Modern Hippie Girl

Xenoestrogens: What Are They?

Posted on: January 13, 2013

According to everyone’s favorite source for information, Wikipedia states xenoestrogens are a type of xenohormone that can mimic estrogen. A xenohormone is either a naturally occurring or synthetically created compound that imitates the body’s natural hormones. These compounds have been proven to disrupt the endocrine system.

Estrogen is a naturally occurring hormone in every person’s body, both male and female. Women make more of it, of course. Xenoestrogens act like estrogen, therefore filling our systems with even more estrogen than is natural. The health dangers of xenoestrogens have been documented. They have been linked to high cases of breast cancer, adenymyosis, endometriosis, premature puberty, infertility, and miscarriages. In men, an excess of estrogen can cause low sperm count and prostate and testicular cancer.

Unfortunately, there is a long list of xenoestrogens and they are found in almost every single thing we use. Laundry detergent, lotions, food, chlorine (which is put in drinking water), plastics.

Here is a list of known xenoestrogens:

  • Alkylphenol
  • Atrazine (weedkiller)
  • 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (sunscreen lotions)
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)
  • Bisphenol A (monomer for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin; antioxidant in plasticizers)
  • Chlorine and chlorine by-products
  • Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (one of the breakdown products of DDT)
  • Dieldrin (insecticide)
  • DDT (insecticide)
  • Endosulfan (insecticide)
  • Erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
  • Ethinylestradiol (combined oral contraceptive pill)
  • Heptachlor (insecticide)
  • Lindane / hexachlorocyclohexane (insecticide)
  • Metalloestrogens (a class of inorganic xenoestrogens)
  • Methoxychlor (insecticide)
  • Nonylphenol and derivatives (industrial surfactants; emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization; laboratory detergents; pesticides)
  • Pentachlorophenol (general biocide and wood preservative)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls / PCBs (in electrical oils, lubricants, adhesives, paints)
  • Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben commonly used as preservatives in personal care products)
  • Phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
  • Phthalates (plasticizers)
  • DEHP (plasticizer for PVC)
  • Propyl gallate

You may be asking how can you live free of xenoestrogens? You can’t, but you can avoid them as much as possible. Eating organic food is always better than eating food grown with pesticides or fed growth hormones. Avoid plastic bottles. Grab an aluminum water bottle and fill that up instead of buying a bottle of water every time you need one. You can avoid chlorine by using filtered water to drink and bathe in. Never microwave food in plastic containers or put hot liquids in styrofoam cups. Avoid using plastics whenever possible (plastic wrap, plastic containers, plastic cups, etc).

The liver will filter 80% to 90% of the xenoestrogens we take into our bodies through our mouths. This is a good thing, and makes this lifestyle change a little easier. Our skin, however, will absorb 100% of the xenoestrogens we put on it. Reading the labels of the beauty products we use has never been more important.

Parabens – A preservative commonly found in bath and body products (shampoos, conditioners, body washes, lotions, makeup, etc…think everything)

Phthalates – A binding agent designed to make plastic softer and more durable, can be found in perfumes, eye shadows, nail polish, moisturizers, as well as tons of household products. Thankfully these are getting phased out but still be on the lookout for them.

Watch out for those. They are big ones and with the switch to completely organic health and beauty products they can be avoided. In the case of xenoestrogens, what we put on us is as important, if not more so, than what we put in us.


1 Response to "Xenoestrogens: What Are They?"

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