Do remember hearing about the hermaphrodite polar bears? Back in 2006, the media released findings by scientists working in Norway’s Svalbard islands that found one in fifty polar bears had both male and female sex organs.
It was found that toxic compounds including polybrominated diphenyls (PBDEs)have shown that “significant deposits” have turned up in polar bears’ fatty tissue. These chemicals are flame retardants used to treat furniture, carpets and kids clothes. Studies on mice suggest PBDEs attack “sex and thyroid glands, motor skills and brain function”. For these chemicals to be in such high concentrations in the pure lands of the arctic is shocking.
Another cause of concern is that sperm counts of western men have dropped by half over past 50yrs7. Could human pollution be affecting our evolution?
Women are also at risk with links to xenobiotics and xenoestrogens (such as in the chemicals listed below) and infertility 10. Scientific focus on pesticides, phthalates and PCBs in plastics, air pollution, trihalomethanes (THMs) found in refrigerants and industrial solvents and mobile phone radiation exposure has found correlation to these manmade factors and a decrease in fertility factors9.
These chemicals know as endocrine disruptors are found in many everyday products, including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents and cleaners, flame retardants used on kids clothing, food, toys, everyday cosmetics, and pesticides. Currentr esearch shows that endocrine disruptors may pose the greatest risk during prenatal and early postnatal development when organ and neural systems are forming.
So how do we best avoid them? The ‘healthier’ products are available, we just need to choose them. Three suggestions that will substantially reduce your endocrine disruptor exposure are:
- Use 100% natural skincare, bodycare, sunscreen and makeup – that is paraben, petrochemical and synthetic chemical free.
- Buy Green laundry and cleaning products such as the award winning ECOSTORE products found in your supermarket.
- Choose Organic fruit and vege. The US based Environmental Working group www.ewg.org states that there are 210 different pesticides detected in US fresh fruit and vegetables. I am sure Australia would be similar. Remember, pesticides don’t wash off.
- Use stainless steel or glassware such as ‘pyrex’ for food storage instead of Tupperware, cling wrap and plastic bags. These alternatives are also available for water bottles, baby bottles and toddler cups.
- Choose to use stainless steel or ‘green’ cookware and utensils