Xenoestrogens: The Scary Truth

27 November 2019
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Commercially raised meat and dairy, cosmetics, food preservatives, pesticides, paints, brake fluids, non-stick cookware, drinking water, nail polish, cleaning supplies, plastic, tampons, toilet paper, soap, perfume, baby bottles, food containers, the list of products containing life-altering chemicals could fill a book. We are drowning in a world consumed with chemicals, and the latest research is enough to scare us even more.

Xenoestrogens are a sub-category of the endocrine disruptor group that have estrogen-like effects. But to understand this, you must understand the purpose of estrogen within our bodies. It is a natural hormone that is vital for several things including bone growth and fertility. Our bodies should regulate estrogen naturally. However, xenoestrgoens enter the body and trigger an estrogen dominance. They cannot be broken down and are stored in our fat cells. This then causes a myriad of possible health issues.

There are over 160 types of xenoestrogens currently known, with an unknown amount still to be uncovered. These toxic elements are are linked to the following:

  • Brain development
  • Behavior
  • Blood abnormalities
  • Female infertility
  • Male infertility
  • Testicle shrinkage
  • Lower sperm counts
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Low birth weight
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Skin cancer 
  • Bladder cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pancreas cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Obesity
  • Endometriosis
  • Early onset of puberty
  • Miscarriages
  • Diabetes

They also interfer with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels. They are found in 99% of Americans, and are traceable in the womb and breastmilk.

Xenoestrogens can be either naturally derived or synthetic, with the most common natural presence occurring in a variety of foods. This does not make them safe to consume. Soy is the most well-known food to contain xenoestrogens. The problem becomes worse when considering that most of our soy production is also genetically modified and non-organic. Synthetic xenoestrogens are molecules produced by chemical synthesis, which are used in industrial products and pharmaceutical estrogens, and are known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). 

EDCs are defined as compounds that “interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action, or elimination of natural hormones in the body that are responsible for the development, behavior, fertility and maintenance of homeostasis”

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that endocrine disrupters are associated with “altered reproductive function in males and females, increased incidence of breast cancer, abnormal growth patterns and neurodevelopmental delays in children, as well as changes in immune function.” This should be a wake-up call. It is not just a simple study that has been buried and is easily overlooked. The WHO continues to describe how human exposure to EDCs occur through everything from ingesting foods, drinking tap water, and inhaling dust particles and gases through the skin. They can be transferred during pregnancy to a fetus through the placenta, and are also passed while breastfeeding.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) states that  it is now “widely known that most humans are continually exposed to these potentially dangerous substances. This is proven by the increasing incidence of many endocrine related disorders, comprising genital malformation, neurobehavioral disorders and the increased global rates of endocrine-related cancers.”

The risk is real – and is involves everyone from infants to adults, and all genders and races. Women seem more susceptible due to their exposure to cosmetics, etc, but xenoestrogens can impact everyone. It has been shown that exposure to EDCs while in the womb or throughout the earliest years of life may manifest only later in life or even lay dormant and be passed down to future generations. 

What can you do?

  • Do not take birth control pills or select conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Skip the tap water
  • Eat organic, locally grown foods
  • Peel non-organic fruits and veggies after washing
  • Shop the outside of the grocery store and avoid processed items or anything containing additives
  • Avoid soy and soy protein
  • Do not use dryer sheets (they are full of xenoestrogens)
  • Avoid non-organic menstrual products
  • Read cosmetic labels
  • Avoid all pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
  • Buy hormone-free meats and dairy
  • Do not microwave plastic
  • Use glass instead of plastic
  • Use a chlorine filter on shower heads and filter drinking water
  • Use chemical free soaps and toothpastes
  • Read the labels on condoms

Postmenopausal women with higher risk of developing breast cancer should avoid xenoestrogen intake due to their possible capacity to stimulate proliferation in sensible tissue.

Synthetic Xenoestrogens Activities Sources
4-tert-Octylphenol Negatively affects pregnancy and development Generally found in plastic and, consequently, as contaminants in foodstuff, fruits and vegetables.
Benzylbutylphtalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Bisphenol A (BPA) Correlated with hormone related cancer
Alteration neuroendocrine system
Altered development observed in aquatic species
Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Bisphenol A glucuronide Generates adipogenesis (in vivo)
Bisphenol S Cardiotoxicity
Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Dibutyl phtalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Terephtalic acid In vitro estrogenic effect
Tetrachlorobisphenol A More toxic than BPA, Potentially carginogenic
Ethynil estradiol Reduced fertility and fecundity Pharmaceuticals (found in aquatic environment)
Behavior changes in aquatic species
Bytylparaben Personal care products1
Ethylparaben In vitro estrogenic activity
Methylparaben Increased breast cancer risk
Butylated hydroxyanisole In vitro estrogenic/antiestrogenic activity Food preservatives
Benzophenone-2 In vitro estrogenic activity UV Filters in cosmetic and topical sunscreens1
4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor Highly diffused in aquatic environment
Polychlorinated biphenyls Neurological and hormonal diseases Used as coolant, plasticizers and pesticides and found in several food supplies
Chlordecone Associated with hormone related cancer Pesticides (fruits and vegetables)
Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Hydroxyphenyltrichloroethane
Methoxychlor
TCDD Carcinogenicity, hepatotoxicity, immunotoxicity reproductive and developmental toxicity
Synthetic Xenoestrogens Activities Sources
4-tert-Octylphenol Negatively affects pregnancy and development Generally found in plastic and, consequently, as contaminants in foodstuff, fruits and vegetables.
Benzylbutylphtalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Bisphenol A (BPA) Correlated with hormone related cancer
Alteration neuroendocrine system
Altered development observed in aquatic species
Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Bisphenol A glucuronide Generates adipogenesis (in vivo)
Bisphenol S Cardiotoxicity
Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Dibutyl phtalate Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Terephtalic acid In vitro estrogenic effect
Tetrachlorobisphenol A More toxic than BPA, Potentially carginogenic
Ethynil estradiol Reduced fertility and fecundity Pharmaceuticals (found in aquatic environment)
Behavior changes in aquatic species
Bytylparaben Personal care products1
Ethylparaben In vitro estrogenic activity
Methylparaben Increased breast cancer risk
Butylated hydroxyanisole In vitro estrogenic/antiestrogenic activity Food preservatives
Benzophenone-2 In vitro estrogenic activity UV Filters in cosmetic and topical sunscreens1
4-Methylbenzylidene Camphor Highly diffused in aquatic environment
Polychlorinated biphenyls Neurological and hormonal diseases Used as coolant, plasticizers and pesticides and found in several food supplies
Chlordecone Associated with hormone related cancer Pesticides (fruits and vegetables)
Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane Negatively affects pregnancy and development
Hydroxyphenyltrichloroethane
Methoxychlor
TCDD Carcinogenicity, hepatotoxicity, immunotoxicity reproductive and developmental toxicity Environmental contaminant

 

 

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3388472/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28013213

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6104637/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26337277

http://www.who.int/ceh/risks/cehemerging2/en