Flame Retardants Linked To Diabetes

A new study suggests that chemicals used in common household items to act as flame retardants are linked to metabolic problems that can cause insulin resistance.

Couches, electronics and even children's toys tend to contain flame retardants which act as "obseogens" in the body, disrupting hormonal processes that affect metabolism and weight.

"Despite the plethora of resources devoted to understanding the roles of diet and exercise in the obesity epidemic, this epidemic continues to escalate, suggesting that other environmental factors may be involved," said lead researcher Gale Carey, professor of nutrition at the University of New Hampshire. "At the biochemical level there is a growing body of experimental evidence suggesting certain environmental chemicals, or 'obesogens', could disrupt the body's metabolism and contribute to the obesity epidemic."

Chemicals can disrupt hormones regardless of your weight

Carey found that rats who were exposed to flame retardants for one month developed hormonal changes that were similar to the changes seen in people who are overweight or obese.

"Even though our rats had not gained weight, they were experiencing 'metabolic obesity,' " said Carey.

Avoiding flame retardants or other chemicals that act as "obesogens" can be difficult. According to the Environmental Working Group, however, individuals may be able to reduce their overall exposure by buying furniture made without flame retardants, repairing damage on cushions (chemicals can more readily escape from holes or tears) and using vacuum cleaners that have a HEPA filter.

Source: Science Daily, EWG

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