Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Endocrine Disruptors

This is going to be an introductory post to endocrine disruptors (AKA hormone disruptors) and a summary of their potential threats. It should definitely get your attention. Next I'll focus on the major endocrine disruptor offenders: BPA, Phthalates, Flame Retardants, and Phytoestrogens and what I've done to minimize my family's exposure.

First, a quick review of the very important endocrine system:


"The endocrine system is the exquisitely balanced system of glands and hormones that regulates such vital functions as body growth, response to stress and behavior, production and utilization of insulin, rate of metabolism, intelligence and behavior, and the ability to reproduce." (www.endocrinedisruption.com, 7-Nov-11)


Over the last 60 years advances in technology have produced a growing number of synthetic chemicals (EDCs) that have become a part of just about everything we purchase and use on a daily basis. They are inside and outside, in our cleaners, toys, furniture, pesticides, makeup, I could go on forever... Many of these chemicals have properties that mess with our endocrine system. They can mimic the natural hormones in your body such as estrogen, testosterone,or thyroid hormones, which can overstimulate your system. Others can turn on, shut off, or modify the signals that hormones carry which can affect tissue and organ function. Simply stated, these synthetic chemicals screw with the natural and normal way our bodies work. For a complete list of these endocrine disrupting offenders check out this website: http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/Basics/chemlist.htm


Pregnant mamas and mothers of little ones listen up: Studies show that there are a few times in life that EDCs are especially harmful and can do the most damage - during prenatal and postnatal development when organ and neural systems are developing. The effects of early exposure might not manifest until later in life and they can even be passed along to future generations when genes are programmed. Crazy to think that your future grandchildren could be effected by exposures today. Since the 1970s the following human disorders have increased in prevalence:

Central Nervous System

Autism
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Learning Disabilities
Parkinson’s Disease
Alzheimer’s Disease

Female Reproductive System

Endometriosis
Breast Cancer
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Male Reproductive System

Cryptorchidism (undescended testicles)
Hypospadias
Infertility/Subfertility
Testicular Cancer
Prostate Cancer

Other

Juvenile Diabetes
Obesity
Autoimmune Disorders
Asthma
Osteoporosis
Juvenile Cancer
Thyroid Disorders
There is sufficient evidence from lab animal and human epidemiological (which is the study of disease in populations) studies to support the theory that these disorders could be the result of prenatal exposure to EDCs. For more on these studies check out: EDC studies

Pediatric cancer rates have also been on the rise in a major way. A quote from Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York who is one of the driving forces in data on childhood cancer:


"While mortality from childhood cancer has gone sharply down, incidence rates are increasing. There has been a 55% increase from 1975 to 2005 in the incidence of leukemia in 0 to 14-year-olds and an 81% increase for acute lymphocytic leukemia - the most common type of leukemia.  The explanation for this increase may be due in part to better diagnostics, but this alone does not account for the continued inexorable rise. Serious consideration must be given to the possibility that environmental factors are involved."


From the National Cancer Institute: "Over the past 20 years, there has been some increase in the incidence of children diagnosed with all forms of invasive cancer, from 11.5 cases per 100,000 children in 1975 to 14.8 per 100,000 children in 2004." 


Thats a 29% increase!!! Billions and billions spent on research and decades of advances in modern medicine yet rates of chronic disease are increasing not deceasing?! It is my personal opinion that the artificial and synthetic world we live in is to blame. I 100% believe that the purer you keep your body the healthier you'll be.


As a mother this is TERRIFYING. To think that the shampoo I used, the couch that I sat on, or the plastic fork that I ate with at a picnic while I was pregnant could possibly effect Olivia's health makes me want to live in a bubble. This is very scary and overwhelming, but there is good news. There are ways to reduce and avoid exposure by the products you choose to purchase - more to come....


I promise my future posts won't be so heavy.  Just had some major points to drive home to get us started.


In the meantime, check out the following sources for additional information and the studies:

National Institute of Environmental Health Studies
Healthy Child Healthy World
The Endocrine Disruption Exchange
National Cancer Institute

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