Nutrition and Prevention, The Environment

The Dangers of Estrogens in Our Environment

Posted in Green/Organic/Eco-Conscious on September 26th, 2010

The Dangers of Estrogens in Our Environment


The natural environment is one of great splendor. Beautiful trees, lush fields, flowing waters and a myriad of colorful plants are all within grasp for humans to touch and behold.

This same landscape, however, is also full of chemicals known to be gravely dangerous. These are called xenoestrogens, and mounting evidence implicates them in a vast assortment of human and wildlife health problems.

Xenoestrogens essentially mimic the estrogen that occurs naturally within human bodies. An estimated 70,000 registered chemicals contain xenoestrogens, which enter a person’s endocrine system and disrupt normal processes. In addition to being carcinogenic and toxic, xenoestrogens increase the body’s real estrogen production and can cause infertility, a variety of cancers, chronic diseases and a host of other health complications that do not quickly cease.

Personal Care Products

One of the foremost ways that xenoestrogens enter the body is through personal care products. This is especially true of women’s products, including cosmetics, face and body lotions, nail polish remover and acrylic nails. Such ingredients as phthalates, parabens, triclosan and hydroquinone are illegal in the European Union because they have been proven to cause cancer and reproductive developmental toxicity. In the United States, however, such ingredients continue to be readily found in a variety of cosmetic products.

Dr. Phillippa Darbre with the University of Reading’s School of Biological Sciences in England wrote a report that investigated the connection between breast cancer and cosmetics use. As the skin does not act to prevent such chemicals from entering the body, she contended that xenoestrogens are largely responsible for many breast cancer occurrences. This is based upon the fact that 90 percent of breast cancers are environmental in origin, and the major influence is constant exposure to estrogen.

Judi Vance, author of Beauty to Die For: the Cosmetic Consequence, claims that female hormonal imbalances are only a North American problem that may also be connected to cosmetic use. According to her research, countries like China and Japan do not suffer from such problems as PMS and menopausal symptoms. This is because xenoestrogens communicate with cells as if they were natural estrogen. Such common products as bubble bath, hair conditioner and shampoo all have the potential to contain xenoestrogens.

Estrogen in the Food and Bottled Water Supply

According to researchers, 75 percent of all Americans will be overweight by the year 2015. Some scientists attribute this statistic to a sedentary lifestyle, but others believe that estrogen is the culprit. According to Ori Hofmekler, author of The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, “Most conventional food is estrogenic.” This is because meat and dairy products are ridden with hormones, while fruits and vegetables are laced in pesticides. Such chemicals are intended to protect and procure meat and produce. Once inside the body, however, those hormones mimic the actions of estrogen. Hofmekler further states that this is responsible for breast cancer in women and infertility in men.

Indeed, studies show that xenoestrogens substantially lower sperm counts in men. In the past 50 years, male sperm counts have plummeted by 50 percent. Today, the average man’s testosterone and sperm levels have dropped 20 percent compared to just 20 years ago. Researchers believe this is owed to heavily processed foods with additives and, again, personal care products.

Dr. Russell Blaylock concurs with Hofmekler and also takes the estrogen theory one step further. Not only is estrogen present in the foods consumed by humans, but also in bottled waters. This is because xenoestrogens appear in plastic containers. When foods or liquids sit in those containers, they absorb the xenoestrogens and pass them to humans during consumption. Dr. Blaylock states, “Studies show that xenoestrogens from plastics appear to cause premature menses in young girls, decreased sperm in men and a dramatic increase in breast disease.”

How to Avoid the Estrogen Environment

Individuals can take proactive measures to avoid such an overload of estrogen, as caused by the environment. For example, grocery purchases should include only organic meats and produce items. Personal care products should also be used minimally and include organic ingredients.

In order to become healthier, experts agree that people need to first become informed. This means reading the labels of all commercial products, making conscious decisions and staying abreast of new consumer developments.



About Kim Martindale

Mother of two, wife of one, home manager, gardener, student of health and wellness, world traveler, nature lover, researcher, Jesus follower, community builder. I'm seeking to become resilient and to live sustainably. I desire to give back and share what I'm learning with others.


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