A List of Xenoestrogens

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A List of Xenoestrogens
Posted on October 20, 2007 by sowgenerously, edited by Endometriosis Journey for redundancy

If you are attempting to avoid xenoestrogen exposure, here is a list of substances to avoid. I compiled this from many sources and it’s the most complete list on the Internet. Xenoestrogen contributes to “excess estrogen” or “estrogen dominance”.

The short answer is to go as organic and “green” as you can.


* Commercially-raised, non-organic meats such as beef, chicken, and pork
* Commercial dairy products including milk, butter, cheese, and ice cream – Use only organic products that do not contain bovine growth hormone
* Unfiltered water, including water you bathe in – Use reverse-osmosis filtered water such as Dazani or get your own filter
* Laundry detergent – Use white vinegar, baking soda, or tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)… According to some experts, avoid even the Seventh Generation and Eco brands
* Dryer sheets and fabric softeners – Use white vinegar is a marvelous natural fabric softener, no smell after it dries
* Avoid Primpro, DES, Premarin, Cimetidine (Tagamet), Marijuana, and Birth Control Pills (BCPs are often prescribed FOR endo. Talk to your doctor).
* Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
* Progesterone creams or other lotions made with paraben preservatives
* Soy
* Ground flaxseed – If you’re looking for the Omega-3 effect, use fish oil instead
* No sunflower oil, no safflower oil, no cottonseed oil, no canola oil – Use olive oil or grapeseed oil
* Avoid Tea tree oil (melaleuca) – I know, I love tea tree oil, this one is tough
* No lavendar oil
* Avoid coffee and caffeine
* Sage and rosemary
* Shampoos, lotions, soaps, cosmetics that contain paraben or phenoxyethanol – Almost all contain them, you have to look far and wide. Be diligent, you’re getting hundreds of times more exposure through your skin than through your diet. So far, I’ve found Kiss My Face brands to be okay.
* Shampoos that purposely include estrogen (these are shampoos that cater to the African-American market)
* Avoid reheating foods in plastic or styrofoam containers
* Avoid drinking out of plastic cups and containers
* Air fresheners that contain pthalates

Avoid naturally occurring plant estrogens:

* Coffee
* Clover, red clover tea, alfalfa sprouts
* Sunflower seeds
* Queen Anne’s lace (wild carrot)
* Pomegranate – The Greeks used this plant as a contraceptive!
* Dates
* Fennel
* Licorice, red clover, yucca, hops (beer) and motherwort
* Bloodroot, ocotillo, mandrake, oregano, damiana, pennyroyal, verbena, nutmeg, tumeric, yucca, thyme, calamus rt., red clover, goldenseal, licorice, mistletoe, cumin, fennel, chamomile, cloves


* 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (sunscreen lotions)
* butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)
* atrazine (weedkiller)
* bisphenol A (monomer for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin; antioxidant in plasticizers) – also known as BPA
* dieldrin (insecticide)
* DDT (insecticide)
* endosulfan (insecticide)
* erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
* heptachlor (insecticide)
* lindane / hexachlorocyclohexane (insecticide)
* methoxychlor (insecticide)
* nonylphenol and derivatives (industrial surfactants; emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization; laboratory detergents; pesticides)
* polychlorinated biphenyls / PCBs (in electrical oils, lubricants, adhesives, paints)
* phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
* phthalates (plasticizers)
* DEHP (plasticizer for PVC)

Here is another list from Dr. Peter Eckhart, MD:

