Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Things to Avoid - Pthalates, BPA, and Parabens

NaturalGuy and I have been looking into what we should be limiting our exposure to, for general health but also for fertility and pregnancy. Last night we watched an interesting documentary on the environmental impact of certain endocrine disruptors on boys and men.

We've been slowly working on reducing our exposure to pthalates, BPA, and parabens. BPA, pthalates, and parabens are all linked to endocrine disruption - they mimic the effect of estrogen in the body, disrupting the normal regulation of hormones. Pthalates and BPA are both found in plastics. Pthalates make plastics flexible and soft. BPA is used to make plastics rigid and clear. Parabens are used as preservatives in food and cosmetics.

Endocrine disruptors are of special concern to couples preparing for pregnancy because they may impact fertility and fetal development, even in concentrations that do not impact already-grown adult humans. A baby develops under low, carefully balanced mixtures of hormones, and even slight disruptions can cause long term developmental problems. While it is unrealistic to believe we can avoid all exposure (and the stress of trying would probably be much worse for fertility and fetal development!), NaturalGuy and I would like to try to lower the dose, for our sake and for our future children.

Steps we've taken so far:

  • Replacing plastic containers with glass, especially for containers that we microwave things in.
  • Using BPA-free plastic or glass bottles for water.
  • Replacing toiletries with paraben-free alternatives, especially things like moisturizers and deodorant, which are left on the skin and absorbed.
Our biggest challenge is going to be reducing the amount of canned foods we use - cans are generally lined with BPA. Bad news for us since canned tomatoes and beans are great for insta-cooking! We're still looking for alternatives to these staples, since soaking beans overnight requires a bit more advanced meal planning than I am currently used to.

More info at WebMD's "Pots, Pans, and Plastics: A Shopper's Guide to Food Safety"

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