Green Tip – Avoiding Endocrine Disruptors

EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Learn about endocrine disruptors and how to avoid them. These chemicals can wreck havoc with ourDirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors bodies. According to the Environmental Working Group’s research, they trick our bodies in numerous ways including: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Keep-A-Breast Foundation has compiled the research and recently released a guide with a new Dirty Dozen to help us in our quest to keep ourselves and our families healthy. This list gives simple explanations about 12 of the worst endocrine disruptors and how to avoid them.

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune effects in both humans and wildlife. And keep in mind, we’re exposed to a mixture of all of these every day

Here are some of the offenders and how to avoid them:

Bisphenol-A (BPA)

BPA is a chemical used in plastics that imitates estrogen in your body. BPA has been linked to everything from breast and others cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease, and according to government tests, 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies.

How to avoid it? Go fresh instead of canned – many food cans are lined with BPA – or research which companies don’tLocal and Organic use BPA or similar chemicals in their products. Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA. And avoid plastics marked with a “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7. Not all of these plastics contain BPA, but many do – and it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to keeping synthetic hormones out of your body.

For more tips, check out: www.ewg.org/bpa/

Mercury

Mercury, a naturally occurring but toxic metal, gets into the air and the oceans primarily though burning coal. Eventually, it can end up on your plate in the form of mercury-contaminated seafood. Pregnant women are the most at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, since the metal is known to concentrate in the fetal brain and can interfere with brain development. Mercury is also known to bind directly to one particular hormone that regulates women’s menstrual cycle and ovulation, interfering with normal signaling pathways. In other words, hormones don’t work so well when they’ve got mercury stuck to them! The metal may also play a role in diabetes, since mercury has been shown to damage cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is critical for the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

How to avoid it? For people who still want to eat (sustainable) seafood with lots of healthy fats but without a side of toxic mercury, wild salmon and farmed trout are good choices. Check out the Seafood Watch guide at http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx.

Organophosphate Pesticides

Neurotoxic organophosphate compounds that the Nazis produced in huge quantities for chemical warfare during World War II were luckily never used. After the war ended, American scientists used the same chemistry to develop a long line of pesticides that target the nervous systems of insects. Despite many studies linking organophosphate exposure to effects on brain development, behavior and fertility, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. A few of the many ways that organophosphates can affect the human body include interfering with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels.

How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which can help you find the fruits and vegetables that have the fewest pesticide residues. Check it out at: www.ewg.org/foodnews/

For the rest of the Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors and to download your own copy, visit http://www.ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors.

For more reading on the subject, the Huffington Post just ran a great article entitiled, Watchdog Warns Of ‘Dirty Dozen’ Hormone Disruptors As Scientists, Industry Argue Regulation.

My Green Side’s MOVIE pick of the week:Food for Change

Food for Change

Food For Change is a feature-length documentary film focusing on food co-ops as a force for dynamic social and economic change in American culture. The movie tells the story of the cooperative movement in the U.S. through interviews, rare archival footage, and commentary by the filmmaker and social historians.

Coming to the Fargo Theatre on Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 at 2pm. After the film there will be a discussion moderated by Christopher Gabriel from The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Reserve your tickets now at http://food4change.eventbrite.com/ or get them at the door on Sunday. See you at the movies!

 

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