Chemicals found in beauty products and many other household goods have once again been linked to an increased risk of diabetes.
Research published in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives identified a connection between higher risk of diabetes in women and high concentrations of phthalates in the body, adding to a previous study which earlier this year found a connection between elevated phthalate levels in the body and type 2 diabetes among elderly patients.
Phthalates are hormone disrupting compounds that are used in the production of personal care goods such as perfumes, nail polishes and hair sprays, as well as toys, plastics and various other products.
For the latest study, a team of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston examined 2,350 women and their urinary concentrations of phthalates.
The results showed that participants who had high levels of the chemicals mono-benzyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate in their urine were twice as likely to develop diabetes as those with the lowest levels of the same compounds.
They also revealed that women with moderately high levels of the chemicals di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate and mono-n-butyl phthalate had a 70 per cent increased risk, while those with higher than average levels of mono- (3-carboxypropyl) phthalate had a 60 per cent higher chance of becoming diabetic .
Lead researcher Tamara James-Todd, PhD, a researcher in the Division of Women’s Health at BWH, said: “This is an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes.”
But she warned that further research is needed to prove their findings, as phthalates also exist in certain types of medical devices and medication used in the treatment of diabetes, which could also explain the higher level of phthalates in diabetic women .

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