Chemicals in Personal Care Products May Raise Diabetes Risk

Posted on Aug. 14, 2012, 6 a.m. in Women’s HealthHYPERLINK “/list/news/diabetes/”DiabetesHYPERLINK “/list/news/environment/”Environment Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products such as body moisturizers, nail polishes, soaps, hair sprays and perfumes. They are also used in adhesives, electronics, toys and a variety of other products. Tamarra James-Todd, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Massachusetts, USA), and colleagues analyzed urinary concentrations of phthalates in 2,350 women enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Women with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to have diabetes; specifically, women who had the highest levels of the chemicals mono-benzyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate had almost twice the risk of diabetes compared to women with the lowest levels of those chemicals. Secondly, the team observed that women with higher than median levels of the chemical mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate had approximately a 60% increased risk of diabetes. And thirdly, women with moderately high levels of the chemicals mono-n-butyl phthalate and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate had approximately a 70% increased risk of diabetes. Writing that: “Urinary levels of several phthalates were associated with prevalent diabetes,” the study authors urge for: “Future prospective studies are needed to further explore these associations to determine whether phthalate exposure can alter glucose metabolism, and increase the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.”

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