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Friday, April 17, 2015

Flame Retardants Cause Chemical-Induced Insulin Resistance

Flame Retardants Cause Chemical-Induced Insulin Resistance
Previous studies have shown that an estimated 90 percent of Americans have flame-retardant chemicals in their bodies. Worse yet, recent tests6 have revealed that many Americans have no less than six different types of toxic flame retardants in their system. 
Researchers7 have also noted that American mothers have levels of flame retardants in their breast milk that are about two orders of magnitude greater than in European countries where these chemicals are not permitted. Children, in turn, have been found to have levels of flame retardants that are as much as five times higher than their mother's...8 
Such bioaccumulation can have serious health consequences over the course of a lifetime, although health problems may not be readily attributable to day-to-day chemical exposure. For example, according to researchers at the University of Hampshire,9 flame retardants cause liver and metabolic problems that can result in insulin resistance and associated health problems. 
It's rather unlikely that anyone would tie their insulin resistance, obesity, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol ratios to exposure to flame retardants, considering that this health problem is typically thought to hinge on excess sugar consumption. As explained in the University's news release:
"[R]ats exposed to polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, experienced a disruption in their metabolism that resulted in the development of metabolic obesity and enlarged livers. 
'Despite the plethora of resources devoted to understanding the roles of diet and exercise in the obesity epidemic, this epidemic continues to escalate, suggesting that other environmental factors may be involved. 
At the biochemical level there is a growing body of experimental evidence suggesting certain environmental chemicals, or 'obesogens', could disrupt the body's metabolism and contribute to the obesity epidemic,' [lead researcher Gale Carey, professor of nutrition] said... 
The cause of the flame retardant-induced insulin resistance is unknown but one possibility is the suppression of a key metabolic enzyme  phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, or PEPCK in the liver. 
Carey and her students found that the activity of PEPCK, which is responsible for sugar and fat metabolism, dropped by nearly 50 percent in livers of rats exposed to flame retardants for just one month, compared to controls."

When we visit Target, my children are magically attracted to the colorful pajamas on display. They proudly display that the clothes have flame retardants impregnated in the material. Despite their dreams of being a super-hero and hope to be fire-proof, I instead help them understand that that is not a bragging right and really should not be a selling point.



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