Xenoestrogens: Where and What are They?

What are Xenoestrogens and Where are they?

Over the past two decades, scientific evidence has discovered that many man made products are high in chemicals which actually disrupt the way our endocrine (hormonal) system works. The most common of the endocrine disrupters is an oestrogen mimicker called xenoestrogens. 

Xenoestrogens are found in following chemical classes and their products

Chemical Class

Potential Source

Example chemical

PthalatesPlastic, nail polish and other cosmeticsDibutyl pthalate
AlkylphenolsDetergent, plastic, pesticide formulationsNonylphenol
Flame retardantsFurniture foam and stuffing, carpets and drapes, electronic equipment (TVs, computers)Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE 47)
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs)Stoves and heaters, cigarette smoke, outdoor air pollution, auto exhaust, combustion sources such as fireplacesBenzo(a)pyrene
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)Older electrical equipmentPCB 52
Banned PesticidesHistorical pesticide use in/near the homeDDT, dieldrin, chlordane
Currently used pesticidesRecent pesticide use in/near homeChlopurifos, permethrin
Other phenols and miscellaneousDisinfectants, polycarbonate plastics, cosmeticso-Phenyl phenol, bisphenol-A, parabens

Chemicals that contain xenoestrogens:


  • 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC) (sunscreen lotions)
  • Parabens (methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben commonly used as a preservative)
  • Benzophenone (sunscreen lotions)
  • Industrial products and Plastics:
  • Bisphenol A (monomer for polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin; antioxidant in plasticizers)
  • Phthalates (plasticizers)
  • DEHP (plasticizer for PVC)
  • Polybrominated biphenyl ethers (PBDEs) (flame retardants used in plastics, foams, building materials, electronics, furnishings (including, mattresses and coaches), motor vehicles).
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)


  • Erythrosine / FD&C Red No. 3
  • Phenosulfothiazine (a red dye)
  • Butylated hydroxyanisole / BHA (food preservative)

Building supplies

  • Pentachlorophenol (general biocide and wood preservative)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls / PCBs (in electrical oils, lubricants, adhesives, paints)


  • Atrazine (weed killer)
  • DDT (insecticide, banned)
  • Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (one of the breakdown products of DDT)
  • Dieldrin (insecticide)
  • Endosulfan (insecticide)
  • Heptachlor (insecticide)
  • Lindane / hexachlorocyclohexane (insecticide, used to treat lice and scabies)
  • Methoxychlor (insecticide)
  • Fenthion
  • Nonylphenol and derivatives (industrial surfactants; emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization; laboratory detergents; pesticides)


  • Propyl gallate
  • Chlorine and chlorine by-products
  • Ethinylestradiol (combined oral contraceptive pill)
  • Metalloestrogens (a class of inorganic xenoestrogens)
  • Alkylphenol (surfactant used in cleaning detergents