Type 2 diabetes can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families, so all the knowledge we can gain about its causes and how to prevent it is essential. Diabetes affects more than 400 million people worldwide, but knowing risk factors like the foods we eat, our physical activity levels, genetics and family history can help us work towards prevention. In this article, we explore a component declared harmless which has nevertheless been the subject of an American study. Read on for more details.

The study in detail.

The study SWAN (Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation Multipollutant Study) followed 1308 women without diabetes in 1999-2000 for 6 years to better understand the association between exposure to phthalates and the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that are added to plastics to make them flexible, but they can also be found in many other products.

The survey used spot samples of urine taken from participants in 1999-2000 and again in 2002-2003. The presence of 11 phthalate metabolites was measured during this period. A Cox proportional hazards model was used to estimate the risk ratio (HR) of developing diabetes associated with each phthalate metabolite. This model included adjustment for demographic, lifestyle, and health-related factors as covariates. Race/ethnicity was also examined as an effect modifier with interaction terms.

White women are more affected than black or Asian women.

The study results showed that one particular component – ​​phthalates – was linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in white women living in the United States. The results of the Cox proportional hazards model revealed that people with higher concentrations of phthalates had a higher risk that varies between 30% and 63% of developing diabetes than those with lower concentrations, after adjusting for all the co-variables studied. However, this link was not observed in women of other racial/ethnic backgrounds or in women living outside the United States, suggesting that different environmental or genetic factors may be at play with regard to the risk of type 2 diabetes and exposure to phthalates among white women living in America.

Taken together, these results suggest an important role of phthalate exposure in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly among white women residing in America. Study author Mia Q. Peng, who holds a doctorate in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, stresses the need for further research into the mechanisms underlying of this link and possible interventions that could help reduce this risk in this population group.

Which products contain phthalate?

Hair care products:

Many hair care products, such as shampoos, conditioners, mousses, and hairsprays, often contain phthalate as an ingredient or component. This allows them to make our hair soft and smooth while protecting us from heat and styling tools. Phthalate helps reduce static electricity in hair and locks in moisture to prevent dryness. In addition, it is a viscosity control agent that thickens the product formula and facilitates its application while giving it a pleasant smell.

The toys:

Plastic toys made by various companies are often mixed with phthalate to create a soft, flexible material that retains its shape longer than other materials. This allows the toy to last longer while providing children with a safe product to play with without fear of sharp edges or pieces coming loose from the wear and tear of time. The phthalate also prevents the toy from becoming brittle or breaking when used for long periods of time or when subjected to extreme temperatures.

Packing materials:

Many products packaged in cardboard, plastic film or paper bags are probably made using phthalate during production processes. This chemical compound helps make packaging materials more flexible and durable for everyday use, protecting the product stored therein from damage caused by exposure to light or moisture over time. It also allows the packaging material to be easily bent without breaking, which improves its overall usability while ensuring that the product arrives intact at its destination.


Cosmetics such as lipsticks, lip balms, lotions, creams, powders, foundations, etc. contain phthalate as an ingredient, which allows them to offer us softer skin, a better hydration and protection against ultraviolet (UV) rays. The phthalate enhances the texture of these products giving them a silky feel while helping them not to smudge or rub off when applied to the surface of the skin, allowing them to last for multiple uses over time. course of the day.

Car parts :

Automotive parts such as hoses and seals used inside engines are often treated with phthalate during their manufacturing process, as it acts as a lubricant that helps them remain flexible, even under harsh conditions. high levels of heat generated by internal combustion engines for long periods of time, without warping or cracking due to wear and tear associated with constant use under these conditions. It also prevents these auto parts from becoming brittle due to long-term exposure to oil and other harsh chemicals found in engine components, ensuring vehicles run smoother over extended periods without require frequent maintenance or repairs to these parts, especially during regular maintenance intervals.

Find the rest of the list here!

As mentioned the figaro.fr Health “Under normal conditions of use of products containing phthalates, the general population is only slightly exposed to these substances. The professionals in charge of their implementation may be more exposed to them. »

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* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.