EDCs Myth vs. Fact
Heather Patisaul, PHD
Environmental Working Group
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Myth – There is a safe, permissible limit for toxic chemicals (below which they are harmless)
Fact – Not true, as some herbicides are able to mimic and replace estrogens in the body even in the very low parts per trillion concentration range. Some studies suggest that bisphenol A (BPA) in plastics and parabens in cosmetic products can have a greater hormone mimicking action as concentrations decrease.
Myth – You must swallow an EDC in order for it to enter your system
Fact – Your skin is a living organ and not a barrier to toxic substances. In many cases, the dermal (skin) route for chemical absorption is faster and more harmful because absorbed chemicals can enter circulation without being metabolized.
Myth – If it’s offered in my grocery story or advertised on TV, I can be sure it’s safe
Fact – Many chemicals enter the market without any safety testing at all. Product testing is rarely able to simulate chronic, low exposure over a long period, which is typically how humans are exposed. Their potential for harm may not be realized, sometimes for decades.
Myth – I have been using cleaning supplies, face washes, and laundry detergents with chemical compounds for years with no adverse effects.
Fact – It is true that many products are not harmful when used properly and sparingly. It is impossible to know, however, that a product is truly “safe.” Choosing products without known EDCs is a proactive way of safeguarding your health and the health of your family.
Myth – All plastic bottles are the same
Fact – At the bottom of your plastic bottle, you’ll find a triangular shape with arrows with a number inside. Those numbers represent the type of plastic used in making the bottle. Plastics with recycling labels #1, #2 & #4 may be safer choices as they do not contain BPA. However, BPA is not the only endocrine disruptor in plastic so just because something is “BPA-free” does not mean that it is EDC-free. When possible, avoid disposable plastics.
Myth- If a product is natural, it doesn't contain EDCs
Fact – Some EDCs are naturally occuring. Phytoestrogens are compounds synthesized by plants that have the ability to mimic estrogen. Some metals like arsenic are naturally produced by the Earth's crust and lead into the natural water supply.
Edited: August 2018