Is that Couch Making you Fat? Flame Retardants and Obesity
Flame retardants used in furniture, electronics, appliances, vehicles, clothing, and building materials (and liberally coating hospital interiors) have been demonstrated to be toxic to hormones and are thus called "endocrine disruptors". Exposure during pregnancy has also been shown to impact hormone and brain development in offspring. Concentrations in humans and wildlife have been doubling every 2 to 5 years, with the exception of Sweden where flame retardants are banned.
- In the first study to examine the relationship between flame retardants and obesity, researches fed mice high fat/calorie diet (authors do not disclose nature of "fat" in diet) and found that those exposed to flame retardants gained 30% more weight.
- This has led to labeling of these chemicals as "obesogens" in that they accelerate weight gain, raise blood sugar, and contribute to metabolic disorders.
- Other chemicals linked to obesity or diabetes in animal or human studies include phthalates, perfluorinated chemicals, bisphenol A, arsenic, tributyltin and chlorinated compounds such as dioxins, PCBs and DDT.
Avoid buying any foam containing products (carpet pads, pillows, mattresses), use a vacuum with a HEPA filter frequently, and buy furniture and clothing with natural fibers - ask the manufacturer about flame retardants in the product.
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