2013-01-17

Co.Exist

PVC Plastic Is Why You're Fat

Add another chemical to the list of things that are invading our bodies and making us gain weight.

If you’re looking to blame something for your weight issues, there is no shortage of scapegoats: Genetically modified food, BPA, diet soda, and your fork are just some of the things that in recent years have been shown to contribute to weight problems. A new study from University of California, Irvine researchers has added another excuse to the arsenal: PVC plastic.

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, exposed pregnant mice to a chemical called tributyltin (TBT) that’s found in PVC plastic and marine hull paint. The mice were exposed levels of the chemical that are similar to what’s found in the environment. What the researchers found is disturbing: an increase in liver fat, body fat, and fat-specific gene expression in the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the mice, even though none of them had been exposed to TBT. At all.

We can’t say for sure that these findings mimic exactly what happens in the human body, but according to study leader Bruce Blumberg, they do indicate that suggest that exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds early in life can affect fat accumulation, even without any additional exposure later on.

But I don’t spend any time around PVC plastic, you’re saying. It doesn’t matter. TBT is commonly found in household dust, so kids who crawl around on the floor (that’s pretty much all of them) are likely to be exposed. Certain seafood can be contaminated because of TBT’s connection to marine hull paint, and nd the chemical is also sometimes used as a pesticide on crops. In other words, there isn’t much that individuals can do to avoid it.

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4 Comments

  • Cristian Chiru

    Is it me, or if you look at the blue tubes it seems like they are moving? :)

    It is clear today that lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet makes people fat. I was fat (100kg for 181cm height) and the only way to get thin again was sports and disciplinge.

  • Diva

    So, on one hand, your article says that there are valid, chemical reasons for obesity (genetic modification, BPA, and diet soda), that simply cannot be avoided, but then on the other hand it suggests that those are only excuses: "A new study...has added another excuse to the arsenal." You can't have it both ways. Either it's a valid reason, or it's an excuse. An excuse implies a lack of validity which is patently absurd considering your conclusion that PVC plastics are unavoidable in our lives.

    The other point that bothers me is your implication that we need to find excuses for being fat rather than simply accepting that some of us are just built that way. You seem to need to find a place to lay blame for fat, as if fat were some evil thing. It isn't. It's merely a body condition that a large percentage of the population lives with.

    I would have a lot more respect for your journalistic integrity if you had simply reported the facts instead of coloring them with your unwitty comments about forks and excuses. Newsflash - whether the reason is chemical, genetic, or the result of choice makes not one whit of difference. None of them are "excuses," and they are all valid.

    Fat people are people, and we are deserving of respect and dignity, not blame and shame.

  • Karlin

    Thanks for this, I will add "TBT" to the list of reasons plastics are bad.

      Bisphenol-A, or BPA - shown to cause sexual mutations, cardiovascular disorders, obesity, and diabetes, is the other really bad toxin in plastics.

    Quoted:
     "Taking tactics from Big Tobacco's playbook, the industry engages in bully tactics, politician buys and wide-scale misinformation campaigns meant to confuse the public and turn truth to speculation. Big Plastic is big money and survives regulatory scrutiny by creating big spin"