Chemicals in personal care products may increase risk of diabetes in women

July 13, 2012

A study lead by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) shows an association between increased concentrations of phthalates in the body and an increased risk of diabetes in women. Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products such as moisturizers, nail polishes, soaps, hair sprays and perfumes. They are also used in adhesives, electronics, toys and a variety of other products. This finding is published in the July 13, 2012 online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives

Researchers, lead by Tamarra James-Todd, PhD, a researcher in the Division of Women's Health at BWH, analyzed urinary concentrations of in 2,350 women who participated in the National Health and . They found that women with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to have diabetes. Specifically:

  • Women who had the highest levels of the chemicals mono-benzyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate had almost twice the risk of diabetes compared to women with the lowest levels of those chemicals.
  • Women with higher than median levels of the chemical mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate had approximately a 60 percent increased risk of diabetes.
  • Women with moderately high levels of the chemicals mono-n-butyl phthalate and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate had approximately a 70 percent increased risk of diabetes.
The study population consisted of a representative sample of American women and was controlled for socio-demographic, dietary and . However, the women self-reported their diabetes and researchers caution against reading too much into the study due to the possibility of reverse causation.

"This is an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes," said Dr. James-Todd. "We know that in addition to being present in , phthalates also exist in certain types of medical devices and medication that is used to treat diabetes and this could also explain the higher level of phthalates in diabetic women. So overall, more research is needed."

Explore further: High levels of phthalates can lead to greater risk for diabetes

Related Stories

High levels of phthalates can lead to greater risk for diabetes

April 23, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- There is a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of developing diabetes among seniors. Even at a modest increase in circulating phthalate levels, the risk of diabetes ...

High levels of phthalates can lead to greater risk for type-2 diabetes

April 12, 2012
There is a connection between phthalates found in cosmetics and plastics and the risk of developing diabetes among seniors. Even at a modest increase in circulating phthalate levels, the risk of diabetes is doubled. This ...

Prenatal exposure to phthalates linked to decreased mental and motor development

September 6, 2011
A newly published study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health heightens concerns over the potential health effects on children of a group of ubiquitous chemicals known as phthalates. Phthalates ...

Simpler lifestyle found to reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals

June 26, 2012
A lifestyle that features fresh foods and limited use of products likely to contain environmental chemicals has been shown to reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as BPA and phthalates, in a small ...

Recommended for you

Scientists reverse diabetes in a mouse model using modified blood stem cells

November 15, 2017
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have successfully reversed type 1 diabetes in a mouse model by infusing blood stem cells pre-treated to produce more of a protein called PD-L1, which is deficient in mice (and people) ...

Pregnancy-related conditions taken together leave moms—and dads—at risk

November 14, 2017
Research has already shown that women who develop either diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease years later. Now, a new study from a team ...

Study reveals how a very low calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes

November 9, 2017
In a new study, a Yale-led research team uncovers how a very low calorie diet can rapidly reverse type 2 diabetes in animal models. If confirmed in people, the insight provides potential new drug targets for treating this ...

Targeting a microRNA shows potential to enhance effectiveness of diabetes drugs

November 7, 2017
Over the past 15 years, University of Alabama at Birmingham endocrinologist Anath Shalev, M.D., has unraveled a crucial biological pathway that malfunctions in diabetes.

Researchers link Western diet to vascular damage and prediabetes

October 31, 2017
Could short-term exposure to the average American diet increase one's risk for developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease? According to a recent study funded by the American Heart Association (AHA), researchers from New ...

Researchers design synthetic beta cells to secrete insulin in response to high blood sugar

October 30, 2017
Treating type 1 diabetes and some cases of type 2 diabetes has long required painful and frequent insulin injections or a mechanical insulin pump for insulin infusion. But researchers from the University of North Carolina ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.