Xenoestrogens: What They Are And How To Avoid Them

Xenoestrogens bottles

Xenoestrogens are man-made estrogen-like compounds from the environment
found in plastics, pesticides, cosmetics, meat and dairy, and hundreds of other
common items. Xenoestrogens are dangerous because they’re identical enough
to human estrogen, a build-up in the body contributes to estrogen dominance and
increased fat storage. Xenoestrogens are abound in our every day life, learn how
to lower your exposure.


1.PESTICIDE-LADEN FOOD: Pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables are the
main sources of xenoestrogens.
Solution: Learn which foods are most important to buy organic by using this
list (from the Environmental Working Group website http://www.ewg.org)
The Dirty Dozen –are the most contaminated foods: (splurge, buy these
organic) strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries,
pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers. If not buying
organic, then peel the skin or use a veggie spray e.g. Nature Clean Fruit and
Veggie Soak to wash off some of the surface pesticide residue

The Clean Fifteen –are the least contaminated produce: (save your money,
these don’t have to be organic) Avocados, sweet corn ( non-GMO),
pineapples, cabbage, onions, sweet frozen peas, papaya, asparagus,
mangoes, eggplant, honeydew, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower, broccoli.

2. BEEF– Eating conventional beef exposes you to the same chemicals used
on the animal, which can result in estrogen dominance. Factory-farmed
animals are fed, cheap, mass produced grains containing GMOs and
pesticides because it fattens them up quickly. They’re pumped full of bovine growth
hormones and antibiotics because these make them bigger and
fatter too.
Solution –Avoid conventionally raised beef (lamb, or pork). You shouldn’t be
eating too much meat any way (twice a week I recommend) but when you
do, splurge on really good quality grass-fed and/or organic meat. Grass-fed
animals are raised on open grass-pasture that’s not been treated with
chemicals. They are never given bovine hormones/antibiotics nor forced into
harsh confinement. Grass-fed and organic meat is more nutritious and come
from healthier and cleaner animals.

3. DAIRY –although the Canadian dairy industry has long banned the use of rbST growth hormones, the same cannot be said for the pesticide-contaminated grains used to feed the dairy cattle.  Remember pesticides are estrogenic and any residue that gets into our milk and meat contribute to our estrogen overload.  Cows in the US are given rbST growth hormones, since Canada imports some milk from the US (albeit a small percentage), this is mixed with Canadian-produced milk leading to a contamination of growth hormones.

Solution: Buy organic dairy products or use dairy alternatives there many options available these days e.g. almond milk, coconut yogurt, cashew cheese.

4. PLASTICS – Bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates are endocrine disruptors used to make plastics.  BPA is often found in plastic foods containers, baby bottles and water bottles.  Phthalates are chemical plasticizers that are mainly used to soften plastics (toys, plastic wrap, plastic containers) but are also found in an wide array of products from personal care products (soaps, shampoo, hairspray) to furniture, flooring and anything containing vinyl and PVC such as shower curtains.


Avoid canned food or buy BPA-free canned food.  BPA is found in the inner lining of cans to prevent metal corrosion.

Avoid using plastic wrap or plastic containers in the microwave.   When you use plastic wrap on your food to stop splattering in the microwave, tiny droplets of these xenoestrogens are released onto your food.  Heated plastic containers leaches chemicals into the food that is stored in them.

Never leave plastic water bottles or plastic food containers in the sun.  Again the heated plastic containers releases estrogenic chemicals into its contents.

Look for plastic drink containers and toys that specify “BPA-free”.

Reduce your exposure to BPA by choosing fresh, unpackaged food more often.

5. CHEMICALS IN BODY CARE PRODUCTS – big name brands of make-up,
shampoo, conditioners, soaps, nail polish and deodorants often contain
chemicals that are endocrine disruptors such as parabens and phthalates. Used
as preservatives and plasticizers, these chemicals are proven to exert estrogenic
activity in females and males alike.

