Diabetes risk in middle age women ‘increased by widely used forever chemicals’ from cosmetics to carpeting


The risk of diabetes for women in their midlife was found to be increased by ‘forever chemicals’, according to a new study.

Dubbed ‘forever and everywhere chemicals’, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are found in many everyday products.

They persist and accumulate in the environment – and within the bodies of humans and animals – where they can remain for years.

The study, recently published in the journal Diabetologia, suggests that PFAS may be an important risk factor for diabetes and have a substantial impact on public health.

PFAS are a group of more than 4,700 manufactured chemicals widely used in industry as well as in consumer products.

They are present in non-stick cookware, water and stain-repellent coatings, food packaging, carpeting, firefighting foam, and even cosmetics.



PFAS are a ubiquitous group of chemicals associated with a higher risk of diabetes in some women

Researchers noted that the pervasiveness of the chemicals led to PFAS exposure becoming a serious public health concern, resulting in restrictions and bans on their use.

For example, at least one type of PFAS was present in the blood samples of nearly every American tested by the US Biomonitoring Program.

The chemicals were detected in the drinking water supply of more than 200 million people in the US.

A recent review suggests that exposure may be associated with pre-eclampsia, altered levels of liver enzymes, increased blood fats, decreased antibody response to vaccines, and low birth weight, although it hasn’t been established if PFAS causes these issues.

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The ‘forever chemicals’ have molecular structures resembling naturally occurring fatty acids, resulting in similar effects on the human body.

Fatty acids act on sensors for fat and insulin. They regulate both the body’s fat and glucose levels as well as the production of new fat cells.

Thus, PFAS could disrupt these levels and increase diabetes risk.

In this study, epidemiologist Dr Sung Kyun Park and other University of Michigan researchers analyzed blood and urine samples of 1,237 women between the ages of 42 and 52.

The women had been monitored annually starting from 1999 or 2000 through to 2017.

Compared to participants without the condition, women with diabetes were more likely to be black, from southeast Michigan (a more socioeconomically disadvantaged area), less educated, less physically active, have a larger energy intake and higher BMI at baseline.

“Reduced exposure to these ‘forever and everywhere chemicals’ even before entering midlife may be a key preventative approach to lowering the risk of diabetes,” the authors concluded.

“Policy changes around drinking water and consumer products could prevent population-wide exposure.”

The scientists said doctors should be aware of PFAS as unrecognized risk factors for diabetes and to be prepared to counsel patients about sources of exposure and potential health effects.




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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