July 13th, 2012
12:01 AM ET
Diabetes and cosmetics: A connection?
Hidden in perfumes, scented lotions, food packaging and even synthetic leathers are a type of chemical called phthalates. Most people in the United States are exposed to phthalates, and levels tend to be higher in women than men.
A new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives examines whether there is a connection between phthalates and diabetes in women. Researchers did find an association but did not prove that the chemicals cause diabetes.
Researchers found that the risk of having diabetes was twice as high in women with the highest levels of certain phthalates, compared with women with the lowest levels. Looking at the data a different way, there would be about 40 extra diabetes cases per 1,000 women when women with high levels are compared to women with low levels.
What explains this association? One idea is that phthalates bind to cells in the body that manage blood-glucose metabolism and fat cell development.
"Because they can bind to natural cell receptors, they could alter normal function," said Dr. Tamarra James-Todd, associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Keep in mind that people with diabetes may have higher phthalate levels because of their use of certain medical devices and medications, which contain these chemicals, too. This study did not rule out that explanation.
But the researchers did a sub-study on women without diabetes to get at this issue. Non-diabetic women with higher levels of pthalates tended to have higher blood glucose levels. "Both of those things are precursors of diabetes," James-Todd said.
Researchers analyzed data on 2,350 women in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey who self-reported whether they had diabetes and gave urine samples that were examined for the presence of phthalates. The study is cross-sectional, meaning questions about phthalate levels and diabetes status were not collected at the same point in time.
Future research could follow a group of people who don't have diabetes, measure pthalate levels and see whether the chemicals are associated with developing diabetes longterm.
Companies are not required to disclose whether there are phthalates in products, but almost anything that contains "fragrance" has these chemicals, James-Todd said. More products are emerging with labels that say "phthalate-free," but the packaging could still be full of them.
"There's not much we can do as consumers," she said. "Hopefully, these findings will spur additional research."
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
I really like it when folks get together and share thoughts. Great blog, continue the good work!
You could definitely see your expertise in the paintings you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren't afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.
That is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise informationÖ Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!
This website was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thanks!
Saved as a favorite, I really like your blog!
You need to take part in a contest for one of the best websites on the internet. I am going to highly recommend this blog!
Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of the site is very good.
You made some decent points there. I looked on the web for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.
I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your content. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I will take a note of your website and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your Feed too.
This web site certainly has all the information I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.
Everyone loves it when people get together and share views. Great blog, continue the good work!
thanks for sharing!
I really like this post
Impressive! Thanks for the post
I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.
I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!
Incredible. If you're so good the fact that you're so good at this time. Your help woke everyone up. Thank you really much.
Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be helpful to read through articles from other authors and use a little something from other websites.
It’s perfect time to make some plans for the longer term and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this put up and if I could I want to recommend you some fascinating issues or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to learn even more issues about it!
Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read articles from other writers and practice a little something from their web sites.
After checking out a handful of the articles on your web page, I truly like your way of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site as well and let me know your opinion.
Very good article! We will be linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.
Very good article! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our site. Keep up the great writing.
I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this blog. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal site now 😉
Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.
After I originally commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!
This website definitely has all the info I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.
That is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise infoÖ Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!
Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!
Hi, I do believe this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit yet again since I bookmarked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.
I could not resist commenting. Very well written!
You're so interesting! I do not think I've truly read anything like that before. So good to find someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that's needed on the internet, someone with some originality!
This is a topic that's close to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?