Exposure to Endocrine-Disruptor Chemicals Linked to Diabetes

Seemingly harmless items like cash register receipts or plastic bottles may increase your risk for developing diabetes, according to a new statement from the Endocrine Society.

The statement is based on past and current research into the danger of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and how they pose a risk to human health. A growing body of research points to an association between EDCs and cancer, neurological issues, infertility, obesity - and now diabetes.

"EDCs contribute to health problems by mimicking, blocking or otherwise interfering with the body's natural hormones," a news release on the research stated. "By hijacking the body's chemical messengers, EDCs can alter the way cells develop and grow."

According to Andrea C. Gore, chair of the task force that developed the statement and professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the dangers associated with EDCs have never been higher.

"Hundreds of studies are pointing to the same conclusion, whether they are long-term epidemiological studies in humans, basic research in animals and cells, or research into groups of people with known occupational exposure to specific chemicals," Gore said.

Long-lasting, permanent consequences

One of the most well-known EDCs is bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in the lining of canned food and plastic products. Other EDCs are common in baby toys, materials with flame retardants and pesticides.

Unborn children may be especially at risk for health problems when exposed to these chemicals, as research in animals has found a strong link between early exposure and obesity and diabetes later in life.

Researchers say EDCs are so common that virtually everyone has been exposed to them at some point in their lives - most people on a daily basis.

"It is clear we need to take action to minimize further exposure," Gore said. "With more chemicals being introduced into the marketplace all the time, better safety testing is needed to identify new EDCs and ensure they are kept out of household goods."

Source: Endocrine Society

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