Human Hormones

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Human Hormones
  • Hormones and endocrine disruptors are a vast group of chemicals and biological compounds that control a variety of everyday functions in your body.

What are Human Hormones?

Human hormones control a variety of everyday functions in your body. These include the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Synthetic versions of these hormones are used in certain pharmaceuticals.

Here’s a snapshot of some groups of particular concern that can be found in our tap water:

Estrogens: Estrogens are hormones primarily known for their role in the female reproductive system. There are natural estrogens like estriol, estrone, and 17-β-estradiol, as well as synthetic ones, which are used in medications like birth control pills.

Androgens: This group includes hormones like testosterone, known for their role in developing male characteristics. They are present in both males and females, albeit in different concentrations.

Progesterone: Another hormone related to the female reproductive system, progesterone plays a role in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

Corticosteroids: These steroid hormones, including cortisol, are involved in various metabolic processes and the immune response. They are also associated with how the body responds to stress.

Thyroid Hormones: Produced by the thyroid gland, these hormones regulate metabolism, growth, and development.

Insulin: This hormone, produced by the pancreas, is critical in regulating blood glucose levels.

Even though many of these hormones are naturally occurring in the body, consuming them through drinking water can upset your body's delicate hormonal balance.

Contamination Facts







Understanding how hormones end up in drinking water is important for consumers to make informed choices about water consumption and filtration. Let's look at the various sources and processes that contribute to the presence of hormones and endocrine disruptors in our water supply.

Human Waste: Hormones that are naturally excreted by the human body or from medications can end up in wastewater and, eventually, our water supply.

Pharmaceutical Waste: When medications, including hormonal medications, are improperly disposed of by flushing them down the toilet or sink, they can enter the water supply.

Agricultural Runoff: Livestock are often given hormonal treatments to enhance growth. These hormones can be excreted and end up in manure, and when it rains, residue from the manure can be washed into nearby rivers and lakes, which may eventually be drinking water sources.

Industrial Waste: Some industrial processes can produce waste that contains hormones or hormone-like substances. If this waste is not properly treated, it can contaminate surface water.

Leaching from Landfills: Hormones from discarded medications and other sources can leach out of landfills and into groundwater.

Personal Care Products: Some personal care products like cosmetics, lotions, and soaps contain hormones or endocrine-disrupting compounds. These can enter water systems through the drains.

Once in the water system, these hormones pose a significant challenge to wastewater treatment plants. Designed to eliminate larger, more tangible contaminants, many treatment facilities struggle to handle minute hormone particles.

Health Effects of Human Hormones

While the presence of hormones in drinking water is alarming, understanding the potential health implications is crucial. Let's look at some of the adverse health effects associated with exposure to these substances in our water.

Endocrine Disruption: Drinking hormone-contaminated water can interfere with your body's endocrine system. This system is responsible for regulating hormones, and when it's disrupted, it can lead to various health issues, including reproductive problems, developmental issues, and immune system impairment.

Reproductive Issues: Androgens and Estrogenic compounds from oral contraceptives have been linked to decreased sperm counts in men and hormonal imbalances in women that affect the menstrual cycle and ovulation, which can contribute to infertility. Exposure may also potentially influence the development or exacerbation of endometriosis by mimicking or interfering with the body's natural estrogen.

Cancer Risk: Exposure to certain hormones, especially synthetic estrogens, may be linked to an increased risk of hormone-sensitive cancers, like breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

Developmental Problems: Exposure to hormones during critical periods of development, like pregnancy, can potentially affect the normal development of fetuses and young children. This can include abnormalities in physical development and cognitive function.

Altered Metabolism: Hormones like thyroid hormones and corticosteroids are essential for the regulation of metabolism. Exposure to these hormones or endocrine-disrupting compounds can affect metabolic processes, potentially even leading to conditions like obesity or thyroid disorders.

As we navigate the hidden hormone crisis lurking in our water supplies, awareness and understanding remain our most potent tools. It's not just about the ethynylestradiol from birth control pills or the Bisphenol A (BPA) leached from plastic bottles; it's a larger issue. From the sewage treatment plants to our kitchen faucets, we need to recognize the impact of these invisible invaders. The water quality we enjoy today, governed by standards set by organizations like the US EPA, is not guaranteed to be sufficient tomorrow.

But it's not just about what's taken out of the water; it's also about what's left in. While advanced filtration technology aims to remove harmful substances, it's crucial that it does not strip water of its beneficial dissolved solids like calcium and potassium, which are essential to our health. This is a delicate balance that Clearly Filtered technology manages to strike, ensuring the water we drink is not only clean but also healthy.

To learn more about effective filtration methods and to find the right water filter for you, read our article on what kinds of technologies are best at removing human hormones from your drinking water.

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