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Environmental Hormones and Estrogens

The world we live in is rapidly changing. Understanding environmental issues including global warming is now a priority for everyone. Diseases are developing at alarming rates and people are asking “Why?” and “What can we do about it?” It is said that in the year 2008 1 out of 3 people will find out they have some type of debilitating health condition needing medical attention, or heavy metals such as mercury will be detected in some part of their body. Breast Cancer, tumours, endometriosis, infertility, and low sperm counts in males have increases significantly over the past decade. Now that is not a positive subject to have to think about but unfortunately it is reality!

Wow! 1 out of 3 people will find out they have some type of debilitating health condition! That is simply not acceptable. What do we do to change and lower our risk factors? Ask yourself, what chemicals are contributing to this? What do they come from and how do I identify them to avoid them?

More than 60 substances including Dioxins, Pesticides, and PCB’s have been identified as Environmental Estrogens and are linked to a long list of different types of health-related sicknesses yet we are still using and promoting these products that contain these damaging chemicals.

Environmental Estrogens, also known as Xenoestrogens, are false estrogens found in chemicals that bind with estrogen receptor sites in the human body, causing cellular functions to change.

They are of a great concern to all sectors of public interest including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Did you know that as far back as 1999, the EPA initiated a screening and testing program to identify the potential endocrine-system impact of over 87,000 chemicals in commercial use? Do you know what they found? Their results were very disturbing. Environmental estrogens were being found everywhere! The EPA detected elevated levels of estrogen in our milk supply, our water supply, in birth control pills, dental sealants, plastics, cosmetics and antibiotics.

Further research would reveal another group of chemicals also with xenoestrogenic properties: parabens. Parabens are widely used in the cosmetics industry and personal care products. Just read the labels on the back of any shampoo, moisturizer, shaving gel, cleansing gel, or personal lubricant on the shelf in any major department store and the list of ingredients will identify these parabens for you.

Methylparaben, ethylparaben, proplylparaben, butylparben and isobutylparaben are rapidly absorbed and metabolized through the skin. If you’re wondering why parabens are added, they are used as preservatives because of their bacteriocidal and fungicidal properties.

In 1993 Stanford University Medical School of Medicine diuscovered that “Polycarbonate bottles used to hold drinking water contained Bisphenol-A”. Bisphenol-A is a type of plastic contained in polycarbonate, which is used in the production of plastic bottles, including many plastic baby bottles and the majority of drinking water bottles. Polycarbonate has been shown to break down, releasing xenoextrogens into the drinking water or other liquid in the bottle.

Xenoestrogens have being found in our cattle and chicken livestock. Hormones are used because they want to plump up the cattle to produce an animal that will retain water. Why? To produce meat that when cooked becomes heavy, tender and more succulent – but not necessarily healthy.

Lastly, educate yourself. Read the labels; ask questions! Visit your local natural health store to find paraben-free and xenoestrogen free products to protect your health naturally!

Avoiding estrogenic agents and toxic chemicals is the best approach to improving on the quality of our health care.

• Buy Organic produce, dairy, and livestock grown without any pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers.
• Avoid plastic containers for storage, plastic bottles, wraps and utensils.
• Avoid synthetic deodorants and cosmetics containing parabens. Use only organic products wherever possible.
• Eat more cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts (or use Indole 3-Carbinol supplement). These have been shown to inhibit the development of estrogen-enhanced cancers, including breast, endometrial, and cervical cancer.
• Avoid birth control pills that contain a synthetic estrogen and progesterone substance called “Nonoxynol-9” – a known xenoestrogen.
• Avoid consuming fresh fish or fish in capsule or liquid form that does not make a claim that they have been tested for PCB’s and other toxic chemicals.
• Drink water from a glass or stainless steel container.

Written by: Yvonne Horvat, a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N.) and Manager at Nature’s Source in Mississauga.

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