Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chemicals that make us fat

Even a healthy lifestyle may not be enough
keep the waistline from expanding.
It started as a question by health professionals, researchers and those in the know – are chemicals making us fat?

Is our daily exposure to chemicals playing a role in the obesity epidemic that is rolling over North America?

Now the question has changed from “Are chemicals making us fat?” to “Which chemicals are making us fat?”

In a recent article in the Ecologist, former Ecologist editor Pat Thomas listed a full range of industrial and everyday chemicals that contribute to our midrange expansion. Thomas talks about them in more detail in her book “The 21st Century is Making You Fat”.

Here is a selection of chemicals you need to watch out for:

Bisphenol-A (BPA):  This hormone-mimicking chemicals is found in clear, hard and reusable plastic products and it is also used in dyes, polyester resins, flame retardants and rubber chemicals, among others.

Phthalates: These hormone-disrupting chemicals can be found anywhere in our environment – they are hiding in plastic and consumer products such as hair spray, water bottles and T-Shirts.

Solvents: People can get exposed to solvents  in adhesives, glues, cleaning fluids, felt-tip pens, perfumes, paints, varnishes, pesticides, petrol, household cleaners and waxes. The neurotoxic chemicals in solvents include xylene, dichlorobenzene, ethylphenol, styrene, toluene, acetone and trichloroethane.

Polybrominated flame retardants: It sounded like a good idea to reduce fire risk and add these chemicals to a wide range of household products (think mattresses, computers, TVs, textiles, car seats and more), but they are oestrogen mimics  and can affect the thyroid as well.

Organochlorines: This group contains pesticides (DDT, chlordane, dieldrin and more), industrial lubricants (PCBs) as well as dioxins and chlorophenols. High level exposures can alter a person’s metabolism and stop the fat-losing process.

Other chemicals that can help make us fat include
  • Organophosphates
  • Carbamates
  • Organotins
  • Benzo[a]pyrene
  • Cadmium
  • Lead

Source: The Ecologist

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