Learn how I detoxed my life from Fragrances and Chemicals and enhanced my Fertility
On average women use 9 personal care products everyday with up to 126 different chemicals in them according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Many of the chemicals are hormone disrupting chemicals that can alter our hormone balance and impact our fertility and chances of getting pregnant. Imagine my surprise when I was doing IVF and before our embryo transfer being told ‘Don’t wear any fragrances or personal care products that contain any fragrance whatsoever’. I literally had no idea that these products could affect the process and potentially create deformities in our little embryo. I was convinced because I paid good money for these products they must be safe. According to EWG, the average newborn baby has almost 300 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood, so imagine how many you have been exposed to in your life.
When I started my own beauty detox over 4 years ago I was surprised to see many ‘natural’ products contain either Phthalates, BPAs, Dioxins and Parabens. Most of us have very little knowledge which chemicals in our products are safe and which are toxic or carcinogenic. Can we trust what’s written on the labels? Most of us see ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ and believe these products are safe to use. Because of trade secret laws, many companies can disguise listing what’s actually in their products. When you see the word F-word ‘Fragrance’ or ‘Parfum’ it can actually include up to 3000 ingredients many of which are major endocrine disruptors.
What exactly is an endocrine disruptor? According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system (endocrine system is made up of all the body’s different hormones and regulates all biological processes in the body from conception through adulthood and into old age). We gotta take care of our hormones - not just reproductive hormones - but all of them because they control pretty much every aspect in our body.
So let’s have a look at the biggest culprits and which have the most devastating affects on our fertility.
BPAs or Plastics
Although BPA is the worst of the plastics there is now substantial evidence that all plastics are not great for your health. Researchers have determined that women who have been exposed to higher rates of BPAs are at a high risk of producing fewer embryos during IVF. According to a Harvard University study, exposure to bisphenol A, or BPA, may disrupt the human reproductive process and play a role in about 20 percent of unexplained infertility. BPA has been found in products ranging from baby bottles, toys, food storage containers, dishes, food and drink containers (including canned food), paper receipts and more. To protect your health you need to eliminate as much plastic from your house, but most importantly from contact with the foods you eat and beverages you drink. The easiest thing to do is to stop drinking water from plastic bottles (I was such a big culprit of this) and only buy food in glass containers, keep all your food at home stored in glass or metal. The American Pediatric Society came out publicly this year with a report stating chemicals found in food colorings, preservatives, and packaging materials may harm children’s health - read the study it’s so eye opening and a big deal when an influential organisation like the APS makes such a statement. This means you need to throw away all your old tupperware, and never put another plastic item in the dishwasher or microwave again. I have been on an active mission to phase out all the plastic in our house and replace with glass containers or metal containers. It’s expensive replacing items but little by little you can do it and I still have a few plastic containers and I’m just careful to only put dry ingredients in those containers. Anything hot or wet goes into a glass or metal container.
Phthalates are present in many household products. They are used to make plastics more soft, flexible, and strong. Typically, the more flexible a plastic, the higher the amount of phthalates in the product. But believe it or not they are widely used in the cosmetic industry “fragrance” or “parfum” that makes most products smell good. They are in many cleaning supplies, fabric softener, food containers, make up and nail polish. Phthalates can affect your estrogen production. This will in turn affect the quality of eggs you produce, how an egg is fertilized, and even the lining of your uterus for an embryo to attach to. They have also been linked to increased rates of endometriosis because they create inflammation in the body as our bodies need to work harder to detox it out of our system. Research also suggests women are also more prone to miscarry when exposed to high levels of phthalates.
I highly recommend reading Alexx Stuart’s book ‘Low-Tox Life’ which is such a great resource on how to make a start on reducing your toxic load. You don’t need to feel guilty and start purging your entire household but putting your head in the sand isn’t the answer either. It’s all about making better choices once you have more education an awareness. I highly recommend downloading Think Dirty app or referring to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety database so you can check the quality of your products. I now use Essential oils as my pure-fume and I use them for their anti-bacterial/anti-microbial properties for cleaning my house all without the toxins that I mentioned above.
Download my Top Ten ways to clean up the toxins in your life.