A new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that phthalates in plastics may contribute to diabetes risk in women.
“Our research found phthalates may contribute to a higher incidence of diabetes in women, especially white women, over a six-year period,” said Sung Kyun Park, ScD, MPH, of the University of Michigan School of Public Health. “People are exposed to phthalates daily, increasing their risk of several metabolic diseases. It’s important that we address EDCs now as they are harmful to human health.”
The researchers studied 1,308 women from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) over six years to see if phthalates were linked to incident diabetes in the population. They found that close to five percent of the women developed diabetes over a six-year period. The phthalates in their urine were similar to the middle-aged women in the United States in the early 2000s, when urine samples were collected.
The study also found that white women exposed to high levels of some phthalates had a 30-63 percent higher chance of developing diabetes compared to white women with less exposure to them. No links were found between phthalate exposure in Black or Asian women.
Phthalate exposure is associated with reduced fertility and other endocrine disorders according to prior studies. While further research is needed to confirm the link between phthalates and diabetes, this recent study adds to a growing body of evidence suggest their dangers.
“People are exposed to phthalates daily, increasing their risk of several metabolic diseases,” said Park. “It’s important that we address EDCs now as they are harmful to human health.”
Mia Q Peng, Carrie A Karvonen-Gutierrez, William H Herman, Bhramar Mukherjee, Sung Kyun Park, Phthalates and Incident Diabetes in Midlife Women: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2023;, dgad033, https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgad033