by guest blogger Ava Anderson, natural beauty expert and safe cosmetics advocate
Many see “hormone disruptors” and think that they only matter to “women of a certain age.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, eight glands in the endocrine system produce and release hormones that regulate everything from metabolism and growth and development, tissue function, and sleep to reproduction, sexual function, and mood, for all humans—from birth to death. Almost every cell in the body is affected by the endocrine system. A recent report from the Environmental Working Group states, “There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies—increasing production of certain hormones, decreasing production of others, imitating hormones, turning one hormone into another, interfering with hormone signaling, telling cells to die prematurely, competing with essential nutrients, binding to essential hormones, and accumulating in organs that produce hormones.”
Therefore, chemicals that disrupt our hormones can upset our entire systems—an issue recently highlighted by a joint report released last march by The United Nations and World Health Organization stating that, “Endocrine Disruptors (EDC’s) are a global threat to fertility and the environment.”
Keeping in mind that a good percentage of what we inhale and absorb can reach the bloodstream and consequently our endocrine system, I advise avoiding the following endocrine disruptors to reduce your body’s burden:
1. Phthalates (THAL-ates)—legally hidden in trade-secret ingredient “fragrance” or “parfum.” More than 75 percent of all products with the ingredient fragrance are tested to contain phthalates, which comes as no surprise, as phthalates are used to extend the life and reach of the secret synthetic scent. Studies have linked phthalates to diabetes, obesity, lower sperm count, birth defects in male reproductive system, early puberty, breast cancer, demasculinization of males, thyroid irregularities, autism and ADHD. AVOID: any product inhaled or absorbed with ingredients listed as “fragrance” or “parfum.”
2. Parabens—known to disrupt hormone function, an effect linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. They also increase the expression of genes usually regulated by estradiol (a natural form of estrogen); these genes cause human breast cancer cells to grow and multiply in cellular studies, says the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. In addition, parabens are linked to cancer, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and skin irritation.
AVOID: methyl-, ethyl-, propyl-, isopropyl-, and all other parabens.
3. Chemical sunscreen filters—including oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Over the past decade dozens of studies have examined the potential health hazards of these sunscreen chemicals, including possible skin irritation or allergy, hormone disruption, and skin damage that occurs when sunlight acts on sunscreen chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group. AVOID: above chemicals, and look for “NON-nanoparticle” zinc oxide–based sunscreens, without other added harmful chemicals.
4. Triclosan—an antimicrobial chemical, registered with the government as a pesticide. Triclosan has been linked to antibiotic resistance and is a known hormone disruptor that has been shown to alter male and female sex hormones in animal studies, which could lead to problems like early onset puberty, reduced fertility, and cancer. Triclosan accumulates in the environment, contaminating surface and ground water, and it survives the wastewater treatment process and persists in “toxic sludge” that is sold to local farmers as “natural fertilizer.” AVOID: triclosan and triclocarban
5. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)—fluorine-containing chemicals with unique properties to make materials stain and stick resistant. Found in grease-resistant food packaging, nonstick cookware, and personal care products like shampoo, dental floss, nail polish, and denture cleaners. AVOID: teflon, “fluoro” or “perfluoro” ingredients.
6. Glycol ethers—solvents derived from fuel, found in cleaning solutions and personal care products, as well as paints, inks, and degreasers. The European Union says that some of these chemicals “may damage fertility or the unborn child.” Children who were exposed to glycol ethers from paint in their bedrooms had substantially more asthma and allergies. AVOID: In personal care products—propylene glycol, ethanol, and other glycols. In cleaning products—2-butoxyethanol and methoxydiglycol.
Yes, the best solution is better regulation to keep harmful chemicals from coming to the market, while removing those already there that we know or suspect to be harmful. However, having been to lobby Congress twice now for the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Act, and having heard firsthand the political roadblocks that arise out of party affiliations and self-serving turf battles on the Energy and Commerce Committee, I have reservations that the committee will ever even allow this critical health preventative measure to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. But as American purchasers, we have the power to decide to never purchase the products that contain these chemicals that in turn support the companies that lobby against change.
Please read your product labels, pull aside any with these ingredients, and find a safer alternative. Sadly, many of the most dangerous chemicals will not even be on the label because manufacturers have lobbied the government to exempt them from this requirement, and they can omit any ingredient that is considered part of a secret formula.
Yes, it does take a bit of time, but knowing how harmful these chemicals are to the basic and necessary functions of your body, isn’t it worth the effort? If you use conventional products, they contain these ingredients. This does affect you.
Make 2014 the year you take the steps to reduce your “body burden” of chemicals that you inhale, ingest, and absorb that are suspected or known to cause harm.
We are here to help.
At the age of 15, Ava Anderson launched her own line of personal care and home-cleaning products, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic. Now 19, Ava is educating tens of thousands of American families monthly on the issue of toxic chemicals in personal care products through her line, which now includes baby, skin, face, hair, body, scents, bugs, candles, home, sun, and pet products. This fall, Ava will be a sophomore at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and will also actively help run her multimillion-dollar empire with 12 full-time employees. Her goal is to help force a paradigm shift on the issue of toxic chemicals in cosmetics.
This is front page material, as well as being clear and concise, plus from a sophomore in college.
Everybody who uses products on their skin needs to read this information. Consumers are under the false impression that what they buy from a store shelf is “safe”, and nothing could be further from the truth.
Just joined Ava’s company. So glad I did! I absolutely love knowing that the Ava products in my home and in our personal care products are completely safe and free of any of these toxic chemicals.
Really great information! Thank you Ava! I really love your products. Sincerely appreciate your advocacy and passion to share this with everyone. Everyone has the right to know!
Thank you Ava!! I love my Ava Anderson Non Toxic products. I know that my family and I are safer using these amazing products!! We love every single product. My favorite is the diaper cream which I use on cuts, rashes, burns, diaper rash, eczema, psoriasis etc. It should be called miracle cream! Thank you for educating so many people about this important issue.
Excellent post – thank you. The endocrine system is soo important and soo relevant to our health Love Leanne
Thanks for being such an amazing voice to help everyone realize that what they put onto their body does make a difference. Having had Grave’s dis-ease on and off, I can totally raise my hand up in knowing how even just one little gland involved in the endocrine system can wreck some major havoc on the body.
Thanks, I can’t even find what is in my floss! There is nothing on the package or the container. You are a wealth of information that we all need to know and benefit from following.
Ava, I went to your website but didn’t find floss for sale. Do you know where I can buy floss that has safe ingredients? My floss has no ingredients listed at all, so I don’t know what is in it. But I would love to buy some that is safe. Thanks!
Hi Alice, Toms of Maine’s Floss is supposedly a better option. Good luck!
Thank you, Maria Luci, I know I can get that brand at my Vitamin Cottage store. You are becoming a good friend, too!!
Thanks for the great article Ava! EVERYONE needs to read this article. There are many health issues that are affected by Hormone mimicking disruptors that can be prevented. I appreciate your preventative approach! Here’s to a healthy 2014!!
Who would have thought? I was completely blown away when I heard this info for the first time. Using products without these chemicals is also extremely beneficial to the environment!! Thanks Ava 🙂
This information should be must read by everyone. I wish it was shared in health classes in upper middle school grades. Can you imagine the impact…future generations that realize there is lil need to search for a cure…when you have prevention on your side. Thank you Ava! Your information is timely.
Thank you Ava for bringing this to light for so many! I wish everyone could read this! That is why I love selling my Arbonne products because they are pure, safe, vegan, and beneficial.
See http://www.arbonne.com for more info! -Tonya Collazo
How do we find out the “secret” ingredients? Are companies obligated to give out the information if consumers ask?
Cough cough bullshit
Thanks for the great info! No wander there are so many suffering with cancer. These poisons should Not be allowed in our products.
Excellent information!! I have been seeing more and more information lately in the mainstream news but sadly, I don’t think it has yet become common knowledge. It is REALLY great to know that there are safe solutions/products available!! Thank you for providing the education and awesome products as a solution!
Great article! Please provide references/sources for your information; I’d love to pass it on. Thank you~~
I, Judith am so fed up with the info I have had the privilege to come to through the websites. Thank God for for you all that are getting this knowledge to whomever desires to know. God bless u. ive learned much much more since my research due to follicular lymphoma has me really on a new life arrangements. thank u4 tis opportunity.
Thank God 4u and the knowledge u have made available.