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Nearly 1,000 Everyday Items Identified as Carcinogenic

When reading Dr Mercola’s article, one could be led to believe that all oestrogens are bad for our health.  However, I’d like to make a distinction between the natural oestrogens produced by the human body and the toxic, cancer-causing synthetic oestrogens in our environment.  They are different but the action of the synthetic versions are many times more toxic than our natural oestrogen.

You can read more about environmental oestrogens and how prevalent they are in our environment in my book, How to Have a Healthy Baby.

You can read the entire article at Dr Mercola-Hidden Hazards but here are some interesting excerpts:

  • Estrogens are linked to serious health risks, including cancer. The National Institutes of Health added steroidal estrogens used in estrogen replacement therapy and oral contraceptives to its list of known human carcinogens in December 2002
  • Synthetic estrogen exposure has surged due to environmental contamination and the widespread use of estrogenic chemicals in consumer products
  • A January 2024 study identified 279 estrogenic compounds commonly found in consumer products that induce mammary tumors in animals; another 642 chemicals that could potentially increase the risk of breast cancer by stimulating estrogen or progesterone signaling
  • Estrogen dominance, characterized by high estrogen levels, is associated with obesity, particularly around the thighs, hips and buttocks
  • Strategies to reduce estrogen exposure include avoiding synthetic products, choosing natural alternatives and supporting liver health. Lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a healthy weight, minimizing plastic use and managing stress can also help lower your estrogen level and reduce associated health risks

As just one example, a January 2024 paper4 in Environmental Health Perspectives identified 279 estrogenic compounds commonly found in consumer products that induce mammary tumors in animals, and another 642 chemicals that could potentially increase the risk of breast cancer by stimulating estrogen or progesterone signaling. As reported by Environmental Health News:5

“… More than 900 chemicals commonly found in consumer products and the environment have been linked to breast cancer risk in a new study. The study … identified 921 chemicals that could potentially increase the risk of breast cancer and found that 90% are ubiquitous in consumer products, food and drinks, pesticides, medications and workplaces.

The list includes chemicals like parabens and phthalates, which are commonly found in makeup, skin and hair care products; and numerous pesticide ingredients, including malathion, atrazine and triclopyr, which are used on food and in household pest control products in the U.S.

Breast cancer among young women has increased in recent years.6 Between 2010 and 2019, diagnoses among people 30 to 39 years old increased 19.4%, and among those ages 20 to 29, rates increased 5.3%. This change is too fast to be explained by genetics, so researchers have begun looking more closely at potential environmental causes for the disease.

A 2020 study7 found that women who used chemical hair straighteners more than six times a year had about a 30% higher risk of breast cancer than those who didn’t use chemical straighteners. Those products typically contain one or more of the chemicals identified in the new study as increasing the chances of getting breast cancer.”

This is, of course, particularly relevant when one considers the potential effects on babies born to mothers who fall into the above risk categories. But, it’s not only women who are being exposed to these toxic synthetic oestrogens – men also live in a toxic environment.

In modern times, many synthetic compounds, especially plasticizing compounds, have been developed that have estrogenic properties. Other terms for such compounds are endocrine disruptors and xenoestrogens.

DES is strikingly similar in composition to bisphenol-A (BPA), which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned for use in baby bottles and sippy cups in 2012.8 Many pesticides, preservatives, organic pollutants, drugs and even textiles also have estrogenic activity. Polyester and spandex, for example, contain high levels of estrogen-mimicking BPA.9 As noted by Dinkov:10

“… it looks like we are bathing 24×7 in a toxic sea of almost 1,000 chemicals with such properties (aka xenoestrogens), and given their ubiquity in food, drugs, industry, household, hospitals, and even nature it is little surprise the population of Western countries is sicker than ever.”

Considering the health risks associated with estrogen excess, here are some common sense strategies that can help you limit your exposure and lower your estrogen load:

Avoid synthetic estrogens — Minimize exposure to synthetic estrogens, such as those found in hormone replacement therapy and oral contraceptives. Consult with a qualified health care professional about alternative treatments and/or contraceptive methods with lower estrogen content.
Choose natural products — Opt for natural and organic personal care products, including makeup, skin care, and hair care items, to reduce exposure to synthetic chemicals like parabens and phthalates, which have estrogenic properties.
Limit pesticide exposure — Choose organic produce whenever possible to reduce exposure to pesticides, many of which have estrogenic effects. Washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly can also help remove pesticide residues.
Rethink your household products — Many household cleaning products, laundry detergents and air fresheners contain chemicals with estrogenic properties. Swap them out for natural, nontoxic alternatives or make your own cleaning solutions using vinegar, baking soda and essential oils instead.
Avoid plastic containers — Minimize the use of plastic containers and food packaging, which can leach estrogenic compounds into food and beverages. Instead, opt for glass or stainless steel containers for food storage and water bottles.
Maintain a healthy weight — Aim for a healthy weight and body composition through a balanced diet and regular exercise. Excess body fat, particularly around the thighs, hips, and buttocks, can contribute to higher estrogen levels.
Support liver health — Support liver function, as the liver plays a crucial role in metabolizing and eliminating excess estrogen from the body. Eat a nutrient-rich diet, limit alcohol consumption, and consider incorporating liver-supporting herbs and supplements, such as milk thistle or dandelion root.
Promote hormonal balance — Explore natural approaches to promote hormonal balance, such as consuming foods rich in cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale) and flaxseeds, which contain compounds that help support estrogen metabolism and detoxification.
Reduce stress — Manage stress through relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga or spending time in nature. Chronic stress can disrupt hormone balance, including estrogen levels, so prioritizing stress reduction is essential.

Please consult a qualified Naturopath who is able to assess your body’s needs and recommend functional pathology to assess hormone levels and how your body processes these.  Please do not follow any generalised recommendations as these may not be suitable for you. It is also ESSENTIAL that you use only high grade, quality products which should be manufactured ethically andsourced locally.

Sources and References