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Chemicals Used in Food Packaging Tied to Obesity and Diabetes in Children

Destiny Baker3 years ago

According to two studies, DEHP and BPA, two chemicals commonly used in food packaging, may be linked to increased risks of diabetes and obesity in adolescents.

DEHP Linked to Diabetes

  • DEHP (Di-2-ethylhexylphthalate) is a phthalate that is commonly used to soften plastic to create food packaging and food containers (i.e. Tupperware).
  • Plastic products containing DEHP will be marked with a number 3 on its recycling mark.
  • A study looked at over 766 individuals of ages 12 through 19 over a five year period. The study found that those with higher levels of DEHP had a higher risk of insulin resistance.
  • Fewer than 15 percent of participants with the lowest one-third of DEHP levels were insulin resistant.
  • This is compared to 22 percent in those with the highest levels of DEHP.
  • According to Dr. Leonardo Trasanda, pedatrician at New York University, DEHP may influence how the body secretes insulin and, as such, warns against parents using containers containing the chemical.
  • Insulin resistance is a precursor to diabetes.

BPA Linked to Obesity

  • A second study analyzed nutrition data through 2010 to study BPA (Bisphenol-A) levels in the urine of 6 to 18 year-olds and how these levels correlated to other health measurements.
  • In an analysis of 3,770 adolescents, higher BPA levels were linked to obesity.
  • Children with the highest 25 percent of BPA levels were twice as likely to meet the obesity cutoff.
  • BPA is often used to line aluminum cans.
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