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Diabetes could be linked to a common household chemical
More than twice as many Americans have type 2 diabetes than 30 years ago, and new research suggests that our sedentary lifestyle habits and overconsumption of calories may not be the only reasons. Certain chemicals called phthalates -- ubiquitous in soft plastic packaging, fragrances, and cosmetics -- could be contributing to a rise in diabetes rates, according to a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
The study, published Friday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives examined data from a government study of 2,350 women ages 20 to 80 and found that those with the highest levels of certain types of phthalates in their urine had up to twice the likelihood of having diabetes compared with those with the lowest.
These chemicals are also found in medical tubing, IV bags, and certain medications, so it could be that those with diabetes are more likely to have higher levels due to the fact that they take more medications and have more medical treatments.
Phthalates are a class of chemicals called endocrine disrupters because they bind to cells and can alter the production of certain hormones such as insulin or estrogen.
About 75 percent of Americans have detectable levels of phthalates in their urine, and whether or how much of an impact these chemicals have had on our diabetes rates isn’t known.
It’s also tough to avoid phthalates since they’re in everything from nail polish to deodorant to plastic packaging. “A moisturizer can say it’s phthalate-free, but it’s packaging can still contain the chemical, which can leech into the cream,” said James-Todd. “The bigger issue is whether the government should take steps to limit the use of phthalates in products.”
Dr. Iverson's Comment
We at TRILIUM have been educating the public about chemicals in the environment since our clinic opened in 2004. Now it seems mainstream media is becoming more focused on the potential effects of chemicals that were once thought harmless. In recent years we have seen chemicals like mercury and lead, pesticides and agricultural antibiotics, plastics and solvents with specific names like Bisphenol A (BPA), PFCs, PCBs, and dioxins among many others are given greater emphasis to avoid or take caution due to their numerous effects on neurological, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems and many are carcinogenic. 
In this article I’m not so sure if what they are seeing is actually due to the chemicals causing diabetes (which wouldn’t be surprising) or if it is just that these chemicals are higher in someone who already has diabetes. The reason is many with diabetes are overweight; they have more adipose or fat tissue than the average person. The phthalate chemicals are particularly fat soluble so they are much more likely to be absorbed in a person with higher fat stores than a leaner person. This would be true of all the toxins deemed fat soluble.
To reduce these chemicals first do your best to limit exposure by using phthalate-free cosmetics and not eating food or drinking water stored in plastic. Also maintain healthy body weight levels through diet, regular cleansing, and regular exercise to sweat out fat soluble toxins. I also encourage the use of saunas for individuals who have a greater reason to eliminate the toxins quickly. Please see our clinic for details.
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