Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health studied the effects of phthalates on women’s health. They found that these chemicals in plastics increase the risk of developing diabetes by up to 63%. The results are presented in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
Phthalates are phthalic acid esters, endocrine disrupting substances (EDCs) that are common in industry. They are used to make plastics and rubber flexible and elastic, and are often used in cosmetics, food packaging and children’s toys. Previous studies have already shown that these compounds are linked to decreased fertility.
The authors analyzed data from 1,308 women who were followed for six years. About five percent of the participants were diagnosed with diabetes during that time. Caucasian women exposed to high levels of phthalates (mono-isobutyl phthalate, monobenzyl phthalate, monocarboxyoctyl phthalate, monocarboxyisononyl phthalate and mono (3-carboxypropyl)) were 30-63 percent more likely to develop diabetes than the control group. However, such statistics were not applicable to black or Asian subjects.