The Hidden Health Havoc: Part II

Welcome Back

You already know what you put in your body is CRUCIAL to your wellness. And last week we discussed how what goes AROUND or ON your body can also impact your health (because we absorb what’s around us). If this still sounds like hippie mumbo jumbo, check out this post.

So now let’s move on to the nitty gritty details.

Remember the term endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs)? As a quick refresher from my last post, EDCs are substances that interfere with the normal functioning of your body’s endocrine system. It should come as no surprise that EDCs pose a threat if you consume them (like eating or drinking them). What is surprising? That being around EDCs or having them in physical contact with your skin also poses a major threat.

How EDCs Harm You

EDCs can harm your body in many tangible ways. The top ways include:

  1. Neurological conditions (including ADHD)

  2. Endometriosis and fibroids (and other female reproductive issues)

  3. Premature death (this one explains itself)

  4. Obesity

  5. Diabetes

  6. Male reproductive problems

It is estimated that EDCs account for $340 BILLION in healthcare costs and lost earnings in the US.

Sources of EDCs

If you are a health conscious kind of person, you’ve probably heard of the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen. These two lists are road maps to help you avoid pesticides and carcinogens in your food. Each year, the Environmental Working Group publishes updated Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen lists. The Clean 15, as the name suggests, is a list of the 15 foods that are typically safe to buy and eat that are conventionally produced. On the flip side, the Dirty Dozen are the top 12 foods that you should either avoid or buy organic.

The good news is we now have an equivalent list for endocrine disruptor chemicals (EDCs).

The list for EDCs is called the Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors.

The Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors includes the top 12 most offensive hormone-altering chemicals. Please note, there are nearly 1,000 known EDCs and they can be found it:

  • Personal care products
  • Cosmetics
  • Fragrances
  • Contaminated soil, water, and air
  • Food contaminated through chemicals in the food chain
  • Food packaging (such as linings of cans, plastic)
  • Workplace: industrial chemicals, pesticides, fungicides
  • Textiles and clothing (flame retardant fabrics)
  • Medications
  • Antibacterial soaps

The EDC Dirty Dozen

And here are the top 12 hormone-altering chemicals. Drum roll please!

How to Limit Exposure to EDCs

Over the course of this series, I will give you specific advice on how to avoid exposure to ECDs. In the meantime, here are some general tips to help limit exposure to EDCs.

  1. Switch to EDC-free household cleaning products and soaps (see this link for more details)
  2. Use all natural cosmetics and personal care items
  3. Use fragrance-free (or naturally fragranced with essential oils) cosmetics and personal care items
  4. Not microwaving food in plastic covers or covered in plastic wrap
  5. Washing plastic food containers by hand instead of in the dishwasher
  6. Avoid using plastic containers with the numbers 3, 6, or 7
  7. Use more fresh food (versus processed/packaged/fast foods)
  8. Use healthy building materials (
  9. Eat organic produce on high risk fruits and vegetables
  10. Treat drinking and cooking water

What’s Coming Next

Now you know more about EDCs and where they hide. Next week, the series continues and I’ll be sharing the top 5 products to replace ASAP to help you reduce exposure to carcinogens and EDCs.

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What You Put ON Your Body Is As Important As What You Put In Your Body

The Hidden Health Havoc

Eeeek! I am pumped for this week’s blog topic (the start of a new series). Because it’s something that I am passionate about. And something that MOST people on a healthier path don’t consider.

Once you learn about it, it’s completely obvious and will change the way you think about self care.

Most of us can agree that what you put in your body (food/drink) has a major impact on your wellness. To put it bluntly: you are what you eat.

What may surprise you is what you put ON your body also has a great impact on your health.

I 100% promise this is evidence-based and not some hippie mumbo jumbo. This is real.

Other Health Experts Agree

A few months back, I attended a seminar on nutrition for elite athletes from a well respected source. The seminar (obviously) focused primarily on food and drink. Then the conversation shifted to the non-food. And I got excited.

I got excited because the experts were FINALLY talking about something I’ve been obsessed with for years. They were talking about what you PUT on your body. Experts now agree that what you put on your body can impact the way the insides of your body functions.

How it Works

You may be wondering how what you put on your body impacts your health (and performance if you are an elite athlete).

NEWSFLASH: It has TONS to do with your health.

The reason? What you put on your body is often ABSORBED into your body.

You may be thinking this sounds like voodoo. Or wondering how what you put on your body can get into your body.

But this is NOT voodoo. Your body really does absorb many things you use on it. Think about it: your skin is a semi-permeable membrane. It’s not a solid steel shield that provides an intense barrier between the inside of your body.

In fact, we actually use the skin to deliver medicines to the entire body. Think about nicotine or birth control patches — these small patches can actually deliver enough medication for the entire body for multiple days. Trust me — I spent a semester in pharmacy school learning about all the ways our body absorbs things.

Why This Matters to You

How does all this matter to YOU?

For one, it matters because of the personal care products you use. Men, on average, use 6 personal care products a day (think antiperspirant, shave gel, tooth paste, lotion, body wash, and sunscreen). These six products contain approximately 85 unique chemical ingredients. Women, on the other hand, use about 12 products a day with roughly 168 unique ingredients.

This means that you are exposing yourself to 85 to 168 extra chemical ingredients each day. Not all of these ingredients are harmful — in fact many may be safe or are minimally absorbed. Others, however, can pose a threat.

How Chemical Exposure Impacts Your Health

How does chemical exposure impact your health? I’ll share the highlights.

1.) Some chemical ingredients are known carcinogens.

This takes little explanation. Carcinogen = cancer causing = bad. Bottom line: you may be (accidentally) exposing yourself to known carcinogens on a daily basis. Yikes!

2.) Other chemical ingredients are endocrine disruptor chemicals (or EDCs).

This one is more complicated.

EDCs are substances that interfere with the normal functioning of your body’s endocrine system. Your endocrine system controls the way your body develops and functions — it produces hormones that travel through your body that maintain your organs, tissues, and participate in your overall health and wellness. EDCs can be found in the environment (water supply, soil), food and beverages, and manufactured products (like personal care items).

This isn’t some hippie, pachouli-wearing mumbo jumbo.

EDCs are well known and described in scientific literature. In fact, an article published in The Lancet (a well respected and traditional medical journal) estimated the financial burden of EDCs in the US is 340 billion dollars. The image below shows how the $340 billion is split between various health problems.

How to Protect Yourself

The bad news is what you put on/expose your body to can impact your health. The good news is you CAN protect yourself from carcinogens and EDCs.  

First of all, you need to know which ingredients are carcinogens and EDCs. Then you need to avoid them.

Sounds easy, right? It can actually be trickier because many carcinogens and EDCs are legally used in the US. Flame retardants, cosmetics, fragrance/perfume/cologne, soaps can contain these dangerous chemicals.

Crazy, right? Well it is.

That’s where I come in. Over the next few weeks, I will teach you about the worst chemical offenders and easy ways to avoid them. Plus I’ll share some homemade personal care substitutes that will save your health and your wallet.

It’s going to be great.

So check back next week where we’ll tackle Part II of this important (and often overlooked) series.

See you soon,