Avoid these xenoestrogens in your body care and home care products:
Phthalates: monobutyl phthalate, monobenzyl phthalate, monoethyl phthalate,
diethyl phthalate
Parabens: butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben,
isopropylparaben and isobutylparaben
Sunscreen chemicals: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene,
homosalate, octinoxate, are estrogenic and may interfere with thyroid and other
hormone processes in the body.
Dark hair dyes – contains estrogenic petrochemicals
→See http://www.ewg.org to find out if your cosmetics and body care products contain
toxic estrogenic compounds.
Shop at natural health food stores for your body care products.
Look for mineral sunscreen which utilizes minerals – titanium dioxide and zinc oxide – rather than estrogenic chemicals to form a physical barrier against UV

6. CLEANING CHEMICALS-Ordinary household cleaners such as laundry and dish
detergents, break down into chemicals that include endocrine disruptors nonylphenol and octylphenol with dangerous health consequences. Laundry detergent persists in clothes, even after the rinse cycle as clothes are worn or sheets and towels used, the skin is exposed to the estrogenic compounds which is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Buy natural, non-toxic brands of household cleaners e.g. Method, Meyers,
Nature Clean, Seventh Generation, Ecover
Avoid bleach and dioxins– chlorine in bleach is a hormone disruptor. Dioxins is formed in the bleaching of pulp and paper. Use natural, unbleached paper products and sanitary pads.
Make your own cleansing products with non-toxic household ingredients such as baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar and essential oils (antiseptic oils: lavender, tea tree, lemon)
Lavender All-Purpose Scrubber – ½ cup baking soda, 1 cup liquid soap e.g. Dr. Bronners, 10 drops lavender essential oil (antiseptic). Mix liquid soap slowly into baking soda to form a frosting-like consistency. Add lavender oil. Place the mixture directly onto a sponge and use.

Inevitably in our modern life, chemicals surround us and get into our body through what we eat, drink, breathe and come into contact with. Chemicals that are not removed efficiently by your body’s detoxification pathways (such as your liver) will accumulate and exert negative health effects over time. Those that are fat-soluble, notably PCBs and pesticides,are stored in our body’s fat cells, the result is a build- up of estrogen leading to
estrogen dominance.
Many of these chemicals not only disrupt female hormones but also affect fertility in
both men and women. Estrogen dominance conditions include uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, PCOS, breast cancer, thickening of the uterine lining, endometriosis. Other symptoms include gallstones, fatigue, memory loss fluid retention, PMS, hot flashes, period problems (heavy periods), and last but not least, weight gain.
Although xenoestrogen chemicals are considered “safe” in the small quantities
found in everyday household items, we are exposed to multiple products which
over time leads to an accumulation of chemicals in our body beyond the safe
upper limit. Many xenoestrogens, particularly fat soluble ones, can also travel
into the system of fetus from the mother’s blood.
Find out how you are exposed to xenoestrogens and avoid it’s sources.
Support your body’s main detox organ, the liver, with a clean diet and supportive
antioxidants and nutrients.


Q: Is taking the birth control pill (BCP) harmful to me?

A: Doctor’s prescribe the BCP for a myriad of reasons other than birth
control e.g. for acne and fibroids. Synthetic estrogen from BCP as well
as from other drugs (Prempro, Premarin, Tagamet) all contain toxic estrogens.

These estrogenic compounds are stored in your fat cells and are re-released into your blood stream with negative health consequences. Some of the common side effects associated with the BCP include spotting, nausea, headaches, decreased sex drive, weight gain, stomach complains, breast changes, water retention and vaginal and bladder infections.

The less common but more serious side effects include: blood clots, heart attack, high
blood pressure, high cholesterol, elevation of cortisol (stress hormone), changes in thyroid hormone and increased risk of uterine, cervical and breast cancers.
The BCP can lead to many vitamin and mineral deficiencies and therefore it is critical to supplement the following while taking any oral contraceptives to reduce potential
harmful effect: B-vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium.

Furthermore, not only does BCP and other drugs affect those who are prescribed them, but once the chemicals are flushed out of the body via the urine, they go into the water system and affect us all as we eat the fish and seafood and drink the contaminated water.

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Author: vickinutritionist

As a graduate with honours from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto, Vicki is a Registered Nutrition Consultant Practitioner, also holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Toronto. Before founding Health by Nutrition™, Vicki worked as manager and principal nutritionist at Canada's largest weight management and nutrition centre. During her tenure, she helped hundreds of clients lose weight and reach their health goals. Her experience and extensive training in weight management and holistic nutrition makes her an exceptional coach to become your partner in success. Vicki is a professional member in good standing with the Canadian Association of Natural Nutrition Practitioners.

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