In an article published on August 13, 2018, by news provider The Conversation, Bruce Blumberg, professor of developmental and cell biology at the University of California, Irvine, U.S., and Raquel Chamorro-Garcia, associate specialist at the same institution, discussed the role of chemical exposures in the worldwide obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemic.

“The most common explanation for obesity is overeating calorie-rich foods and sedentary lifestyle,” the authors write. However, “a subset of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) called obesogens has been shown to cause obesity in animals and were associated with more fat mass in humans,” they explained. Such EDCs can be found in “plastics, preservatives, pesticides and flame retardants,” Blumberg and Chamorro-Garcia listed, and “may be important contributors to the growing number of metabolic disorders – including obesity,” they further described.

Blumberg and Chamorro-Garcia’s research on tributyltin (TBT, CAS 1461-22-9) and dibutyltin (DBT, CAS 683-18-1) showed that the substances can activate hormone receptors linked to fat development, alter glucose metabolism, and increase fat storage in mice. TBT is a preservative and biocide; DBT is used in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics.

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Bruce Blumberg and Raquel Chamorro-Garcia (August 13, 2018). “Obesity and diabetes: 2 reasons why we should be worried about the plastics that surround us.The Conversation


Chamorro-Garcia, R., et al. (2018). “Effects of perinatal exposure to dibutyltin chloride on fat and glucose metabolism in mice, and molecular mechanisms, in vitro.Environmental Health Perspectives (published online May 21, 2018).