Do you know what xenoestrogens are? They are chemicals that can mimic estrogen. (xeno means “foreign”) They are synthetic chemicals that can have an estrogen effect in the body which means they are chemicals that fit into the estrogen receptors in our bodies. I love the description Sara Gottfried, MD says of xenoestrogens. “Think of them as unwanted guests, drinking, chatting convivially, but they are really party crashers who will disrupt the whole affair when they take off their masks.” So, not only are they crashing your endocrine party but they are stored in your fat tissue for decades, and the greatest amount of these live in breast tissue. Lengthened exposure to estrogen (or xenoestrogens) creates a significant risk factor for breast cancer.
What kind of disease is related to xeno-estrogens?
- Increase in breast, uterine, prostate and ovarian cancers
- Estrogen dominance
- Diabetes type 2
- Heart disease
- Fibroids and the list go on
Where do they come from? They are everywhere and are hard to avoid. You find them in plastic bottles, flame retardants, some cosmetic creams, bisphenol-A (BPA), phalates, industrial wastes and more. They are found in the pollution in the air, the water we drink, and the pesticides used to grow your food. You hear the word estrogen so you assume that this only affects women. NOPE, they are also messing with men too. They’re wreaking havoc on men’s sperm count and prostate cancer, It’s not only affecting humans but the animals in the sea also. Scientists have found a rising rate of xenoestrogens in our oceans and seals to polar bears to turtles are being found with a lot of genital confusion. Not good!
So what can we do to insure that we take as few xenoestrogens into our bodies
- Avoid plastics as much as possible. Use glass when you can. Don’t heat plastic – especially in the microwave as it moves the plastic chemicals into your food. Do not use plastic wrap in the microwave. Don’t leave plastic water bottles in the car as they heat up and transfer the xenoestrogens into your water.
- BPA is not only in plastic bottles, but it lines the cans of most canned food. A few years ago the Environmental Working Group published a study that showed that BPA leaked from canned food linings into more than half the canned foods and drinks and that the worst offenders where chicken soup and ravioli. There are some canned foods that have changed, for example Eden Foods. Their cans say right on them, BPA free.
- Use glass containers as often as you can. I have these great pyrex glass containers that go from freezer to oven and they are terrific.
- Eat organic and hormone free foods whenever you can.
- Choose phthalate free nail polish
- Try to avoid all those plastics that just smell like plastic – think shower curtains.
- Stay away from Styrofoam cups and plates
- And Finally eat healthy greens and work on cleansing your liver seasonally to eliminate as many of these chemicals in our body – eat cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, do a few weeks of milk thistle every season and add delicious green leafy vegetables into your diet such as dandelion greens and kale.
Tell me what you’ve been doing to decrease the chemical exposure in your life. Write your comments below. I'd love to hear from you.