This month at HHW we are focusing on cancer awareness. There has been an increasing amount of toxins in our environment over the last 100 years. One specific category that are linked to cancer are xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens are endocrine disruptors that can have estrogen-like effects in our body. They can disrupt our hormone balance quickly. They are found in pesticides, hormones that are given to livestock, plastic, chlorine, cleaning products, personal care products, and more. This list may seem overwhelming- but you can start by assessing where you and your family may be exposed to xenoestrogens, and then work at cutting down this exposure.
One great resource is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Their website lists toxins and what products they are found in, and also provides information on environmental toxins in general. They also have a handy app that you can use to scan products and get ratings on them. https://www.ewg.org/ https://www.ewg.org/apps/
Another key lifestyle factor to consider in carcinogen exposure is our diet. A few ways to cut down on xenoestrogens in the diet is to eat organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible. If this is hard- due to access or budget- you can focus on the Clean 15 and the Dirty 12. Try not to buy the Dirty 12 unless they are organic. The Clean 15 are safer to buy non-organic if needed, due to cost. Another tip is to avoid all pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in your own yard and garden, and buy hormone free meats and dairy products.
Plastic is everywhere in our environment- it can be overwhelming to think of eliminating it completely. One of the most important steps you can take it to avoid heating plastic- don’t heat up things in plastic in the microwave. Throw out plastic water bottles that have been exposed to high heat. Don’t use plastic wrap to cover hot things and instead use glass containers for leftovers and freezing food.
For household products try using chemical free, biodegradable laundry soap and household cleaning products. A great resource is attitudeliving.com- all products on this site are backed by the Environmental Working Group.
Health and beauty products can also be a significant source of xenoestrogens. The EWG recently estimated that the average woman is exposed to over 180 toxins a day through their products! Using their app as a resource can help reduce toxic cosmetics and overall toxic load.
In conclusion, even taking a few of these steps can make a difference in your carcinogen exposure over time. Combining less overall exposure with a healthy, detoxifying diet can impact our overall disease risk.