Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis recently identified 15 chemicals that can be classified as endocrine disruptors, linked with early-onset menopause in women. While we worry that endocrine disruptors cause early puberty in young girls, it's possible that they could have long-lasting, serious implications for women of all ages.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals mimic hormones in the body, namely, estrogen. According to Dr. Natalie Azar, NBC News contributor, because estrogen protects our bones and our hearts, long-term effects of endocrine disruption could include osteoporosis or cardiovascular diseases.
“Go to both the EPA website and the FDA website,” says Azar. “You’ll get a full list of the trade names of where these chemicals are, and you can be very mindful users.”
The Today show also spoke to cleaning expert Linda Cobb about shopping for safe cleaning supplies. Cobb avoids products with mentions of chlorine or optical brighteners, as well as labels that show fragrance (or what Cobb calls, a “chemical cocktail”).
Previously, RealSimple.com spoke to Drs. Julianna Deardorff and Louise Greenspan, who co-authored The New Puberty: How to Navigate Early Development in Today’s Girls. Deardorff noted that lavender-scented personal care products may be harmful to a daughter’s development. Because a child’s skin is a very active organ of absorption, endocrine-disrupting chemicals—both personal care and cleaning—can be risky for young girls.
“Try to get an idea of what is in your environment,” Azar says. “That’s really the only way you can protect yourself.”