You’re eating well. You’re exercising. You try to get enough sleep. But you’re still not feeling as great as you could. Did you know that your environment (i.e. your home) could be to blame? You may have already seen some pretty doom-and-gloom fear based headlines around toxins. And if they’ve made you tune out to the overall message, I don’t blame you. I don’t like them either. But the science is clear that we need to be paying attention to the chemicals we are exposed to every day, particularly hormone disrupting chemicals.
The good news is, there are some simple ways you can help support your health at home.
What are Hormone Disrupting Chemicals
Because our hormones are such small molecules, hormone disrupting chemicals are able to affect the body at much lower concentrations than other chemicals.
In fact, studies show there’s a link between our exposure to every day products in our homes and hormone disruption. Since our hormones are responsible for controlling so many functions in the body, from our thyroid to reproductive system to part of our brain and beyond, this disruption can contribute to a range of symptoms. Issues linked with environmental exposures to chemicals include:
- Auto-immune disease
- Thyroid irregularities
- Reproductive issues
- Developmental issues
- Neurological issues
Where are Hormone Disrupting Chemicals Found
Hormone disruptors are ubiquitous in the environment and our homes. They are found in body care products, cleaners, our food and water, non-stick and water proof coatings, mattresses, electronics, and even some children’s pyjamas.
Because many of the health effects take years or even generations to manifest, aren’t consistent across the population, and are difficult to quantify they are poorly regulated. However, the research into low-dose exposures of chemicals is mounting and some regulations have changed already because of it. For example, BPA has been banned from use in baby bottles. (BPA and phthalates have still been found in products labelled as BPA and phthalate free, but that’s a different story.)
How You Can Reduce Your Exposure to Hormone Disrupting Chemicals
It is impossible to eliminate hormone disruptors and other toxins from our lives. But you can make simple changes to your routine and our homes to greatly reduce your exposure. By doing so, you can lower your body burden.
Your body burden or toxic load is affected by your exposures, stress, sleep, diet, and more. When it gets too high, serious health effects can result.
Holistic health practitioners (like those at Body Co!) can help you improve your body’s ability to detoxify. Your job is to lower the input of toxins in the first place so your liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, and gut can get rid of what you can’t control.
Here are four simple ways you can reduce hormone disrupting chemicals in your home:
- Dust. Boring, I know, but studies have shown household dust to contain high concentrations of hormone disrupting flame retardants thanks to our electronics and furniture.
- Eliminate scented conventional cleaners, including air fresheners, room sprays, plug-in deodorizers. These fill your home with synthetic fragrance, which can include any number of hundreds of chemicals. This often includes phthalates, which are known hormone disruptors, along with carcinogens, asthmagens, and more. Opt for green cleaners – but make sure to do your research! Cleaners don’t have to list ingredients and labels are often misleading. Here’s my list of green vs greenwashed brands.
- Switch to more natural personal care products. Start by focusing on what you use every day and that sit on your skin, and work your way through your products from there. Check out the ThinkDirty app to help you see if your products contain hormone disruptors, carcinogens, or skin irritants (it’s not perfect, but it’s a good place to start. You can also use this list of brands to find out which ones are truly healthy vs just greenwashed.
- Reduce meat consumption. Some chemicals that were widely used have been banned for decades never leave our environment. They’re found everywhere, and end up in our food via the soil and water. These chemicals bioaccumulate, which means they’re found in higher concentrations the higher up the food chain you go. And guess who’s at the top? We are. So opt for plant-based meals a few times a week to help reduce your exposure (using the Dirty Dozen for organic produce).
There are so many different ways you can reduce toxins in your home. It all starts with understanding why you want to choose healthier products in the first place, and where your biggest exposures are. From there, you can create a plan to help you reduce your body burden and set yourself up for better long-term health. Ready to get started? Join me and over 1,500 others in my free Facebook Group, the Green Product Forum, focused on supporting you in creating a healthier home!
Emma is an environmental engineer, mom of 2, and founder of Green at Home. She helps families reduce toxins at home without overwhelm, a lifestyle overhaul, or spending a fortune. She also helps health professionals incorporate environmental health into their practice. Emma is a David Suzuki Foundation Queen of Green Coach and guest lecturer at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Learn more at https://www.greenathome.ca/ and follow Green at Home on Facebook and Instagram.