The U.K.-based Chemicals, Health and Environment Monitoring (CHEM) Trust has issued a March 2012 report claiming that recent studies have linked “hormone disrupting chemicals in food and consumer products” to obesity and Type 2 diabetes in humans. The report apparently analyzes 240 research papers offering epidemiological or laboratory evidence to suggest that certain chemicals—such as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates—are obesogenic or diabetogenic. “The chemicals implicated include some to which the general population are typically exposed on a daily basis,” states the report, which also speculates that some “endocrine disrupting chemicals” (EDCs) stored in body fat “may play a role in the causal relationship between obesity and diabetes.”
Based on its findings, CHEM Trust argues that obesity prevention strategies like dietary interventions “should not obscure the need for government policies within and outside the health sector” to reduce chemical exposure through the food chain, food containers and other environmental sources. Advocating a precautionary approach, the report calls on the European Union and member states to replace EDCs with “safer alternatives” as well as educate health professionals, companies and consumer organizations as to their supposed effects.
“The epidemics in obesity and diabetes are extremely worrying. The role of hormone disrupting chemicals in this must be addressed. The number of such chemicals that contaminate humans is considerable,” said a report co-author in a March 20, 2012, CHEM Trust press release. “We must encourage new policies that help minimize human exposure to all relevant hormone disruptors, especially women planning pregnancy, as it appears to be the fetus developing in utero that is at greatest risk.”