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Plastics Chemical in Food, Water, Plastic Bags Linked to Obesity in Kids

June 23, 2012
by Barbara Bronson Gray
For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Appetite For a Change page.

It's hard to imagine a pacifier or a rubber ducky making your child fat.

But new research suggests that chemicals called phthalates, which are found in the plastics that pacifiers and toys are typically made of, may be linked to higher rates of obesity in children.

The chemical, called di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), is suspected of being able to alter biological functions involved in fat metabolism. In the study, children with the highest DEHP levels had nearly five times the chance of being obese compared with those who had the lowest DEHP levels.

How could a chemical used to soften plastics trigger fat development in a child?

"It may trigger the master regulator of fat creation and lipid metabolism," explained study co-author Dr. Mi-Jung Park, a pediatric endocrinologist and professor at Inje University College of Medicine, in Seoul, South Korea.

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