Avoiding EDCs to Evade their Harm
By Erika Lundgren, Functional Medicine Nutritionist
First of all, what the heck is an EDC and WHY should I avoid it for my health?
EDC stands for endocrine-disrupting chemicals, which are non-natural chemicals or mixtures of chemicals in our food sources, environment, personal care and manufactured products that can mimic, block, or interfere with our body’s endocrine system. Our endocrine system influences almost every cell, organ and function of our bodies by regulating and releasing hormones helping control mood, growth and development, METABOLISM and reproduction. Researchers have linked consistent exposure to these hormone disrupters with numerous adverse human health outcomes; such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular issues, neurological and learning disabilities, altered nervous system function, early puberty, endometriosis, respiratory problems, metabolic issues, alterations in fertility and certain cancers. Our children are the most vulnerable because of their accelerated growth.
Incorporating the following measures into your lifestyle can help protect you and your loved ones from EDC exposure.
- Buy organic produce and unprocessed foods – buy organic from the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list (ewg.org) if budget is a concern
- Choose fresh, frozen or dried foods – canned goods have bisphenol-A, BPA Free may also contain a similar EDC
- Try to buy loose food that isn’t packaged and make sure to thoroughly wash produce 4. DON’T eat microwave popcorn – the bags have PFAS (per- & polyfluoroalkyl substances) 5. Swap out plastic bottled water for a NSF-certified water filter bottle or filter attached to the sink
- Read labels on EVERYTHING and be suspicious of food marketing
- Avoid nonstick pans and black plastic cooking utensils – they could be made from recycled electronic waste plastic
- Store and heat food in glass containers in lieu of plastic – BPA, Phthalates, Phenol can leach out into your food from food storage materials
- Eat enough iodine (e.g. sea vegetables) which may protect against perchlorate 10. Turn up your nose at fragrances – personal care products including dish and laundry soaps 11. Avoid waterproof or stain resistant clothing
- Use reusable coffee cups instead of single-use cups
- Reduce herbicide and pesticide use – DDT, Chlorpyrifos, Atrazine, 2,4-D, Glyphosate 14. Dust with a wet rag and vacuum with a HEPA filter frequently to reduce EDC contamination 15. Avoid harsh household cleaners
- Stay away from buying stain-resistant carpets or rugs
- Wash your hands – especially before you eat
- Replace plastic baggies with reusable ones and plastic wrap with beeswax-coated cloth 19. Resist the urge to buy children’s cosmetics and body care – lip gloss, bath bubbles, glitters, kid-related lotions, polishes
- Avoid plastic children’s toys – infants & toddlers tend to put toys in their mouths
Kirchnawy, C., Hager, F., Osorio Piniella, V., Jeschko, M., Washüttl, M., Mertl, J., Mathieu-Huart, A., & Rousselle, C. (2020). Potential endocrine disrupting properties of toys for babies and infants. PloS one, 15(4), e0231171.