"The Fantastical World of Hormones," available on YouTube, is a 2014 documentary narrated by John Wass, head of Oxford University's department of endocrinology. It takes viewers on a fascinating tour of the body's homegrown chemicals that, he explains, power your passions, turn children into adults and govern your appetites.
But if hormones are thrown out of whack by contact with hormone-disrupting chemicals - such as BPA and its replacement BPF, phthalates in soft polyvinyl chloride plastics and cosmetics, the antibacterial triclosan, the pesticides chlorpyrifos and glyphosate (Roundup weed killer) and a chemical called polyfluoroalkyl (PFA) - they can't do their jobs. That causes trouble, and not just for you, but for a growing fetus and child too.
Recent research, published in Environment International, tested pregnant women's blood levels of hormone disruptors and then tracked the IQ of their offspring seven years later. Women with higher levels of those nasty chemicals, especially BPF, had kids with measurably lower IQs. Boys were affected more than girls.
What does that mean for women looking to get pregnant or who are already pregnant?
No plastic water bottles. No canned foods. No handling cash register receipts. No microwaving in plastic. Fresh, organic, unpackaged fruits and veggies when possible. No triclosan, which the Food and Drug Administration says shows up in some antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes and cosmetics, as well as clothing, kitchenware, furniture and toys. Limit exposure to PFAs; check out www.madesafe.org for a list of PFA-free cosmetics, cleaning products and packaging. Read labels, ask questions and wash your hands if you touch receipts.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.