There is a type of common chemical found in a host of products you probably use every day … and it could be putting you at risk for some dangerous health effects. This type of chemical is called an endocrine disrupting chemical, also called an EDC. EDCs are found in plastic water bottles, toys, cosmetics, detergents, food, medications, furniture, and yes — foam mattresses. (Our mattress are made with natural and organic ingredients.)

What’s the big problem with EDCs?

EDCs disrupt the way our hormones work. And when hormones are disrupted, it can wreak some serious havoc on our bodies and minds, sometimes irreversibly. Usually, when we think hormones, we think puberty and reproductivity, right? But in reality, our hormones regulate almost everything our body does, from sleep to metabolism to behavior. Hormones control almost our entire health and wellbeing, and we don’t want anything disturbing their proper functioning.

EDCs can be harmful in a variety of ways. Though more research is being conducted, studies have shown them to cause problems like cancer, ADHD, diabetes, autism, and infertility in males and females.

The good news, and what can you do about it.

The good news is that more research and exposure has been done about EDCs over the past decade, leading to the availability of more accessible information for average consumers like you and I.

It can seem overwhelming at first because we are constantly surrounded by EDCs. But there are certain things that are within our control that we can begin doing to eliminate these harmful chemicals from our lives:

Use a stainless steel, reusable water bottle.

You’ve probably heard of BPA some time in the last decade. BPA, properly called bisphenol A,  is the most well-known EDC, and up until recently, it was found in almost every plastic water bottle, even the reusable ones. Most companies that manufacture water bottles, baby bottles, and other types of tupperware have now switched to a “BPA-free” version, which definitely seems like the better option, right? Not necessarily.

Recent studies have shown that bisphenol-S, or BPS, and fluorene-9-bisphenol, or BHPF, which are both used to replace BPA, can be just as harmful.

So to play it safe, choose a stainless steel reusable water bottle instead, like one from Klean Kanteen or Mirr. Use glass tupperware to store your food, and choose a glass and silicone option for your baby’s bottles.

Make the switch to clean cosmetics.

Unfortunately, EDCs are commonly found in many of our cosmetic and skincare products, which is quite concerning since we are putting these products directly on our skin every day! So start by making the switch to safer, more natural products. Here’s how:

  • Look for natural ingredients. Whenever possible, use products that contain ingredients that you can pronounce, or at least recognize. But watch out for greenwashing; just because a products says it’s “green” or “natural” does not always mean it actually is!
  • Check the safety of your products with the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database and mobile app. You can scan the products in your makeup bag and cleaning cabinet to see how they rate in categories like allergies and immunotoxicity, cancer, and reproductive and developmental toxicity. You may be surprised to find that many of the products you thought were “natural” actually aren’t that good for you!
  • Find a few trusted brands to purchase your makeup, skincare, and haircare products from. Beautycounter, ILIA, Elate Cosmetics, W3LL People, and Herbivore Botanicals are some of my favorites.

Say no to fragrances.

Most artificial fragrances contain not only EDCs, but other harmful ingredients as well. So instead, either go without perfume (your new Beautycounter shampoo smells amazing enough!), or use essential oils as perfume instead.

Look out for fragrances in other household products as well, such as laundry detergent and cleaning supplies. Choose the fragrance-free option, and always read labels and do your research. Instead of spraying Febreze, open the windows and turn on the fan to let fresh air into your home. Put some orange or lemon peels in the garbage disposal, plant some fresh flowers, and use baking soda for smelly spots like the refrigerator or shoe closet.

Steer clear of flame retardants.

This is a tough one because flame retardants are on a lot of products, and it’s often not very noticeable. When you purchase new furniture or electronics, be sure to do your research. Most mattresses, for example, contain flame retardants. Since you spend about a third of your life on your mattress, it makes sense to prioritize purchasing a safe mattress, free from EDCs. At Avocado, we don’t use pesticides, chemicals, or flame retardants, and our mattresses are made with all-natural components.

Keep your house clean.

Those flame retardants from your furniture have been found to escape and collect on the dust in your home, so make sure to dust and vacuum often.

Decrease plastic use.

Most of us use a lot of plastic these days, and plastic is one of the most common hosts for EDCs. It seems like almost everything is made of some kind of plastic material! Slowly making the switch from plastic products can decrease your exposure to EDCs. Use Life Without Plastic to shop plastic alternatives for everything from tupperware to toothbrushes.

Eat fresh.

The metal cans and plastic bags used to store vegetables, soups, and other foods contain BPA (or those BPA replacements), which can leak into your food before you eat it. Even cans that say “BPA free” use a similar chemical that has not yet been proven safe.

Filter your tap water.

Our tap water can contain residue from lots of chemicals, lead, birth control pills, and more. So get a water filter that can get rid of EDCs, and stay hydrated!

Even though it seems like we’re surrounded by harmful EDCs, there are some things you can start to implement into your lifestyle in order to protect yourself and your family. Just remember to start small and take it one step at a time!