In canned goods and plastics, watch for: Bisphenol-A (BPA)
Monning27/Shutterstock Sometimes called an endocrine disruptor because it interferes with the function of healthy hormones, BPA can mimic the effects of estrogen, increasing your risk of prostate and breast cancer and obesity. It may set the stage for heart disease too. One study linked high blood levels of BPA with an increased risk of dangerous types of plaque that are likely to rupture and cause sudden and often fatal heart attacks. When researchers from a number of different institutions looked at the levels of BPA in the urine of nearly 1,600 Brits and followed their health outcomes for 10 years, they found that people who developed heart disease were more likely to have elevated levels of BPA in their urine.
Solution: Buy canned food and water bottles marked BPA-free. Don’t touch sales receipts printed on thermal paper.
In toiletries, watch for: Phthalates
benedix/Shutterstock Phthalates are another type of endocrine disruptor linked to lower sperm counts, birth defects, obesity, and diabetes. Phthalates can be used in the manufacture of soft, flexible plastics used to make things like toys and bottles, but they’re also found in many personal care products, including nail polish, hair sprays, aftershave lotions, soaps, shampoos, and perfumes. One study linked high blood levels of a certain type of phthalate metabolite to an increased risk of hardened, clogged arteries. Recently, high blood pressure in children has been linked to phthalate exposures. More than 50 medical papers link phthalates to cardiovascular issues.
Solution: Avoid scented lotions and other personal care items.