Why are Endocrine Disruptors harmful, and how can we avoid them?

Think of the endocrine system as your body’s personal hormone factory. It’s got to make the essential hormones your body needs to survive, and it pumps out things like sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen), insulin and adrenaline. 

You can imagine your body’s factory is pretty nifty at doing its thing. It’s a well-oiled machine, with a slick conveyor belt, throwing out buckets of testosterone during puberty, insulin for a down buzz, and adrenaline when the stakes are high. 

But like any interesting blockbuster, there’s a villain who wants to destroy the good work of the factory…

(insert dramatic music)...

Enter endocrine disruptors.

And what do they do best? Disrupt.

How do endocrine disruptors damage our bodies?

These nasty villains damage our endocrine system in three main ways.

  • Mimicking
  • Disruptors are sneaky little devils who like to mimic natural hormones. They pretend to be the real thing e.g. adrenaline, then they bind to the same receptor. Your body responds by thinking ‘Hey! I’ve got adrenaline now’, not realising it’s been duped by an imposter. It responds as if it has the real hormone itself, leading to a disruption of normal physiological responses.

  • Blockage
  • Imagine your natural hormones being produced in a factory, bopping along a conveyor belt to be distributed to where your body needs them. Now, imagine a giant wall at the end of the conveyor belt aka endocrine disruptors. They can block natural hormones from binding with a receptor, getting where they need to go, and carrying out a range of natural health functions. 

  • Alteration
  • Endocrine disruptors can cause chaos by stimulating an overproduction of hormones or inhibiting natural hormones to create an underproduction of hormones. That’s how conditions like an under active or overactive thyroid can happen.

    Where do endocrine disruptors come from?

    Endocrine disruptors come from both man-made and natural chemicals. These guys are hiding all over the show: 

    • Cosmetic and skincare products
    • Household products
    • Food
    • Toys
    • Cosmetics
    • Pesticides
    • Detergents
    • Flame retardants
    • Plastic bottles
    • Liners of metal food cans

    And that’s just the start. 

    So far it’s sounding pretty dire, especially as experts have found that even small changes to our hormones can have negative health effects

    How can we avoid endocrine disruptors?

    At last, there’s some good news! There are things we can do to avoid these pesky villains. 


    We need to get savvy about where they’re found. 

    Anything flame retardant? Do further digging. Anything non-stick or stain-resistant? More information needed. Buying a plastic toy? Investigate. 

    Avoid anything with BPA on the label. If your plastic has #1, #2 or #4 on the packaging, it means it’s BPA-free

  • Plastic packaging, tin cans and plastic water bottles are all capable of leaching into our food, so it’s best to give them the flick wherever possible. If you can, opt for organic produce, filtered water and minimise consumption of processed foods. 

    Store food in glass containers to stop EDCs leaching from the plastic into your food. Similarly, avoid heating food in plastic containers or leaving plastic water bottles in the sun, as leaching can occur. 

  • At this point, fragrances are infamous for containing endocrine disruptors and wreaking havoc on our health. So unless they’re non-toxic, they’re an easy no. 

    For other products, you’ll have to commit to reading labels and researching thoroughly if you really want to avoid them, but these ingredients are no-gos:

      • Parabens
        • Found in: sunscreens, cosmetics, hair products and body creams
      • Triclosan
        • Found in: toothpastes, soaps and handwashes
      • PFAs -  ingredients with ‘fluoro’ at the start
        • Found in: foundations and moisturisers

    What’s MOTHER SPF got to do with this?

    Not to be dramatic, but we’re one of the heroes in this story, swooping in to save the day against the toxic villains wreaking havoc on our health.

    We’re on a mission to educate the world about the importance of clean, nourishing and non-toxic ingredients. We’re not about nasties lurking in our closet, or hiding on our ingredient list. And, we’re committed to making products that are actually beneficial to our health.

    With the right ingredients, products and education, step by step, choice by choice, we can choose the healthiest life possible. 

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