“I was alarmed by how many toxins I was exposing myself to on a daily basis and, in a fit of panic, wanted to throw out every implicated thing I owned.”
- Jourdan Ilardi
Xenoestrogens – What They Are, and How to Avoid Them
When I became pregnant in 2020, I became more concerned than ever about eliminating chemicals and toxins from my life. I know the argument that toxins and chemicals are everywhere and that there is no way to avoid them. And while, unfortunately, this is a disturbing reality, it made me even more motivated to remove the toxins and chemicals in my life that I could control my exposure to. This pursuit introduced me to something called xenoestrogens.
What are Xenoestrogens?
Xenoestrogens are environmental chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. They are a subcategory of endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that alter the normal function of our body’s hormones. These disruptors interfere with the production, release, transport, metabolism, and elimination of our body’s natural hormones. In some cases, xenoestrogens are man-made, but they can also be naturally occurring compounds.
Estrogen is a natural hormone in the body that is essential for reproductive ability in both men and women and is also critical for bone growth and blood clotting. When the body is infiltrated with these xenoestrogens, it increases overall estrogen, leading to something known as estrogen dominance, which affects both men and women. Estrogen dominance has been linked to many health issues, including breast, prostate, and testicular cancer, obesity, infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriages, and diabetes.
And the worst part is, these xenoestrogens are everywhere! Among the most alarming are; tap water, pesticides, conventional meats, plastic water bottles, and storage containers, makeup and personal care items, cleaning products, nonstick pans, candles, and birth control. When I first started reading this list, I immediately became overwhelmed. I was alarmed by how many toxins I was exposing myself to on a daily basis and, in a fit of panic, wanted to throw out every implicated thing I owned. And then I realized (well, actually, my husband convinced me) that that was completely irrational and that I couldn’t afford to change every single thing in my life overnight. So I slowly began to make changes, and I continue to. I am going to share some swaps I have made. I encourage you to pick one or two that are the easiest to implement. Then every few months, see if you can continue to remove a few more.
Take a Step
It’s unfortunate that in our society, we have to pay more for products and food that are clean, healthy, and uncontaminated. I completely understand that these changes all come at a cost, which is why I encourage you to strive for progress and not perfection in your pursuit of eliminating toxins in your life. Every small change is a step in the right direction for your health.
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