Is Plastic Making People Fat?

Being fat has long been seen as a personal problem, fixed only by struggling against the proliferation of fast food restaurants, unlucky genes, and a sedentary life.But could something in the environment also be making Americans fat in epidemic numbers?

Animal studies in recent years raise the possibility that prenatal exposure to minuscule amounts of common chemicals – found in everything from baby bottles to toys – could predispose a body to a life of weight gain. The chemicals, known as endocrine disrupters, mimic natural hormones that help regulate, for example, how many fat cells a body makes and how much fat to store in them. …

A recent US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that about 93 percent of the US population had bisphenol A, a chemical that can be found in canned goods and in hard, clear plastic items such as baby bottles and hiking containers, in their body. A study at the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that mice fed bisphenol A during early development – at lower amounts than what would have resulted in the levels found in most people in the CDC study – become markedly more obese as adults than those that weren’t fed the chemical. Tufts University scientists observed similar phenomenon in rats.

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