New research shows that chemicals in objects we are exposed to daily via common household objects are making Americans sick by disrupting our hormones, causing cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. These chemicals are found in things like plastic bottles, metal food cans, flame retardants (found on items such as mattresses, children’s clothing and toys), cosmetics, pesticides, detergents and household cleaning products.
A recent study revealed that exposure to these endocrine disrupting chemicals cost the US more than $340 billion per year in treatment and loss of earnings (not taking into account pain and distress costs). This amount is more than twice as much as the yearly cost in Europe, which is currently at about $163 billion, who regulates chemicals to limit exposure. This new research shows that there are benefits in regulating these endocrine disruptors because they are known to mess up the body’s hormone system and cause unwanted neurological, developmental, reproductive and immune problems.
For this study, researchers reviewed blood and urine samples that documented the presence of endocrine disrupting chemicals among the participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This data allowed them to estimate the costs associated with exposure and compare it to the research done in Europe. Researchers also stated that the US $340 billion figure could be conservative since only about 5 percent of known endocrine disrupters were calculated.
How To Reduce Your Exposure To Endocrine Disrupters:
Although the US government is not currently regulating these harmful endocrine disrupting chemicals, there are some things you can do to reduce your exposure.
Look Into Flame-Retardant-Free Products: One of the biggest contributors to endocrine disruption is a chemical mixture used in furniture in the US that makes it less flammable (restricted in Europe since 2008). So, before you buy a new mattress, couches or other furniture, look into what it is made of. Can’t afford the more expensive flame-retardant-free items? Thats ok, you can also reduce your exposure by dusting and dry mopping floors regularly. If you have carpets, make sure to vacuum floors with a HEPA filer which traps small particles of dust instead of blowing them around the house.
Wash Your Hands Often: Another way you can reduce your exposure is by washing your hands more often. Although that may seem silly, it can actually make a big difference in exposure. Research shows that chemicals escape from common household products such as electronics, baby items, toys, etc. These chemical particles then collect around your house and as you touch them they end up on your hands. By washing frequently, especially before eating, you will be washing some of these chemicals down the drain.
Limit The Chemicals You Ingest: Limiting the pesticides you ingest by purchasing organic food products is an easy way to limit exposure. Also try to reduce your use of aluminum canned food and avoid microwaving and dishwashing plastic.
Clean With Less Chemicals: We have been taught, starting at an early age, for our home to be truly clean we need to use products full of toxic chemicals that are actually harmful to our health and filled with artificial chemical fragrances. By cleaning with products that contain these chemicals we are actually creating more of an exposure to endocrine disruptors. Look into how you are currently cleaning your home and consider switching to a product that helps reduce chemicals. Your cleaning products alone could be what is making you feel sick.