New Op-ed: Are Chemicals Making You Fat?

Pennsylvania’s Bucks County Courier Times published a new op-ed from Dr. Joseph Perrone explaining that science does not yet show chemicals play a significant role in the development of obesity. You can read the full piece here; we’ve included an excerpt below.

Are Chemicals Making you Fat?
Posted: Monday, October 19, 2015 3:38 pm
By Dr. Joseph Perrone

If the piles of Halloween candy for sale at supermarkets are any indication, we’ve already started our descent into the holiday eating season. It’s that magical time of year when the temptation of delicious treats combined with darker days and cooler weather makes it hard to avoid putting on the pounds. But instead of holding responsible overeating and lack of exercise, it’s tempting to search for blame elsewhere.

A new scientific statement from the Endocrine Society, a group of scientists and doctors who study the body’s endocrine glands, are helping to shift the dialogue away from personal responsibility. It argues exposure to certain chemicals is tied to obesity and diabetes.

The group’s statement set off a flurry of headlines announcing “Everyday chemical exposure linked to obesity, diabetes epidemic” and “Daily-use chemicals put people at high diabetes, obesity risk.” Yet the actual research linking low-dose exposure of these common chemicals, known as “endocrine disruptors,” to health problems remains weak.
Let’s look at the science.

The Endocrine Society’s statement specifically targets bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates as endocrine disruptors contributing to health problems. These chemicals are incredibly common—BPA is used in products from store receipts to can linings to plastics, and various phthalates are used in fragrances, cosmetics, plastics, and countless other applications. Because they’re so ubiquitous, they’ve been the subject of hundreds of recent studies. Government regulatory agencies in the U.S. and the European Union have reviewed those studies to determine whether these chemicals pose a health risk to consumers and should be regulated further.