BPA and Other Endocrine Disruptors
For those of you who have just started my Zero to Keto program and have already dug into Week 1 homework, I mentioned getting a BPA-free water bottle in my first book, Ketogenic Solutions. I didn’t go into too much about the whys because there is a lot to it and I didn’t want to overwhelm you before you began. But now that you have your feet firmly planted in the idea of living clean, this is the time to dig a little deeper into this topic.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been around since 1891, when it was created by a Russian chemist. Over the next 40 years, scientists realized it mimicked estrogen in the human body. These same scientists also realized it could be produced into a strong and transparent plastic. It can also be used to make a resin which keeps metals from corroding... It lines most cans these days.
What’s the big deal?
As I stated, BPA mimics estrogen in the body. The only problem is that it doesn’t follow all of the rules that normal hormones do. In fact, it becomes an endocrine disruptor and can seriously affect the development of eggs and sperm, even at extremely low doses.
BPA has been shown to damage chromosomes and that doesn’t bode well for the human race.
It can cause issues when the eggs are initially developing, as well as the fetal eggs. This means that as egg cells are developing into eggs in our girls, they are being damaged which can then lead to a number of problems, including infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects. Our boys aren’t faring any better and I’ll address that a little later.
Another problem with endocrine disruptors is that they affect all of the hormones released into your body and wreaks havoc in your cells and organs. Things like mood, metabolism, growth and development, along with reproduction and sexual function, are at risk. There has been a drastic increase in early puberty in our children and all signs point to endocrine disruptors.
Prostate cancer, ADHD, obesity, infertility and immunity issues are just some of the side effects of exposure to BPA. Drinking from a bottle or can with BPA has been shown to raise blood pressure only hours later.
Exposure in unlikely places
Plastics and cans, in general, are all suspect but there are plenty of other less likely places to find it. Some tooth sealants, thermal printer receipts, paper money and even plastics that state they are BPA-free. The companies may have replaced BPA with another similar endocrine disruptor. The thing that gets me is the receipt thing. It’s been shown that holding a receipt even for 5 seconds can cause the transfer of BPA to skin and the amount increases tenfold if your hands are wet. Yikes!
I said I would get into our boys and how this is impacting them. I felt that this really needed it’s own section. BPA isn’t the only thing we should be avoiding. There are things called phthalates and they have me pretty worried.
Phthalates are more endocrine disruptors and they are used in virtually everything and anything. It’s used in PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes because it’s so resilient. It’s also found in things like shampoo, shower gels, makeup, air fresheners, dryer sheets, medical tubing and flooring. So now that you know where they are, let me tell you what they do specifically.
Phthalates are known to target the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropohin), which is critical in developing fetuses in the early stages of pregnancy. There is a correlation between lack of hCG and miscarriage and that number seems to be much greater in male fetuses. Male fetuses exposed to phthalate during the critical first trimester have been shown to have a much greater risk of low sperm count and infertility later on in life.
Phthalate exposure has been linked to birth defects, polycystic ovary disease, early or delayed puberty, reduced IQ, and inattention with hyperactivity. Can anybody say ADHD? I don’t believe in coincidences and with the increases in infertility, early onset puberty and ADHD, I’d say we should be overly cautious when it comes to what we expose ourselves and, more importantly, our children to.
How to limit exposure
So now that we know the sky is falling, how do we not run around like Chicken Little, hiding from our shadows? Just by being aware of the problem is a step in the right direction.
Here is a list of 10 things that you can do for yourself and your loved ones:
- Eat real food. Stay away from canned and processed foods, especially if they are wrapped in plastic.
I always opt to buy things in glass containers. For example, I rarely buy anything in a can, even if it says BPA-free, I’m leery.
Never use plastic to freeze in and most definitely not in the microwave to reheat food. Invest in some good Pyrex glass containers and use those for freezing, storing and reheating.
I’ve replaced my cleaning products with natural ones and I’ve kicked my air fresheners to the curb. I’ve replaced them with essential oils and diffusers.
If you have babies, use glass bottles.
Some stores have already switched over to BPA-free receipts, but on the off chance your stores have yet to make the change, have the cashier throw the receipt into the bag so you don’t have to touch it.
When buying toys for your children, avoid any with BPA/BPS or phthalates. Go with toys made from natural materials instead.
I always try to look for products that are made by eco-friendly companies. When I was replacing my flooring throughout the house, I went with bamboo just for this reason.
If you use one, make sure to get a fabric shower curtain.
I’ve switched out a majority of my toiletries, as well as my family’s, for organic versions.
I highly encourage you to watch the documentary The Disappearing Male, if you haven’t done so already. You should be able to type it into Google (or click here) and it will pull the video up on Vimeo for free. It goes much deeper into detail and is riveting and revealing.
That movie was my call to action and it pushed me to get serious about sweeping my house for endocrine invaders. I hope this acts as a push for you to do the same.