Common Household Products Leading to Diabetes?

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New reports from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have found that phthalates, a chemical present in beauty products like nail polish, hair spray, skin lotions, and perfumes and household products, including raincoats, shower curtains, and food packaging might have some newly discovered side effects, including possibly contributing to chemical causes of diabetes.

In one recent study of people at age 70, significantly higher levels of phthalates were found in the people with diabetes than in those without diabetes. Earlier research found that phthalate levels are typically higher in women than men, perhaps because women generally use more personal care and beauty products. Phthalates in beauty products can generally be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. They may be a chemical cause linked to adult-onset diabetes by binding to fat cells and increasing obesity, which is a major risk factor. They may also increase resistance to insulin in the body, especially in women.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid phthalates in beauty products because companies that use them make claims that they are trade secrets and do not have to list them on their labels. Europe has already begun to ban many types of phthalates. Subsequently, more research is needed before a definite link can be made between phthalates and diabetes risk. Researchers are also still looking at the possible effects of phthalates on childhood obesity and comparing phthalate exposure in cosmetics to other exposures.


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