Chemicals could be partly responsible for diabetes surge

Wed, 21 Mar 2012
A report has claimed that chemicals present in everyday things such as plastics in food containers, paint, pesticides, diesel and mattresses could be partially to blame for the dramatic rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes in recent years.

A review study by experts at the University of North Carolina and Kyungpook National University in South Korea has found that certain chemicals are getting into the food chain and building up in our bodies, encouraging the storage of fat and reducing the speed at which fat is burned.

The report also argued that these common chemicals were putting unborn babies at greater risk because they disrupt hormones, and that governments need to act to replace them with safer alternatives.

Report co-author Miquel Porta, commented "The epidemics in obesity and diabetes are extremely worrying. The role of hormone disrupting chemicals in this must be addressed. The number of such chemicals that contaminate humans is considerable."

However, the research has been criticised by some as being inconclusive and offering no direct proof that the chemicals actually result in obesity or type 2 diabetes. Iain Frame from the national charity Diabetes UK, pointed out "it is important to emphasise that any possible effect of chemicals on obesity and diabetes is a difficult subject to research and as a result our understanding of it is very limited. Put simply, we do not know whether there is a link between certain chemicals and obesity and diabetes."
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