(HealthDay News) – Urinary levels of several phthalates are associated with an increased odds of diabetes in women.

To explore the association between urinary phthalate metabolite concentration and diabetes, Tamarra James-Todd, MPH, PhD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues used data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-analyzed urinary concentrations of phthalate metabolites and self-reported diabetes from participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001–2008 (2,350 women aged 20–80 years).

The researchers found that, compared with women with the lowest levels, women with higher levels of phthalates (mono-n-butyl phthalate [MnBP], mono-isobutyl phthalate [MiBP], mono-benzyl phthalate [MBzP], mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate [MCPP], and Σ di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate [ΣDEHP]) had increased odds of diabetes. Compared with women in the lowest quartile, women in the highest quartile for MBzP and MiBP had almost twice the odds of diabetes (odds ratio, 1.96 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.11–3.47] and 1.95 [95% CI, 0.99–3.85], respectively). There were positive associations for MnBP and ΣDEHP. The association with MCPP seemed to have a threshold effect. There was a positive correlation between certain phthalate metabolites and fasting glucose and insulin resistance.

“These findings suggest the need to further explore the association between phthalates, insulin resistance, and diabetes,” the authors write. “If future studies determine causal links between phthalates and diabetes, then reducing phthalate exposure could decrease the risk of diabetes in women.”

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