The effect of hormone disruptors was first noticed in wildlife, but
is now being observed in humans, for example, in the worldwide decline
in sperm count.
Over 100,000 synthetic chemicals are now in widespread use but this is still very recent in terms of evolution.
It has been more than 70 years since toxic chemicals such as PCBs
and DDT were introduced. The first generation of children exposed to
these chemicals in the womb has recently reached reproductive age, and
we are seeing more and more hormone problems and infertility. In fact,
most people have been exposed to dangerous chemical toxins throughout
Our waterways contain residues of birth control pills,
antidepressants, painkillers, shampoos and many other chemical
compounds. Pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) are
entering rivers from sewage treatment plants or leaching into
groundwater from septic systems.
Most of these substances are not checked for their effects on health, including fertility.
Examples of Chemicals that act as Hormone Disruptors
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) – now banned, but traces can still
be found in pesticides, electrical transformers, hydraulic fluid,
compressors, varnishes, inks, flame resistors, carbonless copy paper and
even some cosmetics.
- Heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel) –
present in cigarette smoke, paints, plastics, batteries, water pipes,
dental fillings, fluorescent lights, large fish, cosmetics and treated
- Organochlorines and many other pesticides - including insecticides, fungicides and herbicides.
- Parabens – found in deodorants.
- Butylated hydroxyanosole (BHA) and alkyl phenol ethoxylates
-present in many foods as well as paints, plastics, toiletries,
cosmetics, some medications, cleaning products, spermicides, polystyrene
and PCV, herbicides and pesticides.
- Dioxins – by-product of chlorine bleaching from industry (pulp
mills, etc) and present in sanitary products and disposable nappies;
linked to endometriosis.
- Bisphenol A, DEHP (di-ethyl hexyl phthalate) – plasticizers
present in flexible plastics e.g. PVC and polycarbonate plastics,
cellophane, cling wrap/cling film, plastic bags, drink bottles,
take-away containers, linings in food cans.
- Other phthalates - present in seatbelts, hose pipes, plastic
dental fillings, moisturisers, hairsprays, insect repellents, solvents,
coatings on time-released medicines, soap, shampoo, detergents.
- Car pollution.
- Other – chlorine bleaches, petrol combustion by-products, dieldrin, atrazine and methylchlor.
Safeguarding yourself from hormone disruptors
Apart from drinking filtered water and eating organic food, there
is not a lot we can do in terms of avoidance. The best advice is to
regularly detoxify your system of these residues.
- Purify all drinking water with a good quality purifier, including
water used to wash fruit and vegetables and water boiled in a kettle.
Hormonal residue from the urine of animals and women taking the oral
contraceptive pill makes its way, along with most of the other
substances mentioned, into our water supplies.
- Buy organically grown and fed foods, as animal fat is a reservoir for these toxins.
- Avoid seafood that is not from the river or the
coast (especially crustaceans and other bottom dwellers) as these may be
exposed to industrial or agricultural run-off.
- Also avoid large fish such as swordfish, as these
are at the top of the food chain and may be high in heavy metals,
- Store food in glass, ceramic or stainless steel
containers (or even rigid, non-flexible plastic), especially if hot,
fatty, liquid or acidic.
- Don’t microwave!
- Avoid using pesticides, toxic paint and bleaches. Use only environmentally-friendly cleaning products.
- Don’t apply deodorant immediately after shaving.
- Replace amalgam or plastic teeth fillings with
porcelain or even gold. There are also some plastic fillings that don’t
- Replace bleached tampons and sanitary pads with
cotton/hemp reusable pads, or even organic tampons (though these should
be reserved for high-need occasions, as restricting blood flow may have
implications for endometriosis).
- Avoid sanding back old, lead-containing paints or treated pine.
- Test for heavy metal contamination (through hair
analysis, electro-dermal or urine). If found, use high-level
antioxidants e.g. selenium, zinc, Vitamin C, humic acid and liver
support to detoxify and chelate heavy metals.
- Avoid drinking hot drinks from Styrofoam cups as they are a potent source of Bisphenol A.
The Natural PCOS Diet
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