(Endocrine Disruptors) are a group of chemicals that interfere with a number of biological functions such as hormones, cells, and organs. They are found in everyday products such as a laundry detergent, shampoo, or a non-stick pan. They are also found in some pesticides and plastics. People who are particularly sensitive to the effects of endocrine disruptors may suffer from a number of health problems including hypothyroidism, infertility, and allergic reactions, and more.
There are literally thousands of chemicals in everyday use that have the potential to alter our endocrine system, and even more yet not in use. Some of these chemicals are found in small amounts, while others are more ubiquitous in the environment, food, and even in our own bodies. Endocrine disruptors (EDs) affect important hormone-related systems such as the thyroid, sex hormones, and the body’s insulin and leptin responses.
You may have heard about endocrine disruptors (EDs). They can be found in everyday products, such as plastics or pesticides. They are used in the food supply and in consumer products, and can be found in wastewater. But what exactly are they, and why are they important?
We are exposed to substances that alter our hormone system on a daily basis. It may seem ominous, but there is some good news. You can better defend yourself if you know what to avoid.
What was the name of the water bottle you just drank from? There’s a good chance it includes an endocrine disruptor.
What was the name of the carpet you were seated on? It most likely includes an endocrine disruptor as well.
What was the name of the shampoo you just used? Disruptor of the endocrine system.
What was that fish you just ate? Yes. Disruptor of the endocrine system.
Hormone manipulators are continuously bombarding us, it’s true. They’re all over the place. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular. What’s more, you’ll learn what you can do to lower your risk.
What are the effects of endocrine disruptors?
The endocrine system is made up of hormone-secreting glands.
Hormones function as chemical messengers after they are released. They move throughout the body, connecting to particular cell receptors and triggering predictable biological changes.
Source: Schug TT, et al. Endocrine disruptors and susceptibility to disease. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 2011;127:204-215.
Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are substances that have the ability to imitate hormones. They may attach to hormone receptors in this way:
- produce an even greater response than the initial hormone;
- produce a lesser response than the parent hormone; or create a weaker reaction than the parent hormone
- produce a very different response than the initial hormone
In the end, EDs may change how hormones are made (synthesis), transported, bound, and degraded.
Even small quantities may have an impact. As a result, EDs are often measured in ppt (parts per trillion).
Furthermore, the ED is very steady. To put it another way, they aren’t readily broken down. As a result, numerous companies incorporate them in their goods. Of course, this implies that they persist for a long time in the water, air, and soil (as well as in our bodies).
Because our hormonal system is so important to our bodies’ functioning and wellbeing, the following are some of the possible effects of ED if it is disrupted:
- the effects of oxidative stress
- Changes in testicular function and testosterone synthesis suppression
- menarche at a young age
- Social issues and sensory impairments (especially if they occur at a young age)
- cholesterol to steroid hormone conversion is changed
- Obesity development (due to altered metabolism, fat cell signaling, glucose uptake, inflammation and appetite).
- In fat cells, EDs are stored (the more fat in the body, the more likely EDs are to be stored).
- Pupil maturation is postponed.
- Immune system function
- Bone health, heart health, and mental health are all deteriorating.
Many DEs exhibit non-linear behavior, which is interesting to notice. This implies that EDs may be dangerous in both low and large dosages. Moderate dosages, on the other hand, may have no effect.
Why? Moderate ED dosages may be the only ones that provide our cells with a sufficiently robust (relative to the dose) protective response.
It’s important not to overlook the cocktail’s potential side effects. Because multiple EDs enter the body at the same time, their effects may be compounded and difficult to distinguish.
Endocrine disruptors: An review of some of the origins, effects, and mechanisms of action on behavior and neuroendocrine systems. Source: Frye CA, et al. J of Neuroendocrinology, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 144-159, 2011.
Where can you find endocrine disruptors?
Chemicals are generated in greater quantities as a result of industrialisation. These substances are discharged into the atmosphere. As a result, EDs may be discovered in:
- electricity supply
- Personal Care Items
- Products for the pharmaceutical industry
Unfortunately, there is presently no comprehensive legislation in the United States that covers EDs.
The Endocrine Disrupters Screening Program (EDSP) tests approximately 87 000 substances at the moment. This is a lot, but the EDSP still lacks regulatory power, which is unfortunate.
All substances that may have short or long-term negative impacts on biodiversity or represent a danger to human health must be managed under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.
Endocrine disruptors, on the other hand, are difficult to eliminate. Both natural and manufactured EDs may be found in foods.
Natural phytoestrogens, for example, are abundant in soy. Synthetic flame retardants may be found in meat, milk, fish, and eggs.
EDs have been discovered in breast milk.
Erectile dysfunction affects a large number of pregnant women in the United States, according to studies. Long-term metabolic outcomes of the children may be influenced by this exposure.
Some even think that ED exposure during pregnancy may cause the illness to develop later in life. Children and babies are more vulnerable to EDs.
Endocrine disruptors are the most prevalent.
Let’s take a look at some EDs that have been well studied.
Dioxins and PCBs
Pesticides are where you’ll find it. Combustion’s by-product.
