What the heck are endocrine disruptors?
Let’s get into it!
Your endocrine system is a drop dead gorgeous organ system of glands and each gland secretes a type of hormone that regulates a specific function in the body. It’s kind of your body's internal communication system, it calls the shots. Every human has an endocrine system - it’s a wonder, a beautiful complex symphony or a heavy metal rock concert (whatever you’re into), it’s powerful. In order for our hormones to carry out their functions they have to be in balance. When just a single hormone is disrupted and can’t do its job it creates a symptom and continued imbalance creates further symptoms which can eventually develop into a chronic condition(s).
An endocrine disruptor is anything that interferes with the production, release, transport, metabolism or elimination of our own natural hormones. Toxic chemicals are big disruptors and exposure to them through body care products, plastic packaging, food, air, water, soil and other consumer products have truly adverse effects on the health of people and the planet.
Endocrine disruptors can bind to hormone receptor sites and prevent our own hormones from doing their job. Superrrrrrr uncool. They can increase and decrease the production of certain hormones, mimic other hormones in the body (like estrogen), tell cells to die prematurely, compete with essential nutrients, interfere and block the way natural hormones receptors are made or controlled, like altering how they are metabolized in the liver, and accumulating in organs that produce hormones.These disruptors impact development, immune health, reproductive health, brain health and more. Endocrine disruptors also bioaccumulate in the environment and impact our animal friends and their families, too.
Stay tuned for the nitty gritty on the most common endocrine disruptors, how to avoid them and take a stand against companies who continue to use them.
Sources: EWG, NIEHS, EPA, ALISA VITTI