How to Reduce Exposure to Phthalates and BPA
Phthalates (THAL-ates) and bisphenol A, also referred to as BPA, are chemicals added to some of the products that many of us use every day, such as certain types of plastic food containers; in some personal care products such as fragrance, nail polish, deodorant, hair care, and body lotion; and in some cash register receipts.
Phthalates and BPA are thought to be “endocrine-disrupting chemicals,” or substances that can interfere with the endocrine system and produce harmful effects in humans. Hormones are designed to regulate the way the body develops and functions. When the balance of hormones is upset by endocrine-disrupting chemicals, the body may not function the way it should.
The risk caused by endocrine-disrupting chemicals is thought to be greater on bodies that are still developing than they are on the bodies of fully grown adults. This is why making some of the changes below may be most important when a girl is still growing, especially before her breasts develop or she gets her first period. (It is also why women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may want to avoid these chemicals.)
It is too soon to say for sure that reducing exposure to phthalates and BPA may help lower a girl’s risk of developing breast cancer when she is an adult. Still, to help protect your daughter from developing breast cancer later in life, you may wish to take some of these steps now.
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