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Obesity

Chemicals and diseases February 16, 2014 5:05 pm

The number of people who are obese has tripled in many European countries since the 1980s, and the numbers affected continue to rise at an alarming rate. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the rate of obesity has more than doubled in the European Union and now affects 1 in 6 of the adult EU population.

Scientific evidence on the role of chemicals in obesity has grown rapidly over recent years. Certain endocrine disrupting chemicals have become known as “obesogens” because they seem to be able to re-programme our metabolism so that more fat cells are produced.

Numerous animal studies have shown that the endocrine disrupting, DDT and other “persistent organic pollutants”, or POPs, accumulate in fatty tissue from where they can indirectly affect the development of fatty tissue and insulin levels.

The World Health Organization’s recent report on the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on human health highlights the concerns raised by animal studies. The authors say these studies show that maternal exposure to EDCs (or certain other chemicals that might potentially disrupt the hormones) leads to changes in metabolism, possible weight gain and type 2 diabetes in offspring when they become adults.

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