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Study: plasticizers cause diabetes and obesity
Bisphenol A, plasticizers and flame retardants can lead to obesity and diabetes. This was the result of a study presented by the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND). The harmful substances contained in plastic toys, PVC floors or food cans enter the body through the air we breathe, skin or food.
Plasticizers are absorbed through breathing air, skin or food
Plasticizers or so-called hormone-active pollutants are contained in many everyday objects. As a study by the English environmental organization ChemTrus recently found, these substances pose an increased risk for obesity and type II diabetes. The substances are absorbed by people through breathing air, skin or food.
Until now, an unhealthy, high-fat diet and lack of exercise have been the main indicators of overweight and diabetes. The study presented by BUND environmentalists makes it clear that hormonal pollutants have a significant and previously underestimated influence on the human organism. Professor Gilbert Schönfelder, toxicologist at the Institute for Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at the Charité Berlin. explained: “Diabetes and obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Up to now, the main reasons for this have been seen as improper nutrition and lack of exercise. However, new studies show that exposure to hormonal pollutants could have an important and previously underestimated part in it. Above all, chemicals with hormonal activity must not get into the bodies of children, but also not into those of adults. ”
Chemicals cause obesity and insulin resistance
So far, the plasticizers were primarily suspected of causing disorders of sexual functions. “The exposure to chemicals such as bisphenol A in the womb led to a later weight gain and increased insulin resistance in experimental animals. There is therefore a risk that diabetes will be triggered in humans. In view of this finding, the Federal Government must ensure that the chemical load, especially for sensitive groups such as pregnant women and children, is minimized. Plasticizers and bisphenol A must be replaced by safe alternatives, ”says Sarah Häuser, an expert at BUND.
The number of people with diabetes and obesity has increased dramatically worldwide in the past ten years. While the trend in obesity has settled at a high level in the western industrialized nations, experts with the metabolic disease type II diabetes are seeing increasing rates of new cases. Compared to its European neighbors, Germany is most affected with a diabetes rate of nine percent. In the present meta study, 240 studies were summarized. From the data, it is clear that "the causes of obesity and diabetes also include hormonal pollutants," said Sarah Häuser, a chemical expert at BUND.
Bisphenol-A prohibited in baby bottles
Baby bottles containing bisphenol-A are now banned in Germany. However, it remains to be seen what consequences the results of the study will have. In the case of bisphenol-A, there were sufficient scientific reports in Germany long before the ban on the chemical in baby bottles, which demonstrated a harmful effect on the human body. A ban was enforced much earlier in many European countries. In Germany, on the other hand, consumer advocates warned for a long time about the toxic chemical until on March 1, 2011 a ban on the use of bisphenol-A in baby bottles was finally introduced. Since June 2011, the contaminated bottles may no longer be sold. However, the toxic chemical is still present in many other products. (ag)
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Image: BUND / Andreas Creutzburg, Copyright (BUND / gde.de)