Chemicals in plastic may heighten the risk of diabetes in some women

Shower curtains, wallpaper, paints, toys and makeup are just a few of the items in daily life that contain phthalates, a common chemical used in plastics. Now, research suggests that the chemical may be traced to a higher risk of diabetes in white women — who were found to have anywhere between a 30 to 63 percent higher incidence of diabetes, according to the study.

"People are exposed to phthalates daily, increasing their risk of several metabolic diseases. It's important that we address [endocrine-disrupting chemicals] now as they are harmful to human health," Sung Kyun Park, ScD, of the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, said in a Feb. 8 statement.

Researchers collected data from more than 1,300 women in a longitudinal six-year study who did not have diabetes and kept track of the levels of the chemical in urine samples. As the levels increased, the chemical, which is already known to be linked with a risk of diabetes, in turn caused a higher incident rate for the women who did have increases in these levels. 

However, researchers noted the results were not "statistically significant" enough to determine this for sure.

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