Jessica Timmons

By Jessica Timmons

mbg Contributor

Jessica Timmons is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Healthline, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and more.

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Image by Studio Firma / Stocksy

May 26, 2023

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There are a lot of benefits to our modern world, but endocrine-disrupting chemicals1 (EDCs) aren’t one of them. Unfortunately, these chemicals are everywhere, and there’s no question that they’re bad news for fertility2, hormone function3, and overall health4. But there is an upside. Cleansing your home environment of these chemicals is easier than you think, and simple swaps can go a long way in minimizing your exposure to EDCs.

We spoke with Carly Hartwig, a fertility awareness educator and holistic reproductive health practitioner, about all the ways to clean up your life in the name of fertility and hormone health:


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Learn the ingredients worth avoiding

From scented linen fresheners to detergents to hand soaps, you’ll want to know about the products that may contain ingredients to steer well clear of. “Swap out products that list ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ since at least 85%5 of undisclosed fragrance blends contain phthalates,” advises Hartwig. “These are known endocrine disrupters that are especially problematic for sperm health6.”

Parabens are another ingredient to avoid. “You’ll often see a prefix, as in ‘methylparaben’ or ‘propylparaben,'” says Hartwig. Be cautious around bisphenols (including BPA) as well, another well-known group of EDCs.


Revise your approach to cleaning

Conventional cleaning products can contain a potentially toxic mix7 of carcinogens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and undisclosed fragrances, so Hartwig advises swapping them out for low-tox options. You can find plenty of greener alternatives on shelves or mix up your own DIY cleaners using simple, safe ingredients like baking soda and vinegar.


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Hartwig recommends opening your windows and doors each day. Unless you live in a highly polluted area, chances are your indoor air is more polluted8 than your outdoor air due to indoor combustion sources, like the gas stove you cook on every night or your favorite scented candle.


Invest in detoxifying appliances and supplements


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Say peace out to plastic in the kitchen

That tidy stack of plastic food storage containers in the fridge has got to go! “Swap out your plastic food storage containers for glass, or at the very least commit to never microwaving your food in plastic containers,” says Hartwig. “Heat expedites the leaching process for phthalates, bisphenols, and microplastics,” she adds. Here are some doable ways to reduce your plastic exposure at home.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you start thinking through all the ways EDCs are present in your home. But “know that every little swap helps,” says Hartwig. “Start with a product you’re about to run out of, ideally something you don’t have emotional attachment to, like a cleaning product. Once it’s empty, find a safer option.”

She says she’s done her own low-tox journey one product at a time, and it’s definitely manageable. “Studies have found that we can majorly reduce the concentration of EDCs in our urine in just three days9 of using safer products,” she adds. This means that the following swaps are bound to add up fast:

  • Swap chemical sunscreen for mineral versions: Look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients, like the ones on this beauty editor-approved list.
  • Swap out your conventional candles for soy or beeswax options: Replace paraffin- and petroleum-derived wax candles with soy or beeswax options that are scented with naturally derived essential oils, like these.
  • Swap your conventional pads/tampons for organic or reusable ones: “Menstrual supplies aren’t regulated by the FDA, and conventional brands use chlorine and bleach,” notes Hartwig. An eco-friendlier idea? “Go with a reusable, sustainable option like period underwear, menstrual cups, or menstrual discs.”


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The takeaway

Our world is full of chemicals that can harm hormonal and reproductive health in high amounts, but there are plenty of ways to reduce your exposure at home. Making simple swaps, being choosy about scented products, and investing in a high-quality supplement can all go a long way.