What you should know about Endocrine Disruptors

If you have been reading the Protect Our Breast blogs, you are familiar with the chemicals, pesticides, and toxins that we are exposed to in our everyday life. Some of these have been described as endocrine disruptors. I’d like to give you all a clearer idea of what an endocrine disruptor exactly is, and why they need to be avoided.

An endocrine disruptor can be defined in many ways, but Dr. Tom Zoeller, the scientific advisor to Protect Our Breasts, feels that it should be defined as an exogenous chemical or mixture of chemicals that interferes with any aspect of hormone action. In plain English, outside chemicals that come in contact with the body can cause a change in how our bodies work, and this process is responsible for many diseases and ailments in our society today.  The outside chemicals often mimic natural hormones and nutrients, so they are accepted into the body and can easily interrupt a crucial function. The recent influx of diseases and cancer over the last century can be attributed to our new reliance on chemicals and industrial products.

Endocrine disruptors are synthetic, or manmade, chemicals. These chemicals are often persistent, meaning that they will remain in the body’s system and resist decay. Even low doses can be very damaging, because the body’s response will be determined from the timing of the exposure. For example, women who are pregnant, along with the unborn babies in the womb, have bodies that are very susceptible to these artificial hormones.

As young women, we are exposed to a myriad of these endocrine disruptors, from our cosmetics, to our food and clothes. From years of chemical use, our earth has hormone-disrupting chemicals in almost every aspect of it, such as the air, soil and grass. We cannot control these exposures, so we need to make sure that we take advantage of the control we do have, such as in our purchases. Consumer choices against these products will result in policy change, and a safer world for everyone.

Cancer is the most extreme and unfortunate result of exposure, but other affects can result as well. ADD, abnormalities in birth, or infertility, can also be consequences of exposure. Since many of these chemicals are very common in the market, it is up to us to make an informed decision, and avoid products that contain them. Protect Our Breasts is working to help you make these decisions as we relay what we know, to you. The extent of what we can be exposed to is intimidating, but manageable; we just need to be aware and vigilant about what we put in and around our bodies.


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