Health

Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Are Causing An Estrogen Epidemic

By Robyn Riley··  12 min read
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People in developed countries are experiencing a silent epidemic that’s negatively affecting everything from the rising rates of obesity, depression, and infertility to the overall functioning of civilized society on the whole. That epidemic is one of estrogen dominance among both males and females.

Hidden chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, found in everything from cosmetic products marketed to you as natural and “plant-based” to the factory-farmed steak and potatoes on your dinner plate, have, over time, created a health crisis so enormous it’s difficult to put into words the gravity of its effects on people and their future. 

Hormones have a delicate and profound effect on our mental and physical well-being. So much so, that without having a conversation about the rise of estrogen dominance in the public we can’t seriously have a conversation about the health of society or its future. 

What Is Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen dominance is a hormonal state that happens when the level of estrogen in a female is too high in relation to her progesterone levels. In men, estrogen dominance happens when his level of estrogen is too high in comparison to his testosterone levels. Estrogen dominance can happen when the body isn’t breaking down and excreting estrogen efficiently, if you’re experiencing an overload of environmental toxins and endocrine disruptors, or (as a woman) if you’re not ovulating or are suffering from insufficient progesterone. 

What Are Endocrine Disruptors?

Endocrine disrupting chemicals, also known as EDCs, are compounds found in pesticides, water, plastics, cleaning products, and even our cookware that can interfere with the body’s endocrine system. The endocrine system regulates all hormones, the reproductive system, and many other intricate biological processes. 

The normal functioning of our endocrine system is absolutely essential to living a healthy life.

Disruption of our endocrine system can cause severe hormone imbalances that have a ripple effect on our overall mental and physical health. When we’re under the fog of chemically induced estrogen dominance, for example, we can find ourselves suffering from various forms of cancer, obesity, heart disease, depression and anxiety, infertility, and developmental disorders – illnesses that, on the surface, don’t seem to be connected to one another, but absolutely are via the way our hormones operate. 

The normal functioning of our endocrine system is absolutely essential to living a healthy life and to a functioning society, so it’s gravely important that we’re aware of the chemical agents in our diet and homes that we may accidentally be exposing ourselves and our families to. 

Endocrine Disruptors and Estrogen Dominance Make Us Sick and Fat

Endocrine disruptors mainly affect our bodies by artificially increasing estrogen. For men, women, and children alike, estrogen imbalance, leading to estrogen dominance, has absolutely devastatingly negative effects on overall health. 

You could envision the societies our great-great-grandparents and beyond lived in as being naturally high testosterone societies. Less exposure to estrogen-mimicking compounds and pollutants, coupled with living lives that required immense effort to survive, naturally made people tough. This meant that the men and women of ages past not only had a better functioning endocrine system, but that as a result, they were happier, more fertile, stronger mentally and physically, and even more attractive.

Modern men and women are exposed to artificially high levels of estrogen from conception in their mother’s womb via the build-up of chemical estrogens in women’s body fat due to substances like hormonal birth control. As children, plastic toys, polyester clothing, and baby bottles are some of the first objects we come into contact with. It has been found that this has contributed to more microplastics being found in modern children’s bodies, as young as the newborn phase, than there are in adults’ bodies. A truly horrifying discovery. 

This immense exposure to endocrine disruptors from the moment of conception onwards has feminized men’s physical features, caused them to have less muscle mass, reduced sperm counts and motility, and made them fatter.

High testosterone men are defined by their decisiveness, their willingness to act bravely, to defend, protect, and secure families and civilization itself from outside threats. It’s worth noting that estrogen dominance in men also has the burdensome effect of making them chronically lethargic, experiencing increased brain fog, insomnia, subject to frequent mood swings, irritability, low libido, depression, and anxiety. These are the kinds of effects that, if widespread in the male population, can legitimately lead to civilizational collapse.

Women suffer a whole host of reproductive illnesses as a result of estrogen dominance.

Women aren’t off the hook in this regard either and suffer a whole host of reproductive illnesses as a result of estrogen dominance. Women suffering from estrogen dominance caused by exposure to EDCs in food and our environment can experience heavy and painful periods, low body temperature, thyroid issues, migraines, hair loss, endometriosis, low libido, ovarian cysts, fibroids, inability to ovulate, infertility, gut and digestion issues, depression and anxiety. 

Men and women everywhere are now overweight, fatigued, depressed, and don’t fully understand why or how they ended up this way. Unaware, ordinary people inadvertently poisoning themselves repeatedly over and over all day long with what they believe are harmless household objects paints a very grim picture of modern life indeed. 

The true ones to blame, of course, are the big companies who are selling us cheap and dangerous products laced with chemicals and the government bodies that turn a blind eye to it. If the FDA functioned as intended, things like polyester clothing, produce sprayed with pesticides, and plastic water bottles would be illegal to sell to the public. Alas, this is not the world we live in, and so it’s up to us to protect ourselves from EDCs.

Where Do We Find Endocrine Disruptors in Our Diet and Homes?

Endocrine disruptors can be broken down into two main categories, phytoestrogens and xenoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are found in plants and seeds, while xenoestrogen is more of an umbrella term that encompasses plant-based and man-made estrogen mimickers but also endocrine disrupters found in meat, dairy, and eggs, as well as plastics, cosmetics, soaps, pesticides, and even in our water system.

The frightening thing about going down the rabbit hole of learning how to avoid EDCs is that they’re literally everywhere. From the polyester scarf around your neck to the bottle of shampoo sitting in your shower. Even plant-based products or cosmetics that are seemingly good for us, like tea tree oil, peppermint tea, and especially anything with lavender, can wreak havoc on our hormones and increase estrogen artificially. It’s wise to avoid all personal care products containing these three plants ingredients.

Plastics are the next most common way we come into contact with EDCs. Bottled water, polyester fabrics, Teflon cooking pans, and Tupperware are all common ways we expose ourselves to EDCs. To avoid, we should opt for filtered tap water, organic, natural fabrics like cotton, wool and linen, and use cast iron pans and glass dishware. 

Parabens are the umbrella term for all petrol-byproduct ingredients that contain powerful endocrine-disrupting potential.

Cosmetics should be heavily researched and have the labels carefully read before applying to skin or being used on the body. Parabens are the umbrella term for all petrol-byproduct ingredients that contain powerful endocrine-disrupting potential. I know it may sound a little science fiction-y to tell you the products on your bedroom vanity can cause everything from reproductive disorders and infertility, but that’s truly where we’re at. Opt for paraben-free shampoos, conditioners, creams, and make-up. 

The same can be said for laundry detergents, liquid dish soaps, surface and window cleaners, etc. I like the option of making your own cleaning products by mixing things like vinegar, lemon rinds, and rosemary as a natural disinfectant that smells great.  Alternatively, natural Castile soaps are multipurpose and can be used to do everything from laundry to the floors. 

Fragrances and perfumes are other common culprits. Synthetic fragrances found in cosmetics and household cleaning products contain chemicals that are derived from petroleum. For this reason, in the same way that parabens disrupt normal endocrine function, so too do fragrances like, unfortunately, your favorite designer perfume or cologne and scented body creams.

One of the most nefarious sources of endocrine disruptors can be found in fabrics or products treated with flame retardants, meaning any item specifically designed for children and babies. Strollers, car seats, clothing, cribs and crib mattresses are all treated by law with these highly toxic chemicals in the name of “safety.” Thanks, big government! Early exposure to these chemicals has been linked to adverse reproductive and birth outcomes, asthma, increased allergies, and adverse neurologic function.

EDCs in Our Food

Aside from the synthetic chemicals we encounter that affect the natural balance of hormones in our body, food can also contribute to estrogen dominance. Some of the most prominent ways we ingest EDCs that lead to estrogen dominance are from factory-farmed meat, dairy, and eggs. The animal products produced in these facilities have been tainted by the inhumane treatment of livestock. 

