A study in the July 13, 2012 online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives suggests using personal care products loaded with toxic chemicals known as phthalates increase risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in women.
The study lead by Tamarra James-Todd, PhD of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and colleagues shows increased concentrations of phthalates in the body were associated with an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
Phthalates, endocrine disrupting chemicals, are commonly used in personal care products such as moisturizers, nail polishes, soaps, hair sprays, shampoo and perfumes. This ground of chemicals are also used in adhesives, electronics, toys, some pacifiers, plastic food packages, medical equipment, and building materials such as vinyl flooring.
Researchers analyzed urinary concentrations of phthalates in 2,350 women who enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and found those with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to suffer type 2 diabetes.
Specifically, the researchers found
Women who had the highest levels of mono-benzyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate were almost twice as likely as those with the lowest levels to be diagnosed with diabetes.
Women with higher than median levels of mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate were about 60 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Women with moderately high levels of mono-n-butyl phthalate and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate were about 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes.
“This is an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes,” said Dr. James-Todd. “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.”
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