• Over 1,300 females were followed over 6 years by researchers.
  • Phthalates have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes among women.
  • Phthalates are a common chemical found in many consumer products.

Being exposed to phthalates, a group of chemicals linked to plastics, may be linked to the development of diabetes in women, new research has identified.

A team of academics have found that females are more at risk of developing the condition when they are exposed to phthalates, plastics containing endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs).

More than 1,300 females from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation were examined over a 6 year period.

Researchers found that white women had a 30% to 63% higher risk of developing diabetes.

Phthalate exposure and a higher risk of diabetes were not detected in Black or Asian women.

What are phthalates?

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more durable.

They can be found in food and drinks packaging, beauty products and toys.

Link to ethnicity

Sung Kyun Park, lead author of the study said: “Our research found phthalates may contribute to a higher incidence of diabetes in women, especially white women, over a six-year period.

“People are exposed to phthalates daily increasing their risk of several metabolic diseases. It’s important that we address endocrine-disrupting chemicals now as they are harmful to human health.”

Around 5% of the participants went on to develop diabetes, all of whom had been exposed to phthalates.

Park added: “Our research is a step in the right direction towards better understanding phthalates’ effect on metabolic diseases, but further investigation is needed.”

The type of diabetes was not specified.

Read the full study in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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