“There is growing interest in studying the possible health effects of the increasing number of chemicals used in industry, food, and consumer products. Anecdotal and scientific observations have come to suggest that these chemicals in our environment may be exerting harmful effects on the environment and the health of wildlife and man.”
Plastics, parabens and several other environmental chemicals are grouped into a chemical category known as endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs.
This is a fancy term to explain the possible negative impact of these chemicals on animals’ hormone systems. According to the Endocrine Society:
“Substances in our environment, food, and consumer products that interfere with hormone biosynthesis, metabolism, or action resulting in deviation from normal homeostatic control or reproduction.”
Most of the endocrine disrupting chemicals favour oestrogen. Oestrogen is a profoundly beneficial hormone when it’s present in the optimal balance with other hormones such as progesterone and testosterone.
But when oestrogen levels are too high, or when the other hormones are too low, all manner of problems can emerge. Conditions associated with endocrine disruption include:
- Decreased sperm count
- Weight gain and obesity
- Menopausal symptoms
- Menstrual symptoms:
- Period pain
- No periods
- Heavy periods
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Autoimmune conditions
A variety of foods are what we call “oestrogenic”. This means they have one or more of the following properties:
1. Contain oestrogen
2. Act like oestrogen in your body
3. Enhance or amplify the effects of oestrogen in your body
Dr. William Wong, ND compiled a list of foods containing phyto, or plant-based oestrogens, showing the amount of oestrogen in mcg/100g aprox. 4 ounces:
You can see that certain items promoted as health foods are heavily oestrogenic. In some very specific instances this may help a person, but in the majority of cases, it’s not such a good thing because oestrogenic foods have to be added to all the other environmental oestrogenic compounds.
Pthalates (don’t pronounce the “P”)
Phthalates are widely used in the production of plastics, cosmetics, and other items. As such, exposure is virtually universal for all but the most primitive and remote cultures.
Phthalates have been shown to have numerous physiological effects, mainly related to steroid hormone disruption – cortisol, oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, etc.
Phthalates mimic the actions of oestrogen in your body, which may offset the beneficial effects of other hormones such as progesterone and testosterone.
Although studies on individual phthalates?have found them to be of low oestrogenic potency, when multiple compounds are present, research shows dramatic enhancement of their effects. In other words 1+1 doesn’t make 2; it’s more like 10.
Other adverse effects from phthalate exposure can be related to induction of oxidative stress and depletion of antioxidant protection.
Oxidative stress is one of the processes that, when left unchecked, can lead to cell damage and lead to the development of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Rat liver cells exposed to phthalates show increased levels of lipid oxidation markers and lowered levels of glutathione and vitamin E. In plain English, this means more oxidative stress and less antioxidant protection.
Parabens are widely used in cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and food products. The most frequently used parabens -the ones you will see listed on your personal care and cosmetic product labels – are:
Methyl- and propylparaben are the most commonly used preservatives in cosmetics, and are allowed in concentrations up to 1%. Parabens are found in:
- Shampoos and conditioners
- Hair care products
- Shave gels
- Personal lubricants
- Sunscreen and tanning lotions
- Deodorants and antiperspirants
- Food additives
- Topical and parenteral pharmaceuticals
Unfortunately there is little meaningful research on the negative health effects of parabens.
However, because usage tends to be daily and accumulates over several decades, some scientists and doctors are becoming concerned about the possible health effects of these chemicals.
Just because the studies haven’t been done yet, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. After all, the earth used to be “flat”.
Hompes Method Testing Toolkit
Pthalate & Paraben Tests
It is possible to test for the excretion of phthalates and parabens using a simple, home-based urine test. Several phthalate and paraben chemicals are analysed in the urine sample.
Please click here to learn more about the test and view sample reports. There, you’ll find my own phthalate/paraben test result.
Safe and Effective Detoxification
The Hompes Method can guide you through a safe and gentle detoxification programme, which I call the “Hompes Method 1,2,3’s of Detoxification“.
The first step in detoxifying your body is to avoid putting toxins in! All too often, this step is overlooked. If you try to detoxify your body while you’re still loading up on toxins, you’re wasting your time – it’s like trying to empty a basin of water while the taps are still on.
Toxin minimization involves:
- Eating clean food
- Drinking clean water
- Breathing air that’s as clean as possible
- Putting less toxins on your skin
- Optimising digestive function (see step two!)
It’s essential to optimize your digestive function. Why? Well, a digestive system full of bad bugs is a toxic digestive system – it leaks toxins into your body, overloading your liver’s ability to remove toxins.
A further problem is that a damaged digestive system can’t absorb nutrients effectively, and nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins and minerals are needed for proper detoxification!
Once nutrition, environment and digestion have been optimized, a carefully planned detoxification programme can be implemented using specific supplements and cleanses.