According to an NDP group survey, more than 80 percent of women use perfume regularly. Many men also find themselves drawn to cologne, with both genders spending a collective $5 billion on cologne and perfume every year in the United States. But that daily spritz of scent on your neck, chest and wrist may have a side effect that you’ve never thought of: Diabetes.
In a new study published in the Diabetes Care medical journal, researchers followed more than a thousand men and women in Sweden. They found that exposure to pthalates, a common chemical used in fragrances, was associated with increased blood sugar and an up to 30 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes (read the full study abstract here).
Besides diabetes, some medical professionals also worry that exposure to pthalates elevates your risks of other health problems, such as cancer. Avoid pthalates by taking a few lifestyle and dietary precautions today:
1. Stop using products that contain perfumes or fragrances. Aim for unscented products instead, such as unscented laundry detergent, unscented shampoo and conditioner, and natural beeswax candles instead of scented air fresheners.
2. Eat fresh, organic food. A study in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal noted that pthalate exposure was cut in half when people ate fresh food instead of packaged or canned food.
3. Avoid plastics. If you can’t do without them, check the recycle code on the bottom of the plastic item. Items stamped with a “7” or a “3” may contain higher levels of both phthalates and BPA.