Have you ever been taken aback by the lingering scent of a perfume when you entered an empty elevator? Or grimaced at the smell of industrial emissions from a factory? Along with being unpleasant, these odors share another unwelcome characteristic: they’re toxic. Many food and other everyday products in your home also contain toxins, and they disrupt hormones and contribute to a whole host of maladies.
According to the Endocrine Society, a nonprofit organization of physicians and scientists, our environment contains about 1,000 chemicals that are endocrine disruptors, altering the way our hormones function. Harmful effects can include weight gain, a reduced ability to handle stress, harmful behavioral changes, higher odds of diabetes, thyroid malfunction, a weakened immune system, and higher risk of cancer.
While this can seem overwhelming, effective action boils down to recognizing and avoiding the top sources of indoor toxins. It’s a realistic approach that can make a big difference to your health.
1 Beware of “Fragrance”
It may sound benign, but “fragrance” contains phthalates, chemicals that are known endocrine disruptors. It’s found in so many products—from skin creams and lotions to household cleaning products, air fresheners, and scented candles—that simply avoiding this one ingredient can make a big difference in the quantity of toxins you ingest through your skin and lungs.
To the FDA, ingredients in fragrance are trade secrets that don’t need to be disclosed. And it can be tricky to recognize because even “unscented” products can contain fragrance to mask unpleasant odors without imparting a recognizable scent.
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