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Phthalates can contribute to type-2 diabetes

Apr 12th, 2012
Staff Writer

Is your plastic bottle giving you diabetes?Phthalates, chemicals found in many types of plastic products, can contribute to the risk of developing type-2 diabetes, researchers reported Thursday.

While genetics, diet and body weight are major factors in developing diabetes, avoiding exposure to phthalates may be another action in preventing or reversing the disease. Researchers from Uppsula University in Sweden analyzed data from more than 1,000 elderly men and women. Not surprisingly, they found diabetes was more common in people who were overweight and had higher levels of fats in their blood. But diabetes was also more prevalent among those who had higher levels of phthalates in their blood. Those with the highest levels of phthalates had twice the risk of developing the disease regardless of their other risk factors.

The study showed certain types of phthalates were associated with diabetes risk.

"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," said Monica Lind, an associate professor of environmental medicine at the section for occupational and environmental medicine at Uppsala University.

More research is needed to understand the connection between phthalates and diabetes, Lind said. The chemicals are also found in cosmetics, self-care products, solid air fresheners and scented candles. The study appears in the journal Diabetes Care.