Phthalates, chemicals commonly found in synthetic fragrances, body lotions and pliable plastic products, have been viewed with suspicion in recent years because they’ve been shown to act as endocrine disruptors.
Researchers at the Children’s Environmental Health Center at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York who decided to look more closely at the effects of phthalates have found an association with obesity in young children.
Reading Scientific American this week, I became transfixed with a little graphic the editors included at the back of the magazine.
It showed how the number of Americans who are seriously overweight has doubled over the past 30 years. Thirty four percent of Americans are now considered obese (meaning they have a body mass index over 30), compared with 15 percent who met that criteria in 1980.
The number of Americans who are overweight (with a BMI of 25 to 30) has remained almost steady; but that still means that the overweight and the obese together now comprise a hefty 68 percent of the population.