The European Chemicals agency estimates there are more than 144,000 man-made chemicals in existence. The US Department of Health estimates 2000 new chemicals are being released every year. According to the Endocrine Society, 1,000 or more of these chemicals could be endocrine disruptors. So let's dive in and see where we can avoid these chemicals when possible.

00:46 Music Intro
02:10 Number of Man Made Chemicals
04:28 What are Endocrine disruptors 
07:30 Where Are They Found?
09:47 Atrazine
10:25 PFAS
11:20 Phthalates
12:45 Phytoestrogens


  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are natural or human-made chemicals that may mimic, block, or interfere with the body’s hormones, which are part of the endocrine system. These chemicals are associated with a wide array of health issues. (NIH)


  • Endocrine glands, distributed throughout the body, produce the hormones that act as signaling molecules after release into the circulatory system.
  • The human body is dependent on hormones for a healthy endocrine system, which controls many biological processes like normal growth, fertility, and reproduction.
  • Hormones act in extremely small amounts, and minor disruptions in those levels may cause significant developmental and biological effects. (NIH)


  • Endocrine disruptors are found in many everyday products, including some cosmetics, food and beverage packaging, toys, carpet, and pesticides. Some chemicals that act as flame retardants may also be endocrine disruptors. Contact with these chemicals may occur through air, diet, skin, and water. 


  • Atrazine is one of the most commonly applied herbicides in the world, often used to control weeds in corn, sorghum, and sugarcane crops. 
  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of chemicals used widely in industrial applications, such as firefighting foam, nonstick pans, paper, and textile coatings. 
  • Phthalates are a large group of compounds used as liquid plasticizers. They are found in hundreds of products including some food packaging, cosmetics, fragrances, children’s toys, and medical device tubing. Cosmetics that may contain phthalates include nail polish, hair spray, aftershave lotion, cleanser, and shampoo. 
  • Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring substances with hormone-like activity found in some plants; they may have a similar effect to estrogen produced by the body. Soy foods, for example, contain phytoestrogens.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) are used to make flame retardants for products such as furniture foam and carpet. 

Health Risks: Researchers see connections between several other conditions and exposure to EDCs. Clear-cut evidence is lacking, but research continues. Researchers are looking at the effects of EDCs on: (WEBMD)

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Reproductive problems
  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer