A study has suggested that a chemical used in a number of everyday cosmetic products could increase someone’s risk of obesity and diabetes.
The investigation, which was carried out by a team of researchers from the Uppsala University in Sweden, revealed that those who were more exposed to phthalates were more likely to gain weight.
The presence of phthalates in a person’s bloodstream was also found to contribute to the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Phthalates are a key ingredient used in many cosmetics, including perfumes, make up, fake tans, and skin care products.
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The chemical is also used in cleaning products and to make plastic bottles, as it make the material transparent and flexible.
Studies that have been carried out in the past have looked at the effect phthalates have on fertility and reproductive health.
However, the latest research has investigated the consequence they have on other health factors.
In total data from over 1,000 patients – 119 of whom had diabetes and 88 had a history of the condition – was reviewed as part of the research.
After considering factors that contributed to Type 2 diabetes, such as being overweight, smoking and a poor diet, it was concluded that a high exposure to phthalates increases the risk of diabetes because they were more likely to develop a resistance to insulin.
Commenting on the findings in a statement, Monica Lind, the author of the study said: “Although our results need to be confirmed in more studies, they do support the hypothesis that certain environmental chemicals can contribute to the development of diabetes.
“Anyone is exposed to them in many different ways.
“People can inhale them if they are used in hairspray or air fresheners and food can also be contaminated because of phthalates in the packaging,” she said.
"Many are used in body products, like face creams, fake tan, make up and perfumes.
“Not only does the packaging contain them, but they are absorbed into the body and bloodstream through the skin.
Lind added: “In perfume, we inhale the phthalates that are used to delay the scent and increase the lifetime of the perfume.”
The results of the research have been published in the journal Diabetes Care.
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