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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Top 10 Endocrine Disruptors To Avoid

The Top 10 Endocrine Disruptors To Avoid

Constant exposure to endocrine disruptors is like putting a drop of water in the gas tank of a car. One drop may not have a major impact, but drip by drip, the car soon breaks down. Endocrine disruptors do the same thing to the human body. Unlike the car, before the body breaks down its main systems go haywire and present symptoms such as infertility, weight gain, cardiac disease, dementia, and so much more. That’s because hormones from endocrine organs, such as the thyroid, pituitary gland, testes, ovaries, pancreas, adrenal glands, and even the gastrointestinal tract, control every function in the body.


Top Endocrine Disruptors

The following 10 endocrine disruptors are the main ones you should completely avoid. Where possible, I’ve included ways to avoid exposure as well as simple strategies you can take to reduce body accumulation.

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#1. Organophosphate Pesticides

These pesticides get sprayed all over our food in an effort to kill common crop pests. Pesticide residue on vegetables and fruits are one of the most common ways we consume these dangerous chemicals, unless we choose organic. Organophosphate pesticides have been shown to cause infertility in men, slow brain development in children, and have even been shown to affect thyroid function. [1] [2] Always choose organic when purchasing food to avoid these pesticides.

#2. 17α-Ethynylestradiol

Don’t let the name of this compound turn you off. 17α-Ethynylestradiol is a synthetic form of estrogen and the only one that remains active when taken orally. Currently, this synthetic hormone can be found in all forms of oral birth control. Studies have shown that it promotes breast cancer complications and cell proliferation. [3] Even the US government has acknowledged its dangerous effects.

#3. Fire Retardants (PBDEs)

PBDEs, or polybrominated diethyl ethers, disrupt thyroid function by blocking the uptake of iodine, eventually taking its place in the thyroid. [4] Because of this action, they also mimic and disrupt thyroid hormones. PBDEs have been linked to lower IQ and are proven to negatively affect neural and physical development in children and developing infants. [5]

#4. Phthalates

Phthalates have been getting a lot of attention recently, and for very good reason. These chemicals are added to plastics to aid durability and flexibility; yet, their negative health effects have been constantly reported in various studies all across the world. Phthalates can easily leach into water, and people drinking water bottles are the most susceptible to chronic exposure. Research has confirmed that phthalates inhibit sperm cell development, initiating early cell death. [6] These chemicals have also been linked to obesity,diabetes, and thyroid conditions. Always store foods and liquids in glass whenever possible, or choose phthalate-free varieties if necessary.

#5. BPA

You’ve probably heard of BPA (Bisphenol A) by now, thanks in part to the massive publicity surrounding their controversial health effects. While BPAs may not be an entirely new subject, they still manage to permeate their way into our food and environment. Food cans, plastic bottles, cell phone protectors, and water pipes continue to use BPA. The chemical even coats store receipts. This chemical easily leaches from containers and can absorb through the skin on contact; studies have found people who handle receipts have this chemical in their urine just a few hours later. According to government research, ninety-three percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. BPA is extremely concerning as it has been tied to obesity, breast cancer, early-onset puberty, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive problems. Choose BPA-free storage containers and use glass whenever possible.

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#6. Perchlorate

Found in rocket fuel, explosives, fireworks, and fertilizers, this common environmental chemical noticeably disrupts thyroid function. Similarly to PBDEs, perchlorate replaces iodine in the thyroid and leads to decreased thyroid activity. Symptoms of decreased thyroid activity include weight gain, poor energy, and depression. Water contains the highest concentrations of perchlorate. The best solution to prevent damage from this endocrine disruptor is to ensure you are getting enough quality iodine on a daily basis. Also, a high-quality water filter may also help filter out perchlorate.

#7. Arsenic

This element naturally occurs deep within the earth’s crust, but can also get released through mining and other industrial activities, finding its way directly into our water sources. [7] Exposure to arsenic can result in insulin resistance, immune system suppression, slowed cognitive development, cardiovascular damage, and weight gain/loss. [8] The best way to protect against arsenic is to install a water filter, one that specifically contains the ability to remove arsenic.

#8. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)

It’s estimated that 99% of Americans have PFC accumulation in their bodies. PFCs are commonly used to make non-stick pans. During cooking, some of these chemicals escape into your food and have the power to accumulate in your body. Once its there, it can become really tough to get out. PFCs disrupt hormone function and have been tied toinfertility, ineffective sperm, heart disease, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, and low birth-weight in babies. A recent study confirmed PFCs, especially PFOA and PFHxS, negatively affect thyroid hormone levels. [9] A deep and thorough cleansing may be helpful for removing built up levels of PFCs in the body. Avoiding non-stick cookware is also extremely important.

