Subhana Zafar

Endocrine DiStoptors

Endocrine Disruptors are chemicals that intervene or “stop” the function of your hormones. Basically these “disruptors” can cause harm, such as symptoms of early puberty amongst the youth. These can be found in the environment, foods, and even cosmetics. These disruptors mess with your hormones by altering your body’s homeostasis, (which is a fancy word for the normal balances in your body). The chemicals stop your nutrients from doing their job or they manipulate other hormones. In most cases children who show development early on, have accumulated chemicals from everyday things. It’s crazy to think that your child’s plastic toy and sippy cup are just full of these toxins like BPA and are damaging their health at such a young age! Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical that is usually found in plastics but can also be found in your food… yes, your food. PBA imitates estrogen and can be found in canned foods. “93% of Americans have BPA in their bodies”, and this can lead to breast cancer, early development, and other illnesses. I am personally a big fan of canned pineapple, HOWEVER, after being informed about the consequences of endocrine disruption, I no longer eat it ( by the way fresh pineapple tastes better). At the end of the day by being aware, eating healthy, and using natural products and food sources, you can avoid those harmful substances in your body. If I gave up canned pineapple you can avoid Endocrine Disruption.

EWG.2013. Dirty Dozen Endocrine Disruptors. Available:

 http://www.ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors

[accessed 12 April 2016]


Poisonous Peaches?

 

While grocery shopping do you ever stop to think what king of chemicals are in your produce? If you use organic – you don’t have to! It is good for your body as well as the environment. The risk of conventional produce stems from chemical exposure, like pesticides, and varies on the type and the country it was grown in. We are exposed to a “concoction of chemicals daily,” and long-term exposure may be harmful because there is an increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Children are more likely to be affected by pesticides simply because a kid’s metabolism is different from an adult’s, which leads to a higher risk of toxin lingering in their body. For adults the risk is lower, however, it is still important to take caution because your immune system could become damaged and tumors can develop. It is crazy to think that our fruits and vegetables are grown with these poisons that can really damage our bodies. Washing your fruits and vegetables can reduce your chances of consuming pesticides and help remove residues, germs, and dirt. But conventional produce has chemicals INSIDE too, as they are part of the growing process. Ever wonder what the little sticker on your produce is? I always thought it was a barcode or something. But it actually tells you if the produce it organic, grown with pesticides, or genetically mutated. If the first number on the sticker is nine then it is organic, if it is four or three than it was grown conventionally, and lastly if it is eight it was genetically mutated. The risk of pesticides is real, but health benefits from produce is even more important. Increasing the amount of fruits and veggies you eat can prevent 20,000 cases of cancer every year. When organic fruits and vegetables are not available or too costly, conventional fruits are an alternative, just be aware of what you are consuming!

Consumer reports. 2015. Eat the Peach Not the Pesticide. Available: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/natural-health/pesticides/index.htm [accessed 26 April 2016]

Consumer Reports.2010. What do the PLU codes say about your produce? Available: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2010/05/what-do-plu-codes-say-about-your-produce/index.htm [accessed 26 April 2016]


Antibacterial Soaps= No Benefits

            When buying soap, the word “Antibacterial” sways you into thinking that more germs will be killed and that you are less likely to get sick. WRONG!! In fact, Antibacterial soaps are quite harmful to you, as well as the environment. Plain soap and water would do the job of preventing illness, just as well and will not expose you to toxins found in antibacterial products. These soaps contain a chemical called Triclosan. “Just like you shouldn’t take an antibiotic drug to treat a viral- infection, like a cold or flu, there’s no reason you would use an antibacterial soap to kill viruses (Lipman).” Triclosan can be found in not just soaps, but toothpastes and other cosmetics. Although the impact of triclosan is vague, animal studies on a frog have shown that it severely impacts the way that hormones in their bodies work. This leaves scientists wondering what this chemical could be doing to us. They believe that we are affected in similar ways as animals are and it could contribute to early puberty, infertility, obesity and other health concerns. Since triclosan is a common ingredient in most products, it can make its way through sewer systems, rivers, and even oceans, polluting everything in its way. The absolute best way to avoid this chemical is to simply use plain soap and water to wash your hands. So next time your buying soap, make sure Triclosan is not an ingredient in the product!

 

Consumer Reports.2014. 5 reasons to skip antibacterial soap and it’s risks.

 

Available: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/10/5-reasons-to-skip-antibacterial-soap/index.htm [accessed 7 March 2016].

FDA (U>S> Food and Drug Administration). 2015. FDA Taking Closer Look at ‘ Antibacterial’ Soap.

Available: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378393.htm [accessed 7 March 2016].


Flame Retardants DO NOT stop fires

Based on the clear definition of “flame-retardants,” you would expect that they would help keep you safe, but the reality is that these are harmful chemicals that we are breathing in. Flame- Retardants can be found in mattresses, FURNITURE, foam cushions, curtains, and hair dryers, which is basically the entire house! Flame- retardants are supposed to reduce the spread of fire, but they don’t! They are absolutely good for nothing and just make us exposed to unnecessary chemicals. Scientists find flame-retardant chemicals almost everywhere, in indoor air, food, and house hold dust. Children and adults in the US have ten to twenty times more chemicals in their bodies than those in Europe or and Japan because the United States is the largest Consumer of flame-retardants. Flame- retardants are a complete HOAX! The crazy thing is that companies sold us this “great” idea by telling us we would keep are babies safe. I mean yes, we don’t want our children to be caught in a fire, but really? Never as a baby was I around, matches, candles, or anything remotely possible to be set on fire. But if anything, these toxic fumes are harming the babies and most importantly they DO NOT put out fires! Exposure to these toxins can cause learning disabilities, delayed reproductive development, liver tumors, and so much more. Why take the risk when there is absolutely no benefit?! One way to be a bit safer is to invest in a high efficiency vacuum that filters out dust better than a conventional one. Well, some good news is that many furniture companies are making products fire safe without the use of flame-retardants.

