JULY 16, 2014

Xenoestrogens: Eliminating endocrine-disrupting chemicals key to resolving mystery illnesses

Bookmark and Share

KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – In her early 20s, Zero Xeno founder Bonnie Penner began to suffer from ovarian cysts, heavy bleeding, and a variety of other disorders. She visited countless specialists.

"I was diagnosed with fibrocystic breast disease, a goiter, ganglion cysts, uterine fibroids, fibromyalgia, infertility, and chronic fatigue and finally told that my elevated biomarkers suggested that I might have cancer," Penner said.

"I ate organic food, baked my own bread, cooked from scratch and was a huge advocate for healthy, natural living, yet I was sick and getting sicker, and no one seemed able to help me."

From a neighbor with some similar health issues, Penner learned that many of her lotions, shampoos, conditioners, perfumes, and household cleaners contained xenoestrogens, chemicals that mimic estrogen and disrupt the endocrine system's natural functions.

From perfumes that contain phthalates, to soaps that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, to hand sanitizers that contain triclosan, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are found in many common bath, beauty and cleaning products.

"The more I eliminated products with xenoestrogens from my life, the more my symptoms subsided and the better I began to feel," said Penner, who has become a passionate advocate for living a Zero Xeno existence and has created a natural line of lotions, beauty products, and household cleaners free of xenoestrogens.

"There is a gap between what the scientific literature says and what laypeople are hearing about the possible risks of exposure to xenoestrogens," Penner said. "Because there are many endocrine-disrupting chemicals, I developed the acronym BS FACTS, for the Seven Deadly Estro-Sins, which helps consumers cut through the BS and learn the FACTS about xenoestrogens."

The BS stands for Bubbles and Scents. Penner advises consumers to be wary of products with excessive bubbles, as they may contain sodium lauryl sulfate, and those with scents that last longer than 15 minutes.

"If a scent lasts more than a quarter of an hour, the product likely contains phthalates that can disrupt the endocrine system," Penner said. Instead, Penner insists, consumers should look for products scented with natural 100 percent pure essential oils and made with olive oil based castile soaps that lather less.

The F signifies Fire Retardants. Fire retardants, such as those used to treat the fabrics made into children's sleep wear may contain Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), an endocrine disruptor and a chemical related to BPA. Penner advises parents select sleep wear made of natural fibers, as TBBPA will only adhere to synthetic fibers.

The A in the acronym stands for Antibacterial products. Environment Canada has cautioned the Canadian public about over use of antibacterial products containing triclosan. Environment Canada is requesting that further studies be conducted on triclosan due to its "high inherent toxicity to a variety of aquatic organisms … Triclosan may also interfere with the action of thyroid hormones in amphibians at environmentally relevant concentrations."

The C in the acronym stands for Cans. "An endocrine disruptor called Bisphenol A (BPA) is found in nearly all canned foods," Penner said. "So I advise consumers to buy food in glass containers or tetra packs, not tins nor cans."

The T in the acronym signifies three and seven, the numbers found within the tiny triangles stamped on many recyclable plastic bottles. "The sevens contain Bisphenol A, and the threes are polyvinyl chlorides that contain harmful endocrine disruptors like phthalates," Penner said.

The final S stands for Sun Protection Factor (SPF). "Most sunscreens contain a litany of estrogenic ingredients like oxybenzone and benzophenone," Penner said. "A non-nano-sized, zinc-oxide based sunscreen offers strong, all-natural sun protection, as it is made of particles too large to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream."

Additionally, natural oils like raspberry, and carrot tissue oils contain natural SPF protection and can be an excellent alternative to traditional sunscreen lotions.

"Using the acronym BS FACTS, consumers can make smarter choices and eliminate many products likely to contain xenoestrogens," Penner said.

Bonnie Penner is a passionate entrepreneur and public speaker whose mission is to educate people about the health risks posed by xenoestrogens and the benefits of a natural, xenoestrogen-free lifestyle. She is the founder of Kelowna, British Columbia-based Zero Xeno: www.zeroxeno.com.