by: Michelle, T.G. Co-op Student
Did you know that your hormones could get completely out of whack, just from being around things in your own home? Well, they can. Things like your vinyl blinds (that are hanging virtually in every room in your house), your plastic microwave dishes and even your grass - all contain chemicals that could be destroying your hormones. Being a teenager, I think you'll agree that our hormones are out of whack enough as it is! Blah, blah...horomes. Big deal, right? A little hormone disruption can't be that bad - otherwise we'd all have heard about it (so I thought too). But the truth is, these chemicals are really terrible! They can change your behaviour, lower your immune system and enlarge your thyroid glands! Crazy, but unfortunately true. And it's not just humans that are being affected.
Wildlife is also suffering. Florida panthers have almost no testosterone; male alligators have small, dysfunctional sex organs; and bald eagles are born deformed and infertile. So all you environmentalists, animal and human rights activists (somewhat like myself), it's time to take some action! Start off by getting rid of those PCV blinds, buy detergent that doesn't contain NEP's, throw out your plastic wrap and microwave your food in glass containers - not those plastic dishes! When you go to the dentist, ask for porcelain or gold fillings (personally, I'd go for porcelain). Tell your dentist that you do not want the typical mercury amalgam, because the vapours are not good for you. Start buying environmentally friendly products, call for info on product ingredients - and tell companies that you won't buy their product if it contains these chemicals.
For even more information, you can visit the World Wildlife Fund website and their special hormone-disrupting chemicals webpage, (it's very cool, with tons of info). If you don't feel like surfing their website, you can e-mail them instead! Here is all the contact information you'll need:
World Wildlife Fund Website: www.wwfcanada.org
World Wildlife Fund E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHEMICALS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
NEP's (Nonylphenol ethoxylates): found in household cleaning and personal care products (detergent, soaps, shampoo etc.)
POP's (Persistent Organic Pollutants. These chemicals include PCB's, pentachlorophenol, and DDT and chlordane): they are chlorinated chemicals, that linger in the environment and accumulate to higher and higher concentrations on the food chain (those at the top of the food chain - the ones with the most fat - have the highest concentration of these chemicals).
Phthlates and Bisphenol A ("plasticizers"): found in plastics (they make them flexible and durable). They are in PCV blinds, paints, inks and adhesives.
Pesticides (applied to crops, used in forestry, and lawn maintenance): found in food, water, on grass (especially golf courses)!
Heavy Metals (lead, mercury and cadmium): lead is found in glazes, lead crystal, food cans, lead batteries and as a stabilizer for PCV blinds. Mercury is used in the production of chlorine, fluorescent lights, pesticides, thermometers, polyurethane and dental fillings. Cadmium is released from phosphate fertilizer production, rechargeable batteries. It is often discharged into sewers and contaminates sludge.