ages of 4 and 9.
Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to determine which products contain phthalates. Many personal care products list “fragrance” in their ingredient list and since it is considered proprietary information, they do not have to specifically list each chemical contained in their product.
You can check the Skin Deep, the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic database, to see information that they have on various products. They take the ingredients in more than 25,000 products and matches them with 50 toxicity and regulatory databases.
I just want to put it out there that I am not judging anyone on what they change or do not change in regards to this information. I am just putting the information out there. It is definitely a personal choice. In fact, the changes that I am making are very small in the scheme of things. Most people that are educated on these things will probably “judge” me for not making enough changes in my home. Oh well! Even a few little changes are better than none at all….and it is up to me (and you) to make the changes that I choose for my own family.