Diabetes is perhaps the fastest growing health crisis in the United States, and studies are showing that some of the culprits leading to new diagnoses may not be entering the body through the mouth.
According to a studies published over the last several years, researchers are now looking at chemicals such as phthalates as a root cause of the problem.
Phthalates are found in soaps, nail polishes, hair sprays, perfumes and moisturizers – just to name a few common products found in most homes.
It is a widely used chemical that softens PVC plastic and can be found in food packaging and medical devices.
Women are exposed to phthalates in more quantity because of exposure to personal care products that contain them.
Other chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and dioxins are being associated with the development of diabetes.
The study found that women with the highest levels of phthalates in their urine had a 70 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than those with lower levels of the chemical present.
In Bangladesh and Taiwan, where there are high levels of arsenic in the drinking water, there have been studies linking arsenic exposure to diabetes as well.
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates arsenic so here there are fewer people exposed to it than overseas.
Dr. Ian Bier at, Human Nature Natural Health in Portsmouth, NH, treats diabetes but specializes in cancer treatment and blogs on the topic at http://www.humannaturenaturalhealth.com/blog. He said the connection between chemicals and chronic health problems has long been established.
“This is not new research, but it’s good to see they are following up on research,” Bier said. “There’s a concept called the precautionary principle … which is an approach to risk management that says if something has a risk of causing harm to the public and the environment, that the burden of proof basically falls onto the people who want to introduce it into the environment to prove that its safe rather than the way things are done now.”
Nowadays, Bier said, chemicals are released into the environment and end up in our bodies, leaving the public to prove they are dangerous.
“And that’s lead to huge problems and the phthalates are leading to increased cancer risk, diabetes, and possibly infertility, early puberty and behavior problems in kids … we know that people with diabetes have higher levels of these chemicals in their fat cells…” he said.
“So, naturopathically speaking, toxins in the body, whether from improper foods or chemicals, are going to be burden on the system, create a drag on the systems and create disease. That is why the naturopath knows that we need to use detoxification methods; in some ways we are saying the same thing our elders were saying 50 or 100 years ago as naturopaths.
To read the research linking chemicals with diabetes read http://www.diabetesandenvironment.org/home/contam/phthalates