Alliance for a clean and Healthy Maine.2013.PBDEs- The Toxic Flame Retardants. Available: http://www.cleanandhealthyme.org/BodyofEvidenceReport/TheChemicals/Mercury/tabid/101/Default.aspx [accessed 17 February 2016]


Skip the Plastic Bottle

Everyone around you has the same old convenient plastic water bottle, but they don’t know is that it is harming them, not only are these bottles harmful to the environment, but they are dangerous for your body! What’s your number? Well the number on your plastic bottle. Five, four, one, two… all the rest are bad for you! Leaving numbers three, six, and seven, which are the worst for you because they contain large amounts of BPA. BPA is a chemical that messes with your brain and starts early development in children. If you think you taste plastic in a water bottle, throw it out right away because you are DRINKING harmful toxins. Many people believe that water bottles are cleaner than tap water, but what they don’t know is that the FDA tests tap water for chemicals more often than bottled water. Which is kind strange because you would think that water bottles are cleaner. So really your tap water can be safe to drink, but it’s not perfect. If you buy a high quality filter, it can remove some harmful substances. Water bottles are also harmful for the environment because most end up in landfills and oceans where toxins can leech into the water or ground. But in reality, ALL plastics are bad for you. Yea some are better than others, but at the end of the day they are these man-made chemicals that interfere with our body’s function. Plastic was just another way for the chemical industry to put toxins into consumer products. It is annoying to think that plastic was sold to us because “we break too much glass.” Personally, I do not think I have broken enough glass to say I need chemicals infused into my water. A perfect alternative is to use a stainless steel bottle (which I use) or a glass bottle, which will your body healthy as well as save money!    

Flourish magazine.2010. So What’s the Big Deal with Plastic Water Bottles? Available: http://www.flourishonline.org/2010/08/so-whats-the-big-deal-with-plastic-water-bottles/ [accessed 9 April 2016] 


What Makes up Your Make-up

 Cement filler for only $40!

Applying makeup in the morning has become a daily routine for most women and girls, including myself. But have you ever stopped to think as to what exactly goes in your makeup? I know I have not, but now that I think of it, my eyeshadow pallet is the farthest thing from natural. Today, the laws put on cosmetics are so limited that even well-known cancer causing chemicals are legally allowed in our personal care products. BHA and BHT are chemical preservatives found in lip products and moisturizers. These chemicals are linked to developmental and reproduction toxicity, cancer, and much more. Some makeup even contains mica, which is often found in foundation and mineral dust (gives that shimmer and glow to skin). This chemical (THAT YOU PUT ON YOUR FACE) is used as a filler in cement and as insulation material. Hold on, I need a moment to say, EW. Long term exposure to this really gross chemical can cause respiratory problems. Another toxin known as Teflon, is found in many powders, eyeshadows, anti-aging lotion, and even shaving creams. Teflon is a synthetic resin, so it is basically a fake non-stick agent found in those cooking sprays. This is what gives makeup a smooth and sleek finish. But this chemical can lead to delayed menstruation and development issues. Some good news is that black mascara and eyeliner used to contain carbon-based products like coal and tar for their pigment (the thought of people putting tar on their eyes at one time makes me sick). The FDA banned this in 2001. Slowly but surely, they are making changes, but until then they are caught up in the industries. We have to take the responsibly of taking care of ourselves!    

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.2016. Chemicals of Concern. Available:

http://www.safecosmetics.org/get-the-facts/chemicals-of-concern/

[accessed 22 March 2016]


Spring Cleaning Chemicals

It’s that dreadful time again when you have to clean up your home! I don’t know about you but I absolutely despise cleaning. So you take out a couple of detergents, some glass and oven cleaner, some metal and furniture polishes, and anything else you got. And then you crack open a window to help ventilate the gross smell. But what you don’t know is that toxic fumes and chemicals are damaging your health. That furniture polish you are using can be flammable when swallowed and can contain carcinogens like formaldehyde. Metal polishes contain a chemical related to gasoline, that when inhaled can cause serious damage to your Nervous system. You can easily substitute that toxin for lemon and salt, and it works just as great and it is natural! Fabric softeners contain ‘fragrance’ which is a code word for phthalates. Phthalates are a well-known endocrine disruptor that messes up your hormonal balance and can cause early development in children. The good news is, there are alternatives to these harsh chemicals, just keep an eye out going further and make better decisions! Buying organic and non-toxic cleaners are a great way to clean naturally and even better option would be to make homemade cleaners using lemons, baking soda, vinegar, even toothpaste, and experiment! It’s the only thing that will make cleaning fun anyway!

Organic Consumers Association. 2016. How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies. Available: https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/how-toxic-are-your-household-cleaning-supplies [accessed 22 March 2016]