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Phthalates are one of the common chemicals your government isn’t protecting your family from. Bad news for you, because phthalates have been linked to countless negative health issues. Now, new research shows that phthalate metabolites may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The research, published in Diabetes Care has linked phthalate metabolites to diabetes prevalence and shows that this chemical results in distinct markers of insulin secretion and resistance. These findings support past research that focuses on how common chemicals may influence major factors that are regulating glucose metabolism in humans. During the study, researchers tested 1,016 elderly subjects, and a total of 114 subjects were shown to have diabetes. After making adjustment for gender, BMI, serum cholesterol and triglycerides, educational level, and smoking and exercise habits, the researchers looked at phthalate levels. High levels of the phthalate metabolites monomethyl phthalate (MMP), monoisobutyl phthalate (MiBP), and monoethyl phthalate (MEP) were all associated with an increased prevalence of diabetes. Mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalates were not associated with diabetes in this study. Overall, MiBP was most usually related to poor insulin secretion, while MEP and MMP were linked to insulin resistance. So where are these phthalates lurking?

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The various phthalate metabolites linked to diabetes are the types that are commonly used in insect repellant, plastic, consumer products, fragrances and rocket propellant. Phthalates are found just about everywhere and are are a prevalent body burden chemical in humans. In fact, EWG’s analysis of biomonitoring data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows that at any given time, 84% of the U.S. population is contaminated with at least six different phthalates. Phthalates have been connected to disrupted endocrine system functions, obesity, birth defects, reduced sperm counts, testicular atrophy and structural abnormalities in the reproductive systems of male test animals and even liver cancer. If this chemical is truly linked to diabetes, this means a whole new range of problems, as type 2 diabetes is linked to many long-term health problems like eye disease, kidney disease, nerve damage and more. To avoid excessive phthalate exposure you should try to limit your contact with plastic dishes, vinyl shower curtains, vinyl flooring, scented conventionally made candles, chemical air fresheners, scented cleaners and conventional laundry products, as well as chemically made (usually conventional) perfumes, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, deodorants and other personal care products.

+ Circulating Levels of Phthalate Metabolites Are Associated With Prevalent Diabetes in the Elderly