The endocrine system is your body’s internal message center. It’s comprised of glands and organs that produce hormones to carry out essential functions for growth, development, reproduction, metabolism, and blood sugar regulation. These glands include the pituitary, pineal, thyroid and adrenal glands, as well as the pancreas, ovaries and testis.

There are certain chemicals, known as endocrine disrupters, that mimic or interfere with our bodies’ hormones, causing infertility, birth defects, thyroid disjunction, neurodevelopment issues like ADD, ADHD and autism, and cancer.

With some simple changes, you can reduce your risk of exposure to these chemicals.

The main disruptors:

BPA: Found in plastics and the plastic lining of aluminum cans. This chemical imitates estrogen causing early puberty, obesity, heart disease, fertility and reproduction issues, and breast cancer. Ways to limit your exposure include switching to glass bottles, implementing a filtration system for your home, and switching to jarred or boxed instead of canned items. Look into local water delivery companies that could provide you with 5 gallon glass jars and a rested dispenser.

PHTHALATES: Found in fragrance, PVC plastic, toys and plastic wrap. You can avoid these chemicals by switching from plastic bags and wrap to reusable silicone bags and food covers/lids. Unfortunately the fragrance industry is protected by the trade secret laws, meaning they don’t have to disclose everything that is in their products. “Greenwashing” is when a company misleads the consumer with labels like “natural” and “green” when their products are anything but. Be sure to read labels on cosmetics, lotions, shampoos and perfumes and avoid the “fragrance” ingredient.

PFAS and PFCS : PFAS include almost 5000 different chemicals, commonly used in non stick pans, anything nonstick or nongrease waterproofed clothing and furniture (scotchgard!) Products like microwaveable popcorn, fast food wrappers, nonstick pans and utensils. Switch to cast iron, ceramic cast iron or stainless steel cookware, pop popcorn on the stove (it tastes much better and it’s fun ?)

PESTICIDES: Atrazine (used mainly in corn crops and corn is in literally everything processed) Avoid pesticides by buying organic, filtering your water and switching to natural repellents for lawn care etc.

PERCHLORATES: Used in pool cleaners, chlorine cleaners, fertilizer, fireworks. This chemical interferes with thyroid function which regulates adult metabolism but also brain and organ development in children. Avoid it by making sure your water is filtered by reverse osmosis.

I know that this information can be overwhelming and it may seem difficult to go about making these changes, but fortunately there are some great resources to help. is a great resource for researching your current products and for finding cleaner ones. The Think Dirty app is a great tool for researching specific products as well.

Ivey Leidy