You eat pretty healthy, you’ve ditched BPA bottles, and you’re not using Drano to unclog the sink. But unknowingly, you may still be exposing yourself to serious levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). A growing pile of research shows that EDCs can hijack hormonal systems in your brain and thyroid, putting you at risk of asthma, diabetes, weight gain, and cancer. The latest report, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, links exposure to EDCs called phthalates – found in grooming products, processed foods, and many plastics – to a 13 percent lower testosterone level in men ages 40 to 60.
“We’re swimming in a soup of nearly 90,000 chemicals, most of which have not been tested for endocrine disruption or safety,” says Heather Patisaul, a biology professor at North Carolina State University who studies EDCs. “It is not something to panic over,” Patisaul says, “but simple lifestyle changes can cut exposure and reduce risks.” Use these strategies.