Identifying and Avoiding Common Household Endocrine Disruptors

Here’s how to identify endocrine disrupters and introduce natural alternatives to live a healthier, more informed lifestyle.

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plastic bottles made from endocrine disrupting chemicals

In today’s modern world, we encounter countless chemicals in our daily lives, many of which can impact our health in subtle yet significant ways. Among these are endocrine disruptors. From the plastic containers we use to store leftovers to the cosmetics we apply to our skin, endocrine disruptors can lurk in unexpected places, posing potential risks to our well-being. Here’s how to identify endocrine disrupters and introduce natural alternatives to live a healthier, more informed lifestyle.

What is an endocrine disruptor?

To understand what an endocrine disruptor is, it’s essential to grasp the function of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for producing and regulating hormones in the body. While hormones are often associated with the reproductive system, they play a vital role in nearly every bodily function. From growth, development, and metabolism to sleep, blood pressure, and fertility, hormones are vital to our very existence.

Because hormones play such a critical role in our daily functioning, more and more research has been dedicated to something called endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) in recent years. EDCs are harmful substances that may be found in food, water, and consumer products that impact your hormones. Endocrine disruptors mimic, block, and interfere with the body’s hormones and contribute to a wide variety of health conditions for people of all ages. As research about the impacts of EDCs continues to be uncovered, EDCs have become a topic of interest for regulatory agencies, doctors, and researchers alike.

How do endocrine disruptors impact my health?

Endocrine disruptors can have serious impacts on the functioning of your endocrine system, causing health conditions like:

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Developmental issues in fetuses
  • Immune system suppression
  • Neurological disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Respiratory problems
  • Certain types of cancer
  • And much more

Fetuses, infants, and children are especially vulnerable to EDCs because their bodies are still developing and growing.

4 Common Household Endocrine Disruptors

Educate your family on EDCs and their prevalence in your home to limit exposure and lead a healthier life.

1. Bisphenol A (BPA)

Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most common endocrine disruptors found in our homes. Exposure to BPA is documented in nearly everyone in the United States and beyond according to “Urine, serum and tissue biomonitoring studies indicate widespread exposure to bisphenol A,” a study published in Environ Health Perspect in 2010. Often present in plastics like Tupperware, plastic bottles, and can linings, BPA can seep into food and water.

Medical studies suggest that consuming BPA may cause metabolic diseases, infertility, cancer, behavioral changes, early onset of puberty, and much more.

How to cut back on exposure to BPA:

  • Opt for glass or stainless steel food storage containers and water bottles.
  • Never put your plastic Tupperware in the microwave or dishwasher. The heat causes the plastic to break down quicker and potentially seep into your food.
  • Eat more whole, fresh foods to avoid plastic or canned food containers.
  • Look for packaging labeled “BPA-free.”

bpa plastics in food containers

2. Phthalates

Have you ever seen “fragrance” listed as a main ingredient? Chances are that product contains phthalates, a fragrance stabilizer that extends the life of scent. Phthalates may be found in household products like scented candles, cleaners, air fresheners, dryer sheets, and fabric softeners, as well as personal care products like shampoo, lotion, soap, and makeup. This chemical may also be used to make plastic more flexible, and may be used in vinyl flooring, shower curtains, and PVC.

Phthalates studies have shown that exposure to phthalates over time may cause liver, kidney, respiratory, and reproductive issues.

How to cut back on exposure to Phthalates:

  • When doing laundry, opt for 100% wool balls instead of dryer sheets, clear and free detergent, and half-cup of distilled white vinegar instead of fabric softener.
  • Avoid products with “fragrance” or “parfum” listed as an ingredient.
  • Look for cosmetics and personal care products with a “No Phthalate” label.
  • Banish air fresheners from your home.
  • Use white distilled vinegar for home cleaning.
  • Opt for natural fibers like wood and bamboo in the home over vinyl.

alternative to dryer sheets for health

3. Parabens

Parabens are another EDC often found in cosmetics, shampoos, skincare, and processed foods. Used to artificially preserve food and personal care products, this EDC can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, causing issues with fertility, reproductive organs, and even raising the risk of breast cancer.

How to cut back on exposure to Parabens:

  • Look for cosmetics and personal care products with “paraben-free” on the label.
  • Avoid heavily processed foods that have a long shelf life.
  • Opt for natural alternatives to store-bought personal care products, like shea butter.


PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are man-made chemicals used for their water, stain, and oil-resistant properties. Also referred to as “forever chemicals”, PFAS build up in our body over time, causing serious health issues like birth defects, hormone suppression, liver damage, thyroid disease, immune system suppression, cancer, and reproductive issues. PFAS can be found in a wide range of products used in the home, including personal care products, cleaning products, non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabric, dental floss, and food packaging.

Unfortunately, these forever chemicals have infiltrated our environment and can now be found in soil and even drinking water in some communities.

How to cut back on exposure to PFAS:

  • Avoid stain and water-proofing fabrics, furniture, and carpets.
  • Invest in cast iron and stainless steel cookware instead of non-stick.
  • Opt for natural cleaning products like white distilled vinegar.
  • Read cosmetic and personal care product packaging thoroughly, especially products that boast water-proof and long-lasting features.

Are endocrine disruptors in our drinking water?

While our cities do their best to limit contaminates and EDCs from our drinking water, there has never been a standard for limiting forever chemicals from our water supply. That is, until April 10, 2024 when he Environmental Protection Agency released the first-ever set of limits on PFAs in drinking water.  According to officials, this new limit will reduce PFA exposure for over 100 million U.S. citizens, and hopefully prevent many illnesses.

Could my health condition be caused by endocrine disruptors?

It’s important to note that many of the health conditions listed above can stem from other factors, or even a combination of factors. EDCs may not be the root cause of your condition; however, if you’re suffering from an endocrine system disorder, it’s important to speak to a medical professional.

At Supro Direct, our physicians focus on treating the root of the problem, not just the symptoms. That’s why we specialize in concierge medical care to accommodate for more time with our patients and a higher level of care. If you’re worried about endocrine disruptors or want to learn more about how to optimize hormones and lead a healthier lifestyle, request an appointment with our Greenwood concierge physicians.

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