Strengths: Although it has been prohibited since the 1980s, it is still prevalent in the environment and is accumulating in the food chain. Thyroid hormones are similar. Thyroid hormone delivery and metabolism are disrupted.
Plastics, paint, furniture, electronics, and food are all examples.
Strengths: Flame retardants are utilized in a wide range of goods nowadays to keep them from catching fire. The bulk of flame retardants used are polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and tetrabromobisphenol A (TBPA). Their structure, which is similar to thyroid hormones, may throw the thyroid gland’s equilibrium off. They have the ability to change androgen and estrogen signaling, as well as accumulate in human tissues over time. Meat, fish, dairy products, and eggs are the four major dietary sources. Except for infants, of course. It’s through their mother’s milk that they receive it. Breast milk in the United States is 10 to 20 times greater than in Europe.
Levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the Expanded US Market Food Basket Study and estimates of dietary consumption of PBDEs by age and sex. Source: Schecter A, et al. Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 114, no. 5, pp. 1515-1520, 2006.
Meat is where you’ll find it. Combustion’s by-product.
Strengths: Causes brain development to be disrupted. The thyroid gland’s function is altered. The male hypothalamus is becoming de-masculinized. Men’s sexual behavior is reduced. Fruit and vegetable intake may help to protect against dioxins.
Soy and other items contain it.
Strengths: Non-steroidal substances found in nature that bind to and activate estrogen receptors. It may be beneficial to your health. The phytoestrogen concentration in soy products is substantially reduced after extraction and processing with alcohol. Phytoestrogen levels are greater in babies who are fed soy-based formula. Men who consume enough soy seem to have no detrimental effects on testosterone or fertility. However, a diet based only on soy is generally unwise.
Food, water, and land are all places where you may find it.
Strengths: There is a negative correlation between pesticide use and thyroid hormone levels. It has something to do with ADHD.
Chemicals that are perfluorinated
Some food packaging was discovered. Kitchen utensils with a non-stick coating.
Strengths: Represents an intervention in the thyroid gland’s metabolism.
Plastics, food packaging, cosmetics, and cleaning goods are all examples. If the product is perfumed or aromatic, phthalates are almost certainly present.
Anti-androgens are a strength. Affects the quality of sperm. Phthalates are receptor agonists that control fat cell development. IGF-1 levels may be influenced.
BPA (Bisphenol A) is a (bisphenol A)
Plastic, food packaging, and the lining of many food and beverage containers are all examples. At room temperature and/or higher temperatures, plastic may seep into food/beverages. During the manufacturing, transportation, and processing of a product, something may be discharged into the environment. Plastic gets up in landfills, soil, and groundwater when we toss it away. The more DE a material generates, the older it is.
In 1964, the United States produced about 42 tons of GAP. In 2007, the United States generated about 1 million tonnes of GAP.
Strengths: Agonist for the estrogen receptor. BPA is present in the bodies of over 90% of the population in the United States, and it is not easily eliminated. Cardiovascular illness, diabetes, sperm abnormalities, reproductive organ malfunction, and decreased immunity have all been linked to the impacts on the human body. BPA has been shown to have negative impacts on animals. The Canadian Environmental Protection Act prohibits the use of BPA.
Sunscreen and cosmetics are examples of products that include this ingredient.
Strengths: Thyroid function may be affected. They are estrogenic in nature.
Personal care items and antibacterial treatments include this ingredient.
Strengths: Linked to allergies, asthma, and CNS issues. Thyroid hormones’ function in the body may be affected.
Found in the aerospace, defense, and pharmaceutical sectors as a by-product. Drinking water and pyrotechnics are both examples.
Strengths: Interfere with thyroid gland iodine uptake. Women are more empathetic than males.
A broad variety of goods is where you’ll find it. It’s a common ingredient in deodorants. Polyester textiles may also be utilized.
Capable of penetrating the skin and entering the body. Estrogen-like. Some of these are found naturally in food.
BHA and BHT are two different types of BHA.
As a preservative, it’s found in: products/gum.
Strengths: It has been shown to be carcinogenic in animal tests.
These are, of course, just the most frequent (and potentially frightening). See All About Environmental Toxins for additional information on EDs.
EDs and the Environment
Exposure to ED causes harm to wild animals, according to the findings. And, unlike us, giraffes do not microwave their food in plastic; they simply live on Earth and are exposed to our waste.
EDs may build up over time:
- we are
- other creatures
The incomplete combustion of fossil fuels causes several EDs. The most essential thing we can do as a species to prevent further stress is to eat less. Using less things reduces reliance on fossil fuels, which are the primary cause of ED.
What options do you have?
Everything sounds a little frightening and sad. However, by taking a few common-sense precautions, you can lessen the impact of crises.
First, think about how you can keep the effects to a minimum. Keeping as many hazardous chemicals out of your home as possible and simply replacing common household pollutants is an easy method to accomplish this. All about indoor air pollution and All about safe cosmetics are good places to start.
Be a discerning shopper. Inquire about the chemicals used in the goods. Look for alternatives that are as safe and ecologically friendly as possible, or that are completely innocuous to the human body.
Lessening the use of fossil fuels. Travel via vehicle, public transportation, walking, or riding a bike.