1. Do not heat food or water with plastic in the microwave. Do not drink hot liquids in foam styrofoam cups or receptacles.
2. Change your laundry detergent because it cannot be fully washed from the clothes and can be absorbed through the skin. Do NOT use dryer sheets or fabric softener.
3. Do not use anything on the skin with parabens or phenoxyethanol in them. This includes shampoo, soap, makeup, hand lotion, body lotion, and toothpaste. Oral substances are 90% filtered by the liver. Skin-absorbed substances are 100% absorbed by the body, thus, a skin dose is 10 times an oral dose.
4. Avoid coffee. Avoid decaf coffee. No caffeine. No tea. No colas. Caffeine increases estradiol levels by 70%!
5. No sunflower oil, no safflower oil, no cottonseed oil, no canola oil. (Guess that leaves olive oil).
6. Avoid shampoos that are “rich in hormones” and have estrogen added to them.
7. Avoid estrogenic herbs especially TOPICALLY such as sage and rosemary. (Good to know coming up on Thanksgiving!)
8. Avoid weak estrogens such as soy and ground flax seed.
9. Many sunscreens are estrogenic. Use a hat and long sleeved shirt.
10. Use cosmetics with minerals or grapefruit seed extract as a preservative.

According to Dr. Elizabeth Smith, MD, there are some things you CAN do:

* Use glass or ceramics whenever possible to store food and water. Heat up your food using a glass or ceramic bowl covered with dish. When plastic is heated, it diffuses very rapidly into food.
* Use a simple detergent with less chemicals; Nature Clean is a good choice for both laundry detergent and dish washing detergent.
* Simple Soap is a safe choice for shampoo and a body soap.
* Use natural pest control not pesticides.
* Avoid Synthetic Chemicals – Healthy Living in a Toxic World by Cynthia Fincher PhD. is a good place to start.
* Don’t use herbicides; use a cup of salt in a gallon of vinegar.
* Buy hormone free meats to eat.
* Buy “Organic” produce, produce grown without pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizer or hormones.
* Use Condoms without spermicide for Birth control instead of Birth Control Pills. Use Natural Progesterone instead of HRT.
* In general, the hormones taken orally are first pass metabolized by the liver 80%-90%. However, when these hormones are applied to the skin, the hormones are directly absorbed by the body. Thus, any skin dose is 10 times that of an oral dose. The vast majority of skin lotions and creams use the parabens as a preservative. Avoid them at all costs. Instead apply a vegetable oil right after a shower to hydrate the skin and lock in the moisture.

References: http://www.breastcancerfund.org, http://nobreastcyst.com/xeno.htmlhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenoestrogen

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18 thoughts on “A List of Xenoestrogens

    [...] of everyday items, including everything from food to cosmetics to household goods. In this List of Xenoestrogens, I was surprised that practically everything contains [...]

    How to Get Rid of Ovarian Cysts? said:
    November 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    [...] mimic estrogen in our body and causes the body to respond, as if it was the real thing. You can read the list of items that can have such effect and the general idea is to go as natural and organic as possible.Products [...]

    indiluv08 said:
    December 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    The list states to avoid sunflower seed oil however the endo diet says sunflower seed oil is a great source of omega 3…I’m confused is it harmful or not???

      Melissa said:
      December 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Hmm…I didn’t even notice that. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! I would say avoid it and go for another source of omega-3 that would be acceptable. I believe that sunflower seed oil is considered to contain estrogenic compounds.

        Bill Banche said:
        February 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm

        Thanks for this list. However, other sites quote some of these listed as bad, are actually on the helpful list. LIKE TURMERIC;
        A great way to detoxify (excess) estrogen from the body
        There are many great foods that help the body detoxify estrogen. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and cabbage contain several powerful nutrients that detoxify bad estrogenic molecules. These nutrients include indole-3 acetate, indole-3 carbonyl and diindolylmethane.
        These cruciferous veggies also contain sulfur containing nutrients such as, sulfuraphane and phenyl isothiocyanates – that enhance liver detoxification processes and destroy cancer cell formation.
        Anti-inflammatory foods that are rich in saturated and omega-3 fatty acids such as 100 percent organic, grass-fed beef and dairy, organic poultry, wild-caught salmon plus wild game are anti-estrogenic. Plant-based fats such as, avocados, coconut oil and olive oil are all powerful anti-estrogenic superfoods. Raw nuts and seeds such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, chia and hemp seeds are rich in anti-estrogenic plant sterols.

