Diabetes, obesity linked to chemical exposure

Dr. Andrea GoreChemicals that disrupt the body’s hormone system may also be linked to two of the biggest public health threats facing society – diabetes and obesity, according to a recent statement co-authored by Dr. Andrea Gore, professor of pharmacology and toxicology.

The executive summary was issued by the Endocrine Society. Gore serves as editor-in-chief of the society’s journal, Endocrinology.  The statement builds upon the group’s 2009 report that examined scientific evidence on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and the risks they pose to human health.  The original study pointed to the connection between exposure to these chemicals and infertility, hormone-related cancers, and neurological issues.  The recent statement expanded the potential threat from exposure to these chemicals to development of diabetes and obesity.

EDCs mimick, block or otherwise interfer with the body’s natural hormones and alters the way that human cells develop and grow.  The chemicals are found in food can linings, cash register receipts, plastics (including water bottles), cosmetics, flame retardants and pesticides.  The society’s message says that the chemical are so common that nearly every person on Earth has been exposed to at least one of them.

The threat is seen as particularly great when unborn children are exposed to the chemicals.

“It is clear we need to take action to minimize further exposure,” Gore said. “With more chemicals being introduced into the marketplace all the time, better safety testing is needed to identify new EDCs and ensure they are kept out of household goods.”