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Childhood Obesity Linked to Chemicals in Personal Care Products

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Childhood Obesity Linked to Chemicals in Personal Care Products

New York researchers have uncovered a link between phthalates (a chemical found in many cosmetics and personal care products) and childhood obesity.

New York researchers have uncovered a link between phthalates (a chemical found in many cosmetics and personal care products) and childhood obesity. The children with higher levels of phthalates in the study had higher waist circumferences and body mass indexes (BMIs).

Phthalates have been known to affect the endocrine system and may also affect childhood neurodevelopment. A shocking 97 percent of children in the study had detectable levels of phthalates in their urine from personal care products.

There are many factors contributing to the obesity epidemic and the increasing percentage of children who are overweight and obese, such as unhealthy foods being marketed at children and electronics (which contribute to a sedentary lifestyle). However, one relatively unstudied factor is “obesogens”—chemicals that are suspected to contribute to obesity. Phthalates as well as bisphenol A (BPA) and pesticides are being studied by researchers to determine their potential obesogenic activity.

Avoid environmental toxins and suspected obesogens.

  • Take steps to detoxify your life.
  • Avoid toys that contain phthalates. These are generally soft plastics, such as rubber ducks.
  • Avoid phthalates in personal care products. They may not be listed in the ingredients, but are typically added to fragrances, glitter, and nail polishes. Avoid any ingredient labelled “fragrance” or “perfume” without an explanation of what the fragrance contains. (For instance, natural products may use essential oils.)

These suggestions are especially important for children, parents, and pregnant women.

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