What is the endocrine system?
Your body’s endocrine system is a network of organs and glands that work with other systems to help create, distribute and regulate hormones that your body needs to function properly.
How do endocrine-disrupting chemicals affect your hormones?
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals that disrupt or damage your body’s hormone-making organs and processes. This occurs when a chemical mimics a particular hormone, which prevents your body from using or absorbing a particular hormone. This process interferes with the way your hormones talk to each other or hijacks your hormone-producing organs.
EDCs cause adverse effects in animals, however, there is limited scientific information on potential health problems in humans. This is because humans are normally exposed to multiple EDCs at the same time, thus making assessing public health effects difficult.
How do people encounter endocrine-disrupting chemicals?
EDCs are substances in the environment (air, soil, or water supply), food sources, personal care products and manufactured products that interfere with the normal function of your body’s endocrine system. It is evident that EDCs come from many different sources and people can be exposed to them in a number of different ways. You can be exposed to EDCs through simple activities such as breathing air, eating food or drinking water; EDCs can even enter your body through the skin. Some EDCs break down slowly in the environment which makes them potentially hazardous over time. Even low exposure to EDC’s can be unsafe as they can alter your body’s sensitive development and reproductive systems – potentially leading to health problems.
What are some endocrine-disrupting chemicals?
How to reduce exposure
When purchasing items, it is important to check labels and do your research to buy what is safe and suitable for you. Below are some tips to help you reduce exposure to EDC’s:
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Carr, K. (n.d). 9 Easy Ways to Avoid Hormone-Harming Endocrine Disruptors.https://kriscarr.com/blog/hormone-harming-endocrine-disruptors/#:~:text=Choose%20fresh%2C%20unpackaged%20foods%20and%20BPA-free%20cans.%20This,iron%2C%20titanium%20or%20ceramic%20pans%20rather%20than%20non-stick
Endocrine Society. (2022). Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s).https://www.endocrine.org/patient-engagement/endocrine-library/edcs
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. (2022). Endocrine disruptors.https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/index.cfm
Openshaw, R. (2018). Endocrine Disruptors: 14 Common Chemicals that Affect your hormones.https://greensmoothiegirl.com/endocrine-disruptors/
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