Xenoestrogens: 12 Ways to Avoid Them and 24 Ways to Spot Them

Xenoestrogens: 12 Ways to Avoid Them and 24 Ways to Spot Them

cleaning suppliesI recently published an article about how certain chemicals found in foods, skincare, personal care, and household cleaning products are classified as xenoestrogens.

Xenoestrogens are man-made chemical compounds that mimic the effect of estrogen in the human body. As I mentioned in my first article which you can read in its entirety HERE) on this topic, these estrogenic effects can interfere with our body’s normal hormonal activities and produce adverse health effects on women, men, and children. These symptoms and health risks are quite alarming, and I remember my initial thoughts being thoughts of anger and concern, and I remember asking myself  Well what the heck can I do about this?

In this installment of the xenoestrogen series, I’m going to give you some tips on what the heck you can do about it how you can reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens in your everyday life. I’ll also share some of the chemical names of xenoestrogens to avoid on your product labels.

12 ways to minimize your personal exposure to xenoestrogens:

  1. Choose chlorine-free products and unbleached paper products including napkins, coffee filters, tea bags, sanitary products, diapers, baby wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels.
  2. alvito-filter-1506181_1920Use filtered water to drink and bathe in to avoid chlorine absorption through the skin.
  3. Whenever possible, choose organic foods to avoid pesticides, herbicides, synthetic hormones, and fungicides.
  4. Reduce the use of plastics whenever possible.
  5. Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to serve and store food. This includes water bottles and microwaveables (if you still use a microwave).
  6. Use all-natural, biodegradable laundry, and household cleaning products whenever possible.
  7. Use all-natural, paraben, glycol, and sulfate-free skincare and personal care products like toothpaste, shampoo, moisturizer, deodorant, etc.
  8. Minimize your exposure to nail polish and nail polish removers if you do use them, choose a safer product line like Zoya or SpaRitual.
  9. Avoid synthetic fragrances. Use only products containing naturally based plant extracts and essential oils.
  10. Minimize the use of X-rays whenever possible their use is often excessive in many settings. Ask your healthcare or dental professional if they are truly necessary or seek a more holistically-minded professional.
  11. Be aware of noxious gases such as from copiers and printers, carpets, fiberboards, and at the gas pump make sure indoor areas are well ventilated and don’t deliberately breathe in fumes from gas, glue, or permanent markers (I know we’ve all done it before time to stop!)
  12. Maintain a strong immune system by exercising regularly, managing stress properly, and eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.

24 xenoestrogen-producing chemicals to avoid on labels:

  1. Alkylphenol
  2. Atrazine (weedkiller)
  3. 4-Methyl benzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (sunscreen lotions)
  4. Butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)
  5. Bisphenol A (BPA-monomer for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin; antioxidant in plasticizers)
  6. Chlorine and chlorine by-products
  7. Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (one of the breakdown products of DDT)
  8. Dieldrin (insecticide)
  9. DDT (insecticide)
  10. Endosulfan (insecticide)
  11. Erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
  12. Ethinylestradiol (combined oral contraceptive pill)
  13. Heptachlor (insecticide)
  14. Lindane / hexachlorocyclohexane (insecticide)
  15. Metalloestrogens (a class of inorganic xenoestrogens)
  16. Methoxychlor (insecticide)
  17. Nonylphenol and derivatives (industrial surfactants; emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization; laboratory detergents; pesticides)
  18. Pentachlorophenol (general biocide and wood preservative)
  19. Polychlorinated biphenyls / PCBs (in electrical oils, lubricants, adhesives, paints)
  20. Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben commonly used as preservatives in personal care products)
  21. Phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
  22. Phthalates (plasticizers)
  23. DEHP (plasticizer for PVC)
  24. Propyl gallate

These lists aren’t meant to overwhelm you.

I know it can seem like a lot of information. I always recommend that people go at a pace that’s comfortable for them. When you run out of one product, replace it with a safer and healthier option. Other changes are small tweaks that happen in your kitchen or require you to ask some questions in your community. This is YOUR health and your family’s health it’s always worth the extra effort!

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17 thoughts on “Xenoestrogens: 12 Ways to Avoid Them and 24 Ways to Spot Them”

    1. You are most welcome Victoria! I’m glad you found it valuable! Thanks for taking the time to comment. –Rachael

  1. I’m surprised you’re recommending products scented with essential oils – I’ve been researching xenoestrogens and keep finding info that lavender and tea tree oil are amongst the worst offenders! Scares me cuz I actually was proud of myself for using an eco-friendly biodegradable fabric softener, but scented with lavender!

