Diabetes and BPA: Is There a Link?

I consider myself fairly well-read, and educated about health. I’ve researched the endocrine disruption effects of chemicals—that is, the ways that certain chemicals interfere with the production function of various hormones in our bodies. So I was shocked and surprised last week when I had an endocrine disruptor epiphany in the burn center at the hospital.

Neither diabetes nor endocrine disruption were top of mind for me that day. I was at the burn center because my beautiful and rambunctious 3-year-old, in her eagerness to eat my homemade chicken noodle soup (it was steaming-hot, in a small bowl on the kitchen table), spilled it on herself and ended up with second-degree burns. I was totally shocked that soup could cause that much damage—and felt guilt and horror at seeing her in so much pain. But after a trip to the ER and a next-day visit to the burn center, I knew she was going to be fine.

But while I was filling out the pages and pages of paperwork I saw something I had never seen before. Do you know how the forms ask (even if you are 3) if you have ever had cancer, heart disease, and/or other diseases? Well, I got to a question that asked if she had ever had an “endocrine disease.” Huh? Never really heard of that, what would that be?


Now, I have been reading and writing about chemicals that cause endocrine disruption for years. I don’t claim to have the name of every known endocrine disruptor memorized; there are hundreds and hundreds of them. But I do know that the major endocrine-disrupting chemicals most of us come in contact with include:

• Bisphenol A (BPA)—this endocrine disruptor is found in almost every plastic item we use, which is a lot: from baby bottles to plastic bags to food storage containers to toys to water bottles to plastic soda bottles (and the linings of cans, too).

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• Organichlorine pesticides—a major one is atrazine, which has contaminated almost every farm well in America.

• Mercury and lead—well known as toxic metals, but not everyone knows they cause endocrine disruption. The former is being emitted into our air and water by coal-fired power plants, and the latter, although it’s been removed from gasoline, is still ubiquitous and surrounds us from old pesticide usage and industrial pollution. Take it from me; I had to have the soil from my old backyard removed because the property was once a dump site for leaded paint.

5 Biggest sources of Mercury Pollution

According to a recent, and first ever, scientific statement from the Endocrine Society, there are tons of reasons to be very concerned about the overabundance of these chemicals in our environment. Potential effects range from reproductive problems to cancer to thyroid dysfunction. But I had never made the connection between endocrine disruptors and diabetes. Buried deep in their statement—towards the end—the Endocrine Society says:

“Based on the links between endocrine disruptors and disturbances of reproduction, metabolism, and links to adult dysfunctions and cancer, it is reasonable to propose a connection between EDCs and diabetes as well as pre-diabetic disturbances.” (EDCs=endocrine disruption chemicals.)

Over the last decades, and there have been countless studies and investigations into the reasons that diabetes is becoming more and more prevalent. WHAT IF WE’VE BEEN LOOKING AT THE WRONG THING ALL THESE YEARS?

What if, rather than sugar and fat (which are naturally occurring substances), it’s really all the chemicals we’ve been ingesting and exposed to that are truly causing the pandemic of diabetes in our society (and the societies who pick up our lifestyle)? Could obesity also be a consequence of exposure to endocrine disruptors? The Endocrine Society’s statement does, in fact, say that these chemicals can influence obesity. What if it’s not the actual hamburgers and fried chicken that are making people fat, but all the toxic artificial ingredients that are added, and the chemicals used to make those ingredients (including agricultural chemicals), along with the poisoned packaging that leaches out chemicals into our foods?


Related Links:
7 Best Ways to Avoid Toxic BPA
BPA Found in Surprising Places
A Natural Approach to Diabetes


Ramona Thompson7 years ago

Walking is one of the best exercises a diabetic can do. The large muscles of the body burn that glucose.

Since it is being said so many more Americans will become diabetic, one would think that someone would have already done studies on the contribution of plastics to diabetes mellitus.

Quite interesting. But I became diabetic way back before plastics made such a big arrival on the scene.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago


Estelita A.
Estelita atti7 years ago


Maria Labreveux
Maria L7 years ago

As I scroll down your article I reach a big add depicting McDonald's new baby back rib sandwich with a glass of Dr. Pepper for $4.