The animals are injected with hormones and antibiotics, and are fed steady diets of genetically modified soy and corn. Soy, being one of the most estrogenic plants on earth, naturally affects the hormone levels in the animals themselves and the products made from their milk, which we then eat. Opt for meat produced by local, family-owned farms, or that are labeled “pasture raised” or “pasture finished” when possible.

Other foods that can produce an estrogenic effect in the body include alcohol, processed sugar, flaxseed, sesame seeds/oil, and even inflammatory deep fried foods cooked in canola oil. New studies have linked poor diet and diets consisting of lots of fried food with early onset of puberty in both boys and girls.

Bottled water has been proven to contain EDCs due to the plastic bottles leaching.

Many canned foods are lined with BPA plastics which are known to contain EDCs. Non-stick pans are also coated with a common substance known as PFAs, which over time leach EDCs into our food. The same can be said for bottled water, which has been proven to contain EDCs due to the plastic bottles leaching.

Not to mention the heavy use of pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals used to grow genetically modified fruits and vegetables. Ingesting these foods inevitably means ingesting some of these chemicals. This is why trying to eat organic when possible is so important. We must read the labels of our foods and attempt to avoid food and water that has been heavily packaged in plastic. 

What's the Large-Scale Effect This Is Having on Fertility?

Precocious puberty is the term used for girls who start puberty before age 8, and it’s on the rise, especially among young girls in developed countries. It’s thought that this is occurring more in developed countries due to the increased exposure to endocrine disruptors from birth. 

Animal studies regarding males and females exposed to persistent environmental pollutants from pesticides, plastics containing BPA, petroleum-based cosmetics and cleaning products, etc., suffer from a range of issues from precocious puberty, PCOS, altered sex ratios in pups, imbalances of sex hormones, decreased sperm count and motility and gonad normality. We can only assume that based on the continuous exposure to EDCs we endure that some of the issues are on the rise in human populations too.

The number of infertile couples seeking medical assistance to conceive is increasing by 5-10% each year. 

The number of infertile couples seeking medical assistance to conceive children is increasing by 5% to 10% each year. Rates of reproductive illness in both men and women, which affect both their ability to conceive and their overall wellbeing, are rising at an alarming rate. Miscarriage, breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, fetal growth restriction, declining conception rates, and reduced duration of lactation in women have all been linked to female exposure to EDCs.

The fury I feel when I think of how we are made sick by the greed and negligence of big corporations and big government only to have symptom-based treatment sold to us by Big Pharma is hard to articulate. It’s an injustice on the weakest and most vulnerable of us all, and we must not stand idly by while it continues. We may not be able to change the course of capitalist endeavors that incentivize the situation continuing, but we can take control back into our own hands and attempt to rid ourselves of EDCs in our own lives.

Closing Thoughts

I cannot tell you the despair I have felt retiring my signature designer perfumes from daily use after discovering such things as mentioned above. The stress one feels as a mother, attempting to curate a safe home and environment for my children to grow up in, has only been exacerbated by the knowledge of EDCs and their prevalence. It’s a pursuit without end in some ways, though it is worthwhile.

It can also be costly and time-consuming to identify and remove all the ways in which we are exposed to hormone-disrupting chemicals. If you’re starting from square one with trying to rid your home and life of these chemicals, it can feel extremely overwhelming and even impossible to manage. It can feel really disappointing to have to say goodbye to products and brands you have loved for many years because of their ingredients. For this reason, I advise starting small and only in the ways we can easily afford to facilitate living an EDC-free existence. 

We must push for EDC labeling on all products containing even the smallest amount of hormone-disrupting compounds. Our well-being and future generations depend on it. As consumers, the responsibility can’t solely be on us to tirelessly research every single thing we purchase in the hopes of making sure we will have grandchildren. The responsibility must be placed on the corporations who produce such toxic items for profit and the governing bodies which our tax dollars fund to regulate them. 

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