    1. Hi Tanya, this article refers to xenoestrogens–man-made compounds that the body does not recognize and cannot utilize or store. Any estrogenic activity from essential oils would be a natural phytoestrogenic activity similar to what happens when you eat foods that are estrogen precursors. While negative effects can occur from extreme overuse of essential oils like lavender and tea tree, light to moderate use in something like a natural laundry product (as long as it’s an essential oil, not a fragrance oil) or skincare product would post FAR less risk than any xenoestrogenic compound.

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  4. Rachael, thank you. This article was very informative. My wife and I are just now trying to make lifestyle changes. Xenoestrogens have wreaked havoc in our lives with respect to quality of life. I have a family history of breast and prostate cancer. My prostate is very enlarged and my misery index is at its highest. My urologist wants to perform surgery. Seems like it’s either a matter of throwing meds at you or going under the knife. Then I began to read about estrogen mimickers, estradiol levels, conversion of testosterone to DHT and how all of these relate to BPH and prostate cancer. I have tried PH Pure’s topical progesterone cream but read yesterday that a man shouldn’t use progesterone cream until all xenoestrogens have been eliminated (food, water, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc.). This only has me more confused. It does seem my prostate condition has worsened since I began using the topical progesterone. Now, my plan is to follow the guidelines above to eliminate all xenoestrogens. My wife is onboard with this. We are trying to go all-organic. It is difficult to shop for healthy products but I think it will save many thousands in healthcare cost in the years ahead and will improve our lives at we approach our 60’s in the not too distant future. Our nation’s food and water supplies are contaminated with hundreds of endocrine disruptors and the general public barely knows about this. Thanks to people like you, Rachael, hopefully more will be enlightened!

    1. Michael, thank you so much for reading and for taking the time to share your experience. You’re right it can be difficult to shop for healthy products at first, and make the lifestyle changes mentioned, but just like anything else, practice makes perfect and you and your wife are WORTH IT! All the best. ~ Rachael

  5. I’m trying to find a list of foods that contain xenoestrogens…..and a list of ones that don’t. Is there such a thing? I heard that asparagus is high in exnoestrogens, is this true?

    1. Hi Dorothea, thanks for reading! Whole foods don’t contain xenoestrogens unless they are from pesticide/fertilizer residues in conventionally produced foods. Xenoestrogens are man-made. Certain foods do contain phytoestrogens which are precursors to estrogen–and while if you have too much of those it can be problematic, they are generally not as problematic as xenoestrogens. There are also foods that contain precursors to progesterone, as well as other hormones. This site has a good overview and list of phytoestrogen containing foods. Hope that helps! –Rachael

  6. Hi Rachael,
    I am struggling with finding a make up range which is Xeno oestrogen & phytoestrogen free, nearly every foundation, blusher, lipstick etc has Aloe, lavender, mint, tea tree and so on, particularly the organic ‘green’ versions of these products. There are some make up items available in the USA but most of them do not ship to the UK and/or very costly postage!
    We do not seem to be very aware of phyto/xeno estrogen free products in the UK which is making it very challenging!
    Any thoughts

    1. You won’t likely find ones that are phytoestrogen-free–but keep in mind, the body knows how to handle phytoestrogens from whole plant ingredients, whereas it does NOT know what to do with xenoestrogens. My recommendation is to avoid those as much as possible, and just do the best with natural ingredients.

      1. Hi,
        Thanks Rachael that really helps. I think this is the only way forward despite being told that Phytoestrogens also mimic our natural estrogens which then compete for the receptors and disrupt the natural hormone pathways. I guess herbs will always be preferable to parabens!

        1. Hi Karin, thanks again for commenting. You are absolutely correct that herbs are always preferable to parabens. Plants are always preferable to synthetic chemicals in our skincare AND in our foods. And the idea that phytoestrogens mimic our natural estrogens which then compete for the receptors and disrupt the natural hormone pathways is true to the capacity that if you eat or use too much of a concentrated, isolated phytonutrient, like in an extract or supplement, outside of the whole plant–then yes, you might have an issue. Or if you consume too much of one type of phytoestrogen, which we’ve seen happen due to the overuse of unfermented soy and soy-derived food additives in the American food supply. Everyone’s hormone pathways are different, and they change on a regular basis. I know this because I practice functional nutrition, and I’ve seen vastly different test results on steroid hormone test panels over the course of just a few month’s time. Avoiding phytoestrogens basically then means avoiding fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains in the diet–because ALL plants contain phytochemical that affect the body. HOW it affects the body is different for every person, but the point is that when you consume a variety of whole foods both internally and topically, you do not run the risk of competition for receptors, because the nutrients are balanced and the body knows what to do with them. This is something we discussed rather extensively in the Herbal Skincare Summit. If you haven’t checked that out, I highly recommend you do so. The entire package is still available for purchase HERE. I hope that helps.

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