Hormone Disrupters

Bisphenol A (BPA)

  • Found in water bottles, baby bottles, plastic wraps, food and beverage can liners, plastic food storage containers, DVDs and CDs, Dental sealants, Impact-resistant plastics, cash register receipts, and more...
  • US Government's National Toxicology Program has concluded that there is some concern at current exposure levels
  • Brain and behavioral effects on fetuses and young children
  • Political issues perpetuate ongoing debate and cloud health concerns of BPA in adults


  • Products containing Phthalates
  • Type 3 plastics
  • Some but not all PVC formulations
  • Adhesives and glues, agricultural adjuvants, building material, detergents and surfactants, modelling clay, waxes, paint pigments, printing inks and coatings.
  • Soft plastic fishing lures, caulk, sex toys (jelly rubber).
  • Another hormone disrupter (especially testosterone) with similar health risks as BPA.
  • Animal studies show reduced sperm counts and reproductive abnormalities
  • Evidence of a link to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver cancer in humans
  • Manufacturing and incineration of phthalates release dioxin
  • known carcinogen and hormone disrupter
  • Congress passed legislation in 2008 to ban six phthalates from cosmetics and toys because of research that indicates developmental and reproductive damage


  • Found in sunscreens, lip balm, moisturizers, cosmetics
  • Linked to hormone disruption and low-birthweight babies
  • About 97% of Americans have the compound in their urine
  • Current exposure levels have been deemed safe


  • Synthetic preservatives found in moisturizers, and hair care and shaving products
  • Causes hormone disruptions and cancer in animals
  • FDA has deemed current levels in cosmetics safety
  • Paraben-free products are available

Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

  • Component of Teflon nonstick coatings found in nonstick pots and pans
  • Also found in a water- and oil-repellent chemical long used to make protective coatings for carpets, upholstery, and clothes
  • Has been found to cause hormone disruption and reproductive abnormalities in animal and human studies
  • Also linked to thyroid diseases (NHANES, 1999-2006 study)
  • Avoid heating Teflon cookware to high temperatures, particularly when empty
  • Avoid contact with water- and oil-repellent chemicals containing PFOA
  • EPA is urging makers to stop using PFOA by 2015


  • Exposure
    • Derived from perchloric acid, both naturally and artificially
    • Used to treat thyroid disorders since 1950s
    • Used in pyrotechnics industry and as a component of solid rocket fuel
    • May be found in drinking water, soil, some vegetables
    • Fireworks are also a source of perchlorate in lakes
    • May be found in cow's milk from cows feeding on crops exposed to water containing perchlorates
    • Environmental groups are urging government to lower perchlorate levels in drinking water
  • Effects
    • Perchlorate can interfere with iodine uptake into the thyroid gland disrupting production of thyroid hormone
    • Not stored or metabolized in the body
    • Effects of perchlorate on the thyroid gland are fully reversible once exposure stops

Decabromodiphenyl Ether (DECA)

  • A flame retardant found in electronics, furniture, carpets, and house dust
  • Health hazards include permanent learning and memory deficits; hearing defects; decreased sperm count in animals
  • Animal toxicity studies show Deca-BDE causes neurodevelopmental effects and reductions in thyroid hormone levels
  • Industry began phasing out the DECA in December 2009 following EPA advice

Tributyltin (TBT)

  • Main active ingredient in certain biocides used to control a broad spectrum of organisms
  • Used in wood preservation, antifouling pesticide in marine paints, antifungal action in textiles and industrial water systems (eg: cooling tower and refrigeration water systems), wood pulp and paper mill systems, and breweries.
  • TBT leaches from marine paints into the aquatic environment causing irreversible damage to aquatic life.
  • Tributyltin triggers genes that cause the growth of fat cells, so it has been linked to obesity in humans (ScienceDaily.com 2008).
  • Considered a severe marine pollutant and has been banned by the International Maritime Organisation

Triclosan & Triclocarban

  • Found in products like Colgate Total, Ajax and Dawn dish detergent, and over 76% of antibacterial washes
  • Antibiotic (reduce or prevent bacteria contamination) that also acts as an endocrine-disrupting pesticide.
  • Found in urine of 75% of population
  • Traces of it have been found in earthworms from agricultural fields and Atlantic dolphins
  • Animal studies show these compounds can attach itself to receptor sites and block thyroid function
  • Japan and Canada had banned the use of Triclosan in consumer products
  • The EU has classified it as a dangerous irritant.

Environmental Estrogens

  • Organochlorine chemicals
    • vinyl chlorides, dioxins, PCBs, perchloroethylene
    • half of endocrine disrupters are in this class
  • Non-organochlorine chemicals
    • phthalates, phenols (plasticizers), aromatic hydrocarbons, some surfactants
  • Medications
    • hormone replacement, oral contraceptives, tamoxifen, cimetidene
  • Agricultural hormones
    • animal products consumed by humans


Azra Kovacevic A, O’Dell C (15 Jan 2008), Decabromodiphenyl Ether (Deca-BDE): A Report to the Minnesota Legislature

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Jan 20), Environmental Health Perspectives (Online Report).

Park A (1 April 2010), Top 10 Common Household Toxins, Time Magazine.

Rudel R, Perovich L (Jan 2008). Endocrine disrupting chemicals in indoor and outdoor air, Atmospheric Environment, 43 (1): 170-81.

Staff (2008). "Persistent Pollutant May Promote Obesity". ScienceDaily.com.

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