Chemicals called phthalates in plastics, cosmetics and toys are the latest reasons why one may have higher chances of developing diabetes, a study reveals. A study in Sweden has found that people with ‘modest’ levels of the chemicals in their blood are twice as likely to develop diabetes. Phthalates are used as a softening agent in plastics but they can be used in cosmetics such as self-tan and perfumes.
The researchers analysed data from 1,000 people aged over 70, of which 114 developed diabetes. After taking into account factors known to cause type 2 diabetes, including obesity and high cholesterol, they found people with higher levels of phthalates were more likely to develop diabetes, the journal Diabetes Care reported.
Monica Lind, associate professor of environmental medicine at the Uppsala University, Sweden, said: “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,” according to a university statement.
“We have done other studies into the effects of phthalates and discovered people exposed to them have a higher risk of obesity. On a study we did last year, we found pesticides and those kinds of substances gave people a higher risk of obesity and osteoporosis,” Lind added.
“Those pollutants containing phthalates are making people obese and now we find they could get diabetes. These products need to be tested,” Lind said.
“Anyone is exposed to them in many different ways. People can inhale them if they are used in hairspray or air fresheners and food can also be contaminated because of phthalates in the packaging,” concluded Lind.