Do you drink out of plastic water bottles? How about plastic cups or bowls? Do you wear makeup or lotion? How many times a week do you eat Ramen Noodles? Do you buy any nonorganic meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables? If any of these apply to you, then you’re being exposed to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) are chemicals that mess with your natural endocrine system function. You endocrine system is a highly complex body system that produces and regulates all the hormones in your body. The endocrine system controls your mood, your sleep, your metabolism, and your reproductive cycle. The scary part is, they’re in almost everything, even your water!
A common EDC that you’ve probably heard of is BPA. BPA stands for Bisphenol-A, and it was originally developed as birth control for women. However, BPA wasn’t stable enough as a birth control, but it does work well to harden plastic so they put it in your plastic water bottles (comforting right?). Unfortunately, we’ve seen that when people reuse plastic water bottles, or heat up any sort of plastic, that BPA can be released into your water or food. Even if you’ve been trying to purchase those BPA free plastic water bottles, most of them have been made using Bisphenol-S (BPS) instead, which is actually more potent and can be absorbed through your skin as well.
Another horrifying truth about EDCs is that sometimes, they actually work better the less you are exposed to, and sometimes that’s in very minute amounts. An EDC that’s been in the news lately, Atrazine, is used as an herbicide on crops. In an effort to prove atrazine’s safety, one scientist actually determined that Atrazine can have very detrimental effects. At 25 parts/per billion (ppb), atrazine will turn growing male frogs into hermaphrodites 20 percent of the time. In comparison, at 0.1 ppb, atrazine will turn growing male frogs into hermaphrodites 60 percent of the time; that’s only 100mg of atrazine per liter of water! People who live in farmland areas where atrazine is being used are all still being “dosed” with the atrazine in their water, and will be for several years.
The FDA is well aware that you are all being exposed to these Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, and has determined “safe” levels of exposure. However, these levels have been determined per product. This means that the amount you are getting in your water bottle may be safe, but combined with the level you may be exposed from that can of soup, from the plastic pipes in your home, and from the shampoo you put on everything combined, may not be as safe as you’d hope. As previously mentioned, sometimes less exposure can have more effects.