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Natural Awakenings

The Phthalates–Diabetes Connection: These Toxins Could Double Your Risk

What we place on our skin might increase the risk for diabetes, based on findings by researchers at Uppsala University, in Sweden. They noted a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of seniors developing diabetes; even a modest increase in circulating blood levels of such chemicals doubled their risk.

Monica Lind, associate professor of environmental medicine at the Section for Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Dr. Lars Lind, professor of medicine, analyzed new information from a study that involved more than 1,000 70-year-old men and women in Uppsala. The participants submitted blood samples for analysis of various environmental toxins, including several substances formed when the body breaks down phthalates. Even after adjusting for obesity, blood lipids, smoking and exercise habits, the researchers saw a definite connection between blood levels of some of the phthalates and an increased prevalence of diabetes. The Linds also found that certain phthalates were associated with disrupted insulin production in the pancreas.

Most people come into daily contact with phthalates. These chemicals are commonly used as softening agents in plastics and as carriers of fragrances in cosmetics, personal care products, air fresheners and scented candles.

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