        Don’t forget to add some “anti-estrogenic” herbs to your diet
        Onions, garlic and scallions are rich in sulfur containing amino acids and the powerful antioxidant quercetin that helps the liver detoxify at a higher level and reduce the production of estrogen. Herbs such as, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage and turmeric are loaded with volatile oils that promote liver detoxification. Turmeric has a potent ability to destroy estrogen receptor positive cancer cells – which are the most commonly found cells in breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancer.
        end quote
        from http://www.naturalhealth365.com/natural_cures/estrogen_dominance.html#sthash.tx2bNADS.dpuf

        Melissa responded:
        February 13, 2014 at 6:55 pm

        I have found a lot of conflicting information online. I believe that women should eat good food and see what makes them feel good and what makes them feel bad. Work from there. It seems many women with endo feel bad after consuming meat and dairy.

    indiluv08 said:
    December 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Thank you Melissa!

      Melissa said:
      December 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

      You’re welcome! I did go back and mark as many of those as I could so that hopefully there’s less confusion.

    monroe444 said:
    January 22, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Hi Melissa,
    Have you heard anything about beans being estrogenic? I just read it somewhere. Apparently seeds and beans are like little ovaries, someone said.

      Melissa said:
      January 22, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Hi Monroe444, I haven’t heard about beans being estrogenic, but the thought about them being like little ovaries makes sense! Everything seems to be bad for those of us with endo…

    gmikihayden said:
    October 20, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    My doctor tells me to eat because I lost weight and became anemic. Yet everything seems awful for you. She praises spinach and beans and rice (which has arsenic in it) and soy. I’m scared of raw fruits and veggies because I had salmonella this summer and that’s what I’m recovering from. We’re in a kind of no-win zone. Do your best, ladies. I want to eat more alkaline. Avocado seems good, but it’s only one food.

    Jerry Sleiman said:
    May 24, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    One of your sources above says to avoid SAGE, ROSEMARY, LAVENDER OIL, TEA TREA OIL, CHAMOMILE and it also recommends the shampoo brand “Kiss My Face”. Well I was happy that Kiss My Face scored a 2 on the EWG Skin Deep database, but then I saw it contains variations on those supposedly estrogenic herbs, e.g.:

    Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract
    Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender)
    Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract


    I’m having trouble reconciling this. What do you make of it? Do we assume the levels in the shampoo are so small as to cause no effect, are these herbs in fact okay, or best to avoid them given the fact that anything applied to the skin will be majorly absorbed into our body (as opposed to food)?

      Melissa responded:
      May 24, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      The herbs and extracts in the Kiss My Face products may, like you said, be so little as to not be too problematic. Usually, ingredients are listed on labels by the amount used in the product. All I can really say is that these lists will help some women, not all. What one woman is sensitive to chemically or dietary may not bother another woman. I always recommend that a woman with Endo keep track of what she is sensitive to and eliminate it if it makes her feel better.

    Maggie Q said:
    June 1, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Hi. Thanks for a great site and a great list of xenoestrogens. This is so helpful. Only one concern – you listed trisodium phosphate as a detergent alternative. I looked that up and apparently it was used more frequently as a detergent until people realized that it causes environmental damage. By increasing the amount of phosphates and nitrates in the sewage system from chemicals such as fertilizers and this detergent, we end up with crazy inedible phtoplankton blooms and those huge jellyfish populations. It’s called eutrophication. Anyway, I learned another fascinating fact from reading your blog, Thanks again.

      Melissa responded:
      June 1, 2014 at 9:20 pm

      Hi Maggie, thanks for reading!

    Lindy Johnson said:
    August 14, 2014 at 11:17 am

    What about the plastics that hold the shampoos and all other cosmetics and such…they’re not being heated, but I had heard you even need to purchase your progesterone in a glass container because of this!

      Melissa responded:
      August 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Lindy, I think you’ll find it difficult to find a lot of beauty products in glass containers. You could purchase glass to store your beauty products in, or there are recipes online for making your own products such as shampoo (although I don’t know of too many people who have that kind of time, either!). I’m not sure how much chemicals (if any) that plastic containers leech if they’re stored in cool, dark places.

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