The presence of phthalates (endocrine disrupting chemicals) in moisturizers, nail polishes, soaps, hair sprays and perfumes may elevate diabetes risk in women, says new research.
Researchers led by Tamarra James-Todd, from Division of Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital, analyzed urinary concentrations of phthalates in 2,350 women who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Phthalates interfere with endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumours, birth defects, and other developmental disorders, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reported.
Specifically, phthalates are known to cause learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems, deformations of the body (including limbs); sexual development problems, feminizing of males or masculine effects on females, according to a university statement.
Researchers found that women with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to have diabetes. Women with the highest levels of the specific phthalates had almost twice the risk of diabetes, compared to women with the lowest levels of those chemicals.
"This is an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes," said James-Todd.
"We know that in addition to being present in personal care products, phthalates also exist in certain types of medical devices and medication that is used to treat diabetes and this could also explain the higher level of phthalates in diabetic women," he added.