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Endocrine Disruptors

An endocrine disruptor is a synthetic chemical that when absorbed into the body either mimics or blocks hormones and disrupts the body’s normal functions. This disruption can happen through altering normal hormone levels, halting or stimulating the production of hormones, or changing the way hormones travel through the body, thus affecting the functions that these hormones control. Chemicals that are known human endocrine disruptors include diethylstilbesterol (the drug DES), dioxin, PCBs, DDT, and some other pesticides. Many chemicals, particularly pesticides and plasticizers, are suspected endocrine disruptors based on limited animal studies.

Exposure to Endocrine Disruptors

Here is a fact sheet on endocrine disruptors and exposure to them. According to the EDC fact sheet, Endocrine disrupting chemicals can be found in:

  • Plastics
  • Pesticides                                   
  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Sunscreens
  • Furnitures
  • Electronics
  • Food
  • Food packaging
  • Many other things that are used daily

How Endocrine Disruptors Can Impact Your Health

Endocrine disruptors have a negative effect on humans and wildlife. Exposure at different stages of life can affect how your body is impacted by Endocrine Disruptors. If you are exposed to endocrine disruptors during fetal development, early childhood, or puberty, it could have more of an impact. Health effects include:

  • Delay in cognitive development
  • Cancer
  • Reduced reproductive ability
  • Secondary sex changes
  • Increased fat accumulation

 The EDC fact sheet has more information on health effects

How to Avoid Endocrine Disruptors

The NRDC has a helpful list on how to avoid EDC’s. Some of these strategies include:

  • Washing your hands
  • Dusting and Vacuuming often
  • Try to avoid fragrances in all aspects of life
  • Try to avoid plastics as much as possible
  • Avoid cans (many are lined with BPA)
  • Watch what you eat
  • Filter tap water

More extensive information can be found on the NRDC’s website. 

EPA information on EDC’s

Endocrine Disruptor