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Worst Chemicals Ever

The 12 Most Toxic Chemicals In Your Home

The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Keep a Breast Foundation (in the USA) are sounding alarm bells about the health threat of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Of the roughly 80,000 chemicals used in everyday goods, 1,300 or so are considered endocrine disruptors, also called hormone disruptors. The nonprofits just released a report outlining the "Dirty Dozen," a list of endocrine disruptors that highlights the worst of the worst—and the ones you're most likely exposed to every day.

Here's what you need to know.

Bisphenol A, or BPA

What it does: Perhaps the most widely studied endocrine disruptor on the market, BPA actually started out in the 1930s as a synthetic estrogen given to women. So it's no surprise that this hormonal chemical has been found to act like estrogen, with current exposure levels leading to things like decreased sperm production in men, early puberty in girls, and fertility problems in both genders, or that animal studies have linked it to greater chances of miscarriage. BPA also interferes with metabolic hormones and plays a role in heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

Where it's found: BPA is found in the linings of food cans, and it's used as a coating on receipts. The chemical is still used in some plastic products and as a flame retardant, as well, but thanks to the lack of laws requiring companies to disclose how BPA is being used, it's impossible to know all the places where the nearly 3 billion pounds of the chemical produced each year wind up.

Easiest way to avoid it: Opt for fresh, frozen, or homemade versions of your favourite canned foods. You can also limit additional exposures by rejecting unnecessary receipts when shopping.

Click here to read Good Magazine's look at cans in NZ...


What they do: Like BPA, phthalates have come under a lot of scrutiny in recent years, after studies revealed that boys born of women with high phthalate exposures suffered from abnormalities in their genitals. The chemicals interfere with testosterone and estradiol, a hormone that affects breast development. Studies have found that women who develop breast cancer have higher levels of certain types of phthalates than women who are cancer free.

Where they're found: Phthalates are used in a vast number of consumer products: flooring, shower curtains, synthetic leather, and other products made with PVC vinyl, where phthalates are used to keep the plastic flexible; in any product with a synthetic fragrance, where phthalates are used to keep the scent from dissipating; and nail polishes, paints, and furniture finishes, where phthalates keep the materials from chipping. They've also been detected in some plastic cling wraps and food containers, as well as pesticides.

Easiest ways to avoid them: Avoid anything with a synthetic fragrance, say "NO!" to vinyl products, and always store your food in glass, ceramic, or stainless steel containers.

Organophosphate pesticides

What they do: Breakdown products of these neurotoxic insecticides have been associated with lower levels of testosterone and other sex hormones, according to the Pesticide Action Network North America. Mothers exposed to organophosphates while pregnant also experience increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), which can increase the risks for miscarriage, preeclampsia, and developmental delays for the child.

Where they're found: Organophosphates are one of the most commonly used classes of insecticides in the U.S. and are found on a wide variety of crops.

Easiest way to avoid them: Go organic! Organic farmers are prohibited from using synthetic pesticides like organophosphates on their fields.

Here's a link to the Safe Food Campaign website in NZ...

Flame retardants

What they do: These toxic, ubiquitous chemicals are most known for their impact on the thyroid and on female infertility. Because thyroid hormones also have an impact on your brain, one class of flame retardants, known as PBDEs, is thought to affect the IQ levels in children, which is why many chemicals in this class have been banned or are being gradually phased out. However, the replacements being used are just as toxic and exhibit the same biological activity as organophosphate pesticides.

Where they're found: Furniture, carpet padding, and even baby nursing pillows contain them. Assume that anything in your home—and your office and your car—that contains polyurethane foam also contains flame retardants. Other major exposure sources include electronics: TVs, computers, cellphones, and video game consoles.

Easiest way to avoid them: Dust and vacuum frequently. It's nearly impossible to avoid flame retardants, given their widespread use, so cleaning is your best defense. Flame retardants bind to dust as the furniture, car-seat padding, and electronics in which they're used break down.


What it does: Most of the research on atrazine's hormone-mimicking effects has been conducted in fish and frogs. Like a freaky science-fiction plot, the chemical causes male fish and frogs to turn into females. Research into humans, however, has shown that the pesticide increases the activity of genes that cause infertility.

Where it's found: Atrazine is the second most widely used herbicide in the United States (behind glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup), according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and 86% of it is applied to corn.

Easiest way to avoid it: Go organic! Organic farmers are prohibited from using toxic synthetic herbicides like atrazine. And eat less meat. Despite corn's reputation as serving as the building block for numerous processed-food ingredients, 80% of U.S.-grown corn is sold both domestically and internationally as animal feed, according to the National Corn Growers Association, so the herbicide is present in their meat after the animals are slaughtered.

Click here to read about pesticides used in New Zealand from the Waikato District Council...

Disclaimer: Most of this info is taken directly from another site which I will link to at the bottom. I have included links to more info which is relevant to New Zealand. I don't want to be an alarmist or fearmonger - I want people to feel informed and empowered. How great would it be if we all made little changes that turned the world upside down - and back to the way we were intended to live?! In my family we have started to make really small easy changes to create a chemical free home. It's not complicated if you take it one step at a time and just stay aware. Last night I heard about a friend of a friend's son who has a young family and has just been diagnosed with life threatening cancer. It's devastating. I ABHOR this kind of news and am devastated for his entire family. If we can all make small changes and encourage each other we can change the world and prevent so much ill health and disease and maybe even cancer. I probably sound like Miss World saying I want world peace when I write that, that but right now I have my health and I have hope and I have a voice so I'm going to use it.

One easy way to go chemical free...

Switch to natural cleaning products. I use white vinegar, baking soda and essential oils to clean everything in our home. I also use the Thieves cleaning range which is incredible but this is not a sales pitch! The things just white vinegar and baking soda can do could eliminate at least half of the cleaning products in your home (you can even wash your hair with baking soda which I do, and cider vinegar is a great conditioner!). Honestly, just make one change this week. Another one next week. And let's start the new year cleaner, healthier and happier!

I'm not a doctor, nor am I facing the horrors of a cancer diagnoses, and so again, I only want this to open discussion and not condemn or judge anything that I don't really know about... But I do STRONGLY believe that we need to be looking at natural health, wholistic living, nutrition and cutting out chemicals as the real solutions to the problem of cancer (and many other health issues) in our world.
And if you really want to get riled up... Heather Brock gets PASSIONATE about where your money really goes when you're supporting Pink Ribbon walks. Again, this is the USA. Some things are different here. But what goes around comes around and I want to be aware.

Click here


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