Thursday, September 29, 2011

healthSMARTS: Protecting Yourself From Xenoestrogens

I am waging war on toxins, especially xenoestrogens, in my household.  These are mostly man-made compounds (some do occur in nature and are called phytoestrogens) that mimic the function of estrogen in the body and lead to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance is associated with major health problems like endometriosis, prostate cancer, weight gain, depression, infertility/impotency, and breast cancer (in both men and women). These compounds are what we are specifically trying to avoid when we buy organic produce because fertilizers are some of the worst offenders. But even if you were successful in avoiding xenoestrogens in your food, your efforts would be undone every time you use toiletries, cosmetics, cook on your non-stick pans, put on clothes washed in mainstream detergent, drink out of most plastic bottles, or clean your house. It's pretty overwhelming when you really think about it.

There is not an area of my daily life that isn't touched by chemicals that are harmful to my body. Nearly everything I normally buy contains them. It would cost hundreds of dollars to replace all my make up, household cleansers, cookware, and all the food in my pantry.  So, I've come to the conclusion that I just have to take it one step at a time.  

When the non-stick surfaces on my pots and pans inevitably breaks down, they will be replaced with stainless, iron or copper.

As I run out of soap or shampoo, I am replacing it with something safer. How do I know what is better?  The Skin Deep Cosmetic Database helps me figure out what to avoid and what to replace it with. Not all name brands are terrible.  Original formula Colgate (which I love) is fine. When a natural brand is in order, I am lucky because my local grocery carries a wide variety of natural toiletries and cosmetics.

Around the house I am learning to make my own cleansers and detergents using natural products. Look for posts about these in the coming weeks. Yesterday I made laundry detergent! 

Eliminating xenoestrogens from my life is basically going to be a lifelong battle that I can never really win. They are just too pervasive. But the SMART thing to do is to try. If you have any tips on limiting exposure please share them in the comments!

- Kate Peterson

By day Kate is a marketing professional, wife and mom (to both a boy and a dog), and likes to pretend she can decorate, garden and paint. She is a pretty good cook, aspiring writer, avid reader, the maid around here, and the publisher and editor of SMARTS. By night she is exhausted.

1 comment:

Missy said...

A friend and I were just taking about the estrogen crisis as we are both experiencing hormone problems at the early age of 34. I have been making my own laundry detergent too from Fels Naptha soap, washing soda, and borax. What's in your recipe?