New evidence of diabetes risk from everyday chemicals

Fri, 13 Apr 2012
A new study has added to the concern over the effect of chemicals present in plastics, cosmetics and toys that could increase the risk of people developing type 2 diabetes.

Scientists in Sweden, whose work was reported in the journal Diabetes Care, examined data from 1,000 people over the age of 70, showing that people with even modest amounts of chemicals called phthalates in their bloodstream from everything from perfumes and self-tans to clingfilm were at double the risk of developing diabetes.

The chemical can be inhaled from air fresheners or hairspray, are in some foodstuffs because of packaging and can be absorbed into the body through the skin from products such as make-up and face creams. They are also an ingredient of some perfumes as they help to delay the scent and make them last longer.

Monica Lind, from Uppsala University, commented "Although our results need to be confirmed in more studies, they do support the hypothesis that certain environmental chemicals can contribute to the development of diabetes." She also pointed out "Those pollutants containing phthalates are making people obese and now we find they could get diabetes."

However, Iain Frame, director of research at the charity Diabetes UK, also commented "This study was based on a relatively small number of white adults over 70 years old. It shows an association between some metabolites, which are breakdown products, and the presence of type 2 diabetes, but does not show that their presence causes type 2 diabetes.
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