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Cosmetics and Household Products May Increase Diabetes Risk

Jul 23rd, 2012

Diabetes riskPhthalates, a chemical found in beauty products like nail polish, soap, hairspray and perfume is found to increase women’s diabetes risk.

Researchers studied data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that tested urine samples from 2,350 women aged 20 to 80  from different states.

The study led by Tamarra James-Todd, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Division of Women’s Health showed that women with higher levels of phthalates were more likely to develop diabetes than those with low concentrations.

Researchers say that Phthalates are hazardous to the endocrine system, may cause cancer, infertility, deformities in babies and now diabetes.  But the problem is, they’re everywhere – in beauty products, detergents, shampoo, fragrances, plastic curtains, raincoats, toys, lubricants, food wrap and plastic bottle. It plays such a big part in our everyday life that it would be very difficult to stay away from products with phthalates.

According to the study, women participants with high levels of mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate were sixty percent at risk for type 2 diabetes while those with high levels of mono-n-butyl phthalate and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate had about a 70 percent increased risk of diabetes. The study was published in July 13 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

“This is an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes,” Todd said, “We know that in addition to being present in personal care products, phthalates also exist in certain types of medical devices and medication that is used to treat diabetes and this could also explain the higher level of phthalates in diabetic women. So overall, more research is needed.”

“What we really need to do now is to start exploring phthalate levels over time,” Todd said “to determine whether high levels actually lead to a greater risk of becoming obese and developing diabetes down the line.”

Phthalates are also found in IV bags, medical tubes and medicines. This may be the reason why people who  regularly need medical care have a higher risk for  diabetes.

The study was able to establish a link between Phthalates and diabetes but it was not able to prove that repeated exposure to phthalates can cause diabetes.

Though more research is required, this study warns us that phthalate poses a threat to our health. The problem is as of now, there is little we can do to avoid it and its ill-effects.


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