#9. Mercury

We all know mercury is toxic and dangerous to pregnant women and the babies they carry. It’s known to affect women in particular as it will bind with a hormone essential to menstruation and ovulation. Mercury also attacks the pancreas, thereby affecting insulin production. This action may lead to diabetes; however, research is unclear on this topic. Reducing seafood consumption may be one of the best solutions to reduce mercury intake; unfortunately, fish is no longer the only concern. The new CFL light bulbs contain dangerous levels of mercury. In fact, if one of these light bulbs break, it’s recommended you evacuate the area to prevent exposure.

#10. Dioxin

The US government recognizes dioxin as an endocrine disruptor, so how come they are continuing to pollute our environment? Research connects dioxin, a by product of many industrial processes, with heart disease, diabetes, reduced fertility, poor sperm activity and low sperm counts, embryo development interference, and spontaneous miscarriage. [10] Meats and other food products which contain animal products provide the majority of exposure to Americans. It accumulates in fat and can remain for years, slowly poisoning us.

What Can We Do?

While difficult, it is possible to take steps to avoid endocrine disruptors. If you eat meat or fish, choose organic, free-range, or wild sources. Buy fresh, organic produce as much as possible, and choose glass for food storage. Make sure you supplement with iodine to protect the thyroid. I also highly recommend regular cleansing to help the liver remove toxin accumulation.

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


1. Jurewicz J1, Polaska K, Hanke W. Chemical exposure early in life and the neurodevelopment of children–an overview of current epidemiological evidence Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013;20(3):465-86.

2. Aguilar-Garduo C1, Lacasaa M, Blanco-Muoz J, Rodriguez-Barranco M, Hernandez AF, Bassol S, Gonzalez-Alzaga B, Cebrin ME. Changes in male hormone profile after occupational organophosphate exposure A longitudinal study. Toxicology. 2013 May 10;307:55-65. doi: 10.1016/j.tox.2012.11.001.

3. Barbara Demeneix. Examples of Chemical Pollution Targeting Thyroid Hormone Action,+iodine+uptake&source=bl&ots=45_JkfWc9a&sig=R-1m8YPBfTTh5JowRmA9Cwjxw7k&hl=en&sa=X&ei=l1vJU4z0Ne7hsASIxoCADQ&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=PBDEs%2C%20iodine%20uptake&f=false. Losing Our Minds: How Environmental Pollution Impairs Human Intelligence and Mental Health.

4. Lata K1, Mukherjee TK2. Knockdown of receptor for advanced glycation end products attenuate 17-ethinyl-estradiol dependent proliferation and survival of MCF-7 breast cancer cells Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Mar;1840(3):1083-91. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2013.11.014.

5. Eskenazi B1, Chevrier J, Rauch SA, Kogut K, Harley KG, Johnson C, Trujillo C, Sjdin A, Bradman A. In utero and childhood polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) exposures and neurodevelopment in the CHAMACOS study not allowed class="postlink" href=""> Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Feb;121(2):257-62. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1205597.

6. Specht IO1, Toft G2, Hougaard KS3, Lindh CH4, Lenters V5, Jnsson BA6, Heederik D7, Giwercman A8, Bonde JP9. Associations between serum phthalates and biomarkers of reproductive function in 589 adult men Environ Int. 2014 May;66:146-56. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.02.002.

7. Garelick H1, Jones H, Dybowska A, Valsami-Jones E. Arsenic pollution sources Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2008;197:17-60.

8. Naujokas MF1, Anderson B, Ahsan H, Aposhian HV, Graziano JH, Thompson C, Suk WA. The broad scope of health effects from chronic arsenic exposure: update on a worldwide public health problem Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Mar;121(3):295-302. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1205875.

9. Wen LL1, Lin LY, Su TC, Chen PC, Lin CY. Association between serum perfluorinated chemicals and thyroid function in U.S. adults: the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2010 J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Sep;98(9):E1456-64. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-1282.

10.Chen SC1, Liao TL, Wei YH, Tzeng CR, Kao SH. Endocrine disruptor, dioxin (TCDD)-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in human trophoblast-like JAR cells Mol Hum Reprod. 2010 May;16(5):361-72. doi: 10.1093/molehr/gaq004.

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