Zero Xeno is my personal 28 year journey of suffering and success. It has taken me multiple places filled with many highs and lows. The path that life has led me along has afforded me the privilege to experience what was necessary to compel me to search for answers. Answers for myself and those that suffer in silence as I once did.
It has been through my struggles that I found solutions. Like a newborn chick I had to wrestle out of my shell to find the answers that have led to my story of success. So, what is my story you might ask? In my early 20's it began with ovarian cysts, heavy monthly bleeding and other hormone related diseases that impacted my life. After undergoing extensive tests, visiting multiple specialized doctors, being diagnosed with PCOS and surgery (for an ovarian cyst the size of a large goose egg) I was no closer to finding solutions than when I began.
I remember reading and learning as much as I could get my hands on about hormones and hormone related issues. In the early 90's my husband was attending university so I had access to scientific literature (pre-internet days). I read a book called 'Our Stolen Future' that contained big words like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) which the authors described as endocrine disrupting chemicals (my first introduction to xenoestrogens). To the best of my ability, I applied to my life the knowledge and understanding that I gained from these sources of information. My new found understanding allowed me to experience relief from my hormone related issues to the point that I was able to reverse my infertility. I enjoyed years of health, vitality and energy but then the hormone issues returned, slowly at first and then with a vengeance.
I now suffered from fibrocystic breast disease, goiter, hypothyroidism, ganglion cysts, uterine fibroids (endometriosis), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, unexplained weight gain, acne, allergies and more. I did not have answers and my problems were growing at an alarming rate. I was a young mother who was homeschooling 4 boys and had so much life to live, yet I could not seem to overcome these debilitating conditions. Then I had blood tests come back with high biomarkers that pointed toward cancer. How could this be happening to me? I ate organic food, baked my own bread, cooked from scratch and was a huge advocate for healthy, natural living and yet my body was telling me another story.
I cried out deep within my soul and begged for answers. I craved to live the vibrant life I once had known. I desired to see my children grow up. I wanted to grow old with my husband. Was I really asking for too much? I remember a phone call I received one day from a neighbor who was suffering from many of the same hormone related issues I was. As I heard her words, I listened but at the same time could not really believe what I was hearing. Preservatives (parabens) that can cause breast cancer in my deodorant and lotions. Plastic softeners (phthalates) that cause hormone dysfunction in my hair conditioner. Antibacterial ingredients (Triclosan) that contain chemicals which disrupted my hormone levels were even in the household cleaners I used. The list kept growing and growing. My first thought of course was that it couldn't be true. Didn't governments regulate things like this? I felt like I was entering a zone that was more like a science fiction movie than true reality. It seemed too crazy to believe!
After the initial shock wore off I decided to look into this unbelievable tale. I dug deep into scholarly articles, reading peer reviewed study after study from multiple bodies of science (thank you internet). They all had the same common theme, from biologists to endocrinologists. Our world was under attack by a myriad of endocrine disrupting chemicals that mimicked estrogen and were the potential cause of some many hormone related diseases including breast cancer. I came face to face with the reality that the scientific community had known for years. Xenoestrogens were changing our world in ways that were not only impacting people's quality of life, but also the type of life many were literally being born into at a chromosomal level.
Children born not as XX (female) or XY (male) but rather XXY or XXYY and multiple other variations. New terminology was being coined to deal with the ever increasing number of hormone related problems in human infants - testicular dysgenesis, disorders of sexual development (DSD), intersexed and the list goes on. The impact of washing my hair and keeping my home clean was affecting not only my hormones but also the hormone levels of fish in the lake in my own back yard (Okanagan Lake). I did some research and discovered that other bodies of water all over the world were being affected as well. Fish, frogs and amphibians were no longer male or female but were intersexed, meaning that both sperm and eggs were in the same fish. Scientists were pointing the finger at hormone disruptors contained in shampoo and laundry soap as the likely culprit. Even the World Health Organization was concerned (they have recently published 3 extensive articles asking the governments of the world to deal with endocrine disrupting chemicals).
What did all this mean? It meant I needed to find skin care products and household cleaners free of these nasty hormone disruptors. The search was now on to find organic personal care products that didn't adversely affect my hormonal health. I thought it should be fairly easy. After all, many companies were going green and eco-friendly. The reality was sad and disheartening to say the least. Once I educated myself with the names xenoestrogens were hidden under, I discovered that many of the 'natural' and 'organic' brands were actually no better than their commercial counterparts. They claimed on the front of the label to be free of nasty chemicals, but the ingredient deck on the back stated otherwise. This was my first introduction to the world of 'Green Washing'.
Not being one to quit, I decided the next logical step was to learn the chemistry required to make my own personal care products and household cleaners. Through trial, error and years of hard work I developed a line of safe, clean shampoos, lotions and soaps for myself, my family and even my home. I formulated my products using food grade ingredients from my own home kitchen to ensure that they were free of xenoestrogens.
My family and friends became intrigued with the tale I told of how their daily personal care routine was negatively affecting their bodies and the environment. Soon people were asking me to make products for their loved ones so I decided to take my products and my tale to the community I cherish so dearly. I chose to set up shop at Kelowna's local Farmers' Market and spoke to anyone who would stop and listen. The support I received was overwhelming and inspiring at the same time. Today I have my products manufactured at my own factory located in Kelowna, BC and I continue to research, educate and develop new products to help create a xenoestrogen-free world. I invite everyone to explore my website and Facebook Page to learn the truth that peer reviewed science is now uncovering and make your own decisions on how to help our world and future generations.