There are chemicals in our environment that mimic the action of hormones in the body. These chemicals are called “endocrine disruptors” and they interfere with the function of hormones such as oestrogen, testosterone, insulin & thyroid hormones. This causes a wide range of health problems as you can imagine.
Over the last 70 years thousands of man-made chemicals have been released into the environment. As many as 85% of these chemicals have never been tested for adverse effects on human health due to inadequate health and safety screening. Some researchers are linking the massive increase in breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty and fertility problems to these chemicals.
These endocrine disruptors are more common than you may realise. Some, such as DDT and PCBs, have been banned for some time but they still persist in the environment and make their way into our food chain. Ways you can reduce your exposure are:
* Buy certified organic where possible. Food that is certified organic has been grown on land that has not had exposure to chemicals for at least 7 years prior to planting and no harmful chemicals are used in the growing. Note that “free range” is NOT the same as certified organic.
* If you can’t afford organic, scrub your vegetables and fruit under running water to reduce the pesticide residue.
* Grow your own fresh vegies and herbs.
* Avoid heating or storing food in plastic containers or using plastic clingwrap over food. Avoid plastic drinking bottles.
* Avoid deodorants, anti-perspirants and cosmetics that contain parabens. These chemicals have oestrogen-like properties, and oestrogen is one of the hormones involved in the development of breast cancer.