Generations: Protecting yourself, your children, and their children

Protecting Yourself Protects Future Generations

Did you know that parents’ exposure to certain chemicals before conception and during fetal development can impact the risk of diseases throughout their own, their children and even their grandchildren’s lives? Learn about how and see below for things you can do. 

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) affect the ability of our glands and organs to coordinate body functions through hormones like estrogen. The endocrine system controls many things, including metabolism, reproduction, growth, and mood. EDCs can enter the body through ingestion (swallowing), skin (absorbing), and lungs (breathing). When the endocrine system is disrupted by chemicals, it can increase the risk of many diseases throughout the lifespan, such as childhood leukemia, obesity, and breast cancer.

Learn about how chemicals affect multiple generations

How can drink and food containers be harmful?Poster about using glass or stainless steel water bottles, not plastic.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can get into what we drink and eat from their containers. This is especially common with plastic water bottles, which can leach even more chemicals when they sit in a hot car before being consumed or when they are used more than once. Learn more about harmful chemicals in plastics.

You might have seen plastics or cans labeled “BPA-free,” claiming they are safe. Unfortunately, BPA alternatives like BPS have also been found to be harmful. Learn more about why BPA-free doesn’t mean plastic is safe.

Canned foods can also contain EDCs because of the lining that separates the metal from the food. Learn more about chemicals in cans that get into foods.

Other forms of food packaging, especially fast food, can also contain EDCs. Learn more about chemicals in food containers.

How can we reduce our exposure?

  • Choose reusable/refillable stainless steel or glass bottles. Avoid aluminum bottles since they are often coated with chemicals. One simple way to distinguish between aluminum and stainless steel bottles is to use a magnet. The magnet won't attach to aluminum bottles. Using glass and stainless steel bottles saves you money in the long run compared to buying plastic water bottles repeatedly. 
  • Avoid single use plastic bottles. If you must use one, avoid heating or reusing it.
  • If safe, drink tap water instead of bottled water; filter if desired or necessary. Learn if filtering is necessary and what kind of filter to buy in EWG's Tap Water Database. Even though bottled water is regulated, it is not required to be safer than tap water. If you boil your water, do so in a stainless steel pot, not a nonstick pot.
  • Choose glass beverage containers over plastic or aluminum.
  • Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables over canned.
  • Cook at home instead of eating out.
  • Use Silent Spring Institute's DetoxMe app or website for more tips and resources. 

Learn more about this campaign and the study that inspired it. 




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