Aids in the removal of poisons from the body. Eat the freshest, highest-quality food you can find, ideally organic if feasible. Make an effort to stay active and sweat. Make use of a far-infrared sauna. Make sure your liver is in good shape and consume lots of fiber. Ask your doctor or nurse about evidence-based detoxification procedures if you believe you’re at danger.
Use glass, steel, ceramic, and aluminum containers wherever feasible. So far, they seem to be safer and more environmentally friendly. Avoid heating meals in plastic or polystyrene containers; instead, use wooden or metal utensils. Salads or super shakes may be served in leftover jars of the appropriate size and shape.
EDs are likely to have a compounding impact. As a result, any improvement is beneficial. It’s preferable to make a little adjustment than to be concerned about something beyond your control.
To view the sources of information used in this article, go here.
The impact of endocrine disruptors on the thyroid, Boas M, et al. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, vol. 355, no. 2, pp. 240-248, 2012.
Bisphenol A and its equivalents stimulate the human pregnane X receptor, according to Yipeng et al. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 120, No. 4, 2012, pp. 399-405.
EM Rees Clayton et al. NHANES 2003-2006: Effects of bisphenol A and triclosan on immunological parameters in the US population. Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 119, no. 3, pp. 390-396, 2011.
Soy, phytoestrogens, and their impact on reproductive health. Cederroth CR, Zimmermann C, Nef S. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, vol. 355, no. 1, pp. 192-200, 2012.
Plastic parts: Animal testing and its implications for human health, Talsness CE, et al. Phil Trans R Soc B, vol. 364, no. 20, pp. 2079-2096, 2009.
Endocrine disruptors: An review of origins, consequences, and mechanisms of action on behavior and neuroendocrine systems. Frye CA, et al. J of Neuroendocrinology, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 144-159, 2011.
Anthropogenic pollutants: a danger to ecosystem sustainability? Rhind, S.M. 3391-3401 in Phil Trans R Soc B, 2009.
Endocrine disruptors: Mechanisms of action and role in metabolic diseases, Swedenborg E, et al. Journal of Molecular Endocrinology, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 1-10, 2009.
Endocrine disruptors and obesity: A study of selected persistent organic pollutants in the 1999-2002 NHANES data, Elobeid MA, et al. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2010;7:2988-3005.
Mathur PP & D’Cruz SC. Effects of environmental pollutants on testicular function. Asian Journal of Andrology 2011;13:585-591.
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Environmental chemicals in pregnant women in the United States: NHANES 2003-2004, Woodruff TJ, Zota AR, Schwartz JM.
J Environmental Management 2012;104:19-34. Flint S, et al. Bisphenol A exposure, effects, and measures: A wildlife viewpoint.
Effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on women’s reproductive health. Fowler PA, et al. Molecular and cellular endocrinology, vol. 355, no. 2, pp. 231-239, 2012.
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Endocrine disruptors and thyroid hormone physiology, Jugan ML, Levi Y, Blondeau JP. Biochemical Pharmacology, vol. 79, no. 9, pp. 939-947, 2010.
Sunscreen: Are they Good for Your Health? Krause M, et al. An summary of UV filters’ endocrine disruptive effects. International Journal of Andrology, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 424-436, 2012.
Perinatal nutrition programming affects metabolic health and illness in adulthood, according to D. Vieau. 133-136 in World Journal of Diabetes, 2011.
JD Meeker, S Sathyanarayana, and SH Swan. Human exposure to phthalates and other plastic compounds, as well as the health consequences. Phil Trans R Soc B, vol. 364, no. 20, pp. 2097-2113, 2009.
Schug TT, et al. Endocrine disruptors and susceptibility to disease. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 2011;127:204-215.
Thyroid-damaging compounds in plastic additives and thyroid health, Syam S, et al. Environmental Carcinogenesis and Ecotoxicology Reviews, Volume C, Journal of Environmental and Health Sciences, Volume C: Environmental Carcinogenesis and Ecotoxicology Reviews, Volume C: Environmental Carcinogenesis and Ecotoxicology Reviews, Volume C: Environmental Carcinogenesis and Ecotoxicology Reviews, Volume C: Environmental
Hormones and endocrine disrupting chemicals: Low dosage effects and nonmonotonic dose responses, Vandenberg LN, et al. Endocrine Reviews, vol. 33, no. 4, pp. 378-455, 2012.
Levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the Expanded US Market Food Basket Study and estimates of dietary PBDE consumption by age and sex, Schecter A, et al. Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 114, no. 5, pp. 1515-1520, 2006.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What are the examples of endocrine disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system, which is a part of the bodys nervous and hormonal systems. They can cause problems like obesity, infertility, and cancer.
What are common endocrine disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine system, which is responsible for regulating hormones in the body.
What are some dangers of endocrine disruptors?
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can interfere with the endocrine system, which is a part of the bodys nervous and endocrine system. They have been found in many common household products such as plastics, pesticides, food additives, and cosmetics.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- endocrine disruptors in cosmetics
- types of endocrine disruptors
- how to avoid endocrine disruptors
- endocrine disruption
- endocrine disruptors