Since many of us use common cleaning products on a daily basis, it can be easy to overlook their potential negative effects. While most cleaning and disinfecting products are safe at low levels of exposure, those known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which are in some products, can harm fertility in men and women. These include widely used compounds such as Bisphenol A, phthalates, and parabens, which clinical research has shown to affect sperm production and decrease overall sperm health.
To help you mitigate the potential risks of EDCs, we suggest taking the following actions.
Buy organic produce. Choosing organic fruits and vegetables can help you avoid consuming trace amounts of phthalates found in pesticides. To help you shop smarter, the Environmental Working Group produces an annual “Dirty Dozen” list of produce that contains the highest levels of pesticide residue. Whether you buy organic or not, it’s a good idea to thoroughly rinse any produce before eating to wash away residual chemicals.
Avoid reheating in plastic containers. Takeaway or delivered food often comes in soft plastic containers that contain EDCs. To keep these chemicals from leaching into food, use glass or china dishes when reheating food in the microwave instead of the plastic containers. Also avoid soft plastic water bottles that contain EDCs especially if they have been exposed to sunlight or extreme heat.
Buy safer cleaning products. Replace cleaning products with EDCs with those made from natural ingredients. You can also create cleaning products at home using vinegar, water, baking soda, lemon, and essential oils, which are effective as disinfectants and can help you save money and reduce packaging waste. Recipes for DIY cleaners can be easily found online.
Check your cookware. Cooking with nonstick pots and pans made with Teflon can release EDCs into your food, particularly if the surface is scratched or flaking. To avoid ingesting these flakes, use cast iron or stainless-steel cookware instead.
Drink filtered water. Using a household water treatment system is a good way to avoid consuming agricultural, industrial, and pharmaceutical residue often found in tap water. There are many affordable and effective filtration systems, including a glass container with a filter that you fill manually or charcoal or reverse osmosis systems that fit under your sink.
It can be difficult to avoid all products made with EDCs but knowing what to look for can help you make healthier when preparing food or cleaning your kitchen. If you have questions about fertility health, contact our experts at [email protected] or (858)732-8500.