It has been known for some time that chemicals in plastics and other household items can disrupt the endocrine system and cause deleterious health effects. In a new analysis that examined more than 1,000 different studies, researchers from the Endocrine Society are expressing new concerns about human exposure of these everyday endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs).
While this is a big deal for all of us, it’s especially concerning for women trying to conceive. Some EDCs are associated with abnormal puberty, irregular cyclicity, reduced fertility, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, fibroids, pre-term birth, and adverse birth outcomes. Your endocrine system is the signaling system for all the hormones in your body – when it is disrupted reproductive issues can arise.
While many companies have voluntarily stopped making products with BPA, new research indicates that even “safer replacements” may also have adverse health effects. And while the reproductive effects are scary all by themselves, the Endocrine Society report indicates that these same chemicals may be indicated in the rise obesity and type 2 diabetes.
BPA, and other endocrine disrupting chemicals, effect nearly all of us. In a 2005 study, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found BPA in the urine of 95 percent of study participants.
Several recent studies in peer-reviewed journals have examined the effect of BPA on fertility, specifically its effects on egg maturation and fertilization. One laboratory study in particular found that even at very low doses, BPA inhibited the egg’s ability to mature and also disrupted the chromosome alignment causing abnormalities.
Here’s six ways you can significantly decrease your exposure to BPA:
- Drink filtered water from a glass or stainless steel container.
- Completely avoid water in plastic containers such as water bottles — especially disposable ones. BPA leaches from the plastic directly into your water.
- Avoid non BPA free canned foods.
- Eat fresh, non-processed, organic foods and store leftovers in glass. (my favorite is the glass lock variety – just make sure not to let hot food touch the plastic lid!)
- Steer clear of plastic utensils, dishes, and storage containers — especially when they’re exposed to radiation or heat (like your microwave or a warm car).
- Do not put hot food in a plastic container! Take out food is commonly put in plastic – steer clear of this – ask if a paper and not plastic container can be used.
- Remember, BPA is not the only source of endocrine disruptors. Many plastics release estrogenic compounds. It’s safer to avoid plastics in general.
Also if you are having menstrual irregularities or fertility issues it may be worth doing a cleanse in the spring or fall season. In addition certain supplements and herbs can help the body rid itself of these endocrine disruptors.
Oh and by the way we are not just talking women. Men are also contributing to infertilty as sperm health is greatly compromised because of our chemical world.