Do you know? Phthalates are added to some cosmetics, perfumes and other personal care products to stabilize colors and fragrances.
A group of chemicals found in household plastics and medical supplies is linked to higher rates of diabetes in women - up to double the rate for women with the highest levels, according to new research led by Harvard scientists.
Blacks and Mexican Americans and women living in poverty are exposed to the highest levels of some of these compounds, called phthalates, the scientists reported.
Until now, most phthalate research has focused on reproductive consequences because these compounds seem to disrupt male hormones. Boys exposed to phthalates in the womb had signs of feminized genitalia, which may lead to fertility problems. Researchers also have found neurological effects, including reduced IQs and attention problems in boys.
Black women in the study had more than double the concentrations of DEP, the phthalate in cosmetics, and DBP, the phthalate in adhesives and lacquers that was linked to a double rate of diabetes, when compared with white women.
Mexican-American women had 75% higher concentrations of DEP. Poor women had up to 78% higher levels of BBP - the phthalate in vinyl flooring that was associated with a double rate of diabetes - than women living above poverty level.
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