Phthalates, which are found in common plastics, cosmetics, and even some pharmaceuticals and medical devices, have been associated with the development of diabetes among seniors in Sweden, according to a study published in the April 12 issue of Diabetes Care.The investigators found that the 3 phthalate metabolites they studied were associated with a 25% to 30% increase in the risk for diabetes.
When researchers analyzed the serum levels of phthalate metabolites for the participants, they found that 4 of 10 metabolites were detectable in at least 96% of the people with diabetes, and that the 4 phthalate metabolites are commonly used in personal care fragrances. The metabolites are mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, monoethyl phthalate (MEP), monoisobutyl phthalate (MiBP), and monomethyl phthalate (MMP). After adjusting for sex, body mass index, smoking and exercise, cholesterol and triglycerides, and education, the researchers found that 3 metabolites were associated with a higher prevalence of diabetes.
The metabolites are related to either poor insulin secretion or insulin resistance, which are independent risk factors for developing diabetes. Phthalate metabolites are known to affect glucose stability in humans, and could be disrupting the biological pathways that contribute to glucose metabolism.