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</P> Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that mimic or interfere with estrogen in our bodies. They form a subset of a broader group of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors.

Xenoestrogens: Endocrine disruptors

Xenoestrogens are synthetic chemicals that mimic or interfere with estrogen in our bodies. They form a subset of a broader group of chemicals known as endocrine disruptors.

Exposure to xenoestrogens, which are found in pesticides, PCBs, plastics, and other industrial chemicals, has been linked to breast and ovarian cancers in women and to decreased testosterone levels, prostate cancer, and lowered sperm count in men. These damaging effects have been found in fish, reptiles, birds, rodents, and humans.

These chemicals are found in soil, lakes, and rivers as pesticide run-off from agricultural usage. They are present in polycarbonate plastic food wraps and containers and are also found in herbicides and pesticides on fruits and vegetables. Because hormones such as estrogen act in the body at very low levels (parts per trillion), exposure to even small amounts of environmental endocrine disruptors concern scientists. Although the plastic and chemical industries refute the links between their products and the effects of endocrine disruption, the government environmental agencies in Canada and the US have begun to screen potentially xenoestrogenic chemicals and to undertake more research into the impact these chemicals have on animals and humans.

Say no to smoking

The Canadian Women's Health Network reports that smoking-related diseases are now the number one killer of women in Canada. It's estimated that more than 13,000 Canadian women a year will die of tobacco-related causes. That means not only lung cancer but heart disease and respiratory and circulatory system diseases, as well. Lung cancer&90 percent of which is attributable to smoking&kills more women each year than breast cancer.

Adult female smokers triple their risk of dying from heart disease and women who smoke while using birth control pills face a higher risk of stroke.

The rate of teenaged girls who smoke is now higher than that for boys. A 2003 BC Cancer Agency study showed that adolescent girls who began smoking within five years of their first menstrual periods were 70 percent more likely to develop breast cancer later in life than their non-smoking peers.

Not enough to make you quit? Health Canada reports, "Middle-aged women who smoke are likely to be as wrinkled as non-smokers who are 15 to 20 years older."

In 2000, more than a quarter of a million Canadian women quit smoking. Ask your health food store for a natural supplement to help you stop smoking.

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