On April 8, 2014 The Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) reported on a new study linking bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalate exposure with type 2 diabetes in pre-menopausal women (Sun et al. 2014). In the article, Sarah Howard, Coordinator of CHE’s Diabetes and Obesity Spectrum Working Group, states that the study published on March 13, 2014 in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives is the first prospective cohort study investigating the link between BPA, phthalates, and diabetes. The study found the risk of Type 2 diabetes to be higher among middle-aged women with elevated urinary BPA and phthalate levels. This association was not confirmed in older women. The study assessed urinary levels of BPA and 8 phthalates in women participating in the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) I and II (average age 66 and 46, respectively). Because BPA is thought to interfere with insulin-producing cells by mimicking estrogen, the authors hypothesized that the association would be stronger in pre- than in post-menopausal women. The hypothesis was confirmed by a clear linear trend in women in NHS II. Further, a stronger association among women who developed diabetes early was observed. Howard suggests that these findings should be further investigated.
Sarah Howard (April 15, 2014). “Prospective Evidence: BPA, Phthalates, and Type 2 Diabetes.” CHE.
Sun, Q. et al (2014). “Association of urinary concentrations of bisphenol A and phthalate metabolites with risk of Type 2 diabetes: A prospective investigation in the nurses’ health study (NHS) and NHSII cohorts.” Environmental Health Perspectives (published online March 13, 14 2014).