UNH Researchers Tie Flame Retardant Chemicals To Obesity And Diabetes

Feb 16, 2015

Nutritional Scientist Gale Carey
Credit University of New Hamshire

  Researchers at the University of New Hampshire say it’s not just bad diets and little exercise causing rising rates of obesity and diabetes.    In fact, synthetic chemicals used in household items like couches and carpet padding may play a part in both of those conditions.

When Nutritional Scientist Gale Carey at UNH exposed healthy rats to high doses of flame retardant chemicals, and then inspected their fat tissue, she found that "metabolically, chemically, it behaves like it's from an animal that is obese. But the animal is not obese."

When she looked at those rats’ livers, she found the livers behaved as if they had diabetes.

Carey says to a scientist, testing the more than 100,000 synthetic chemicals in our environment feels like playing Whack-a-Mole. But, she says, it’s important to raise awareness about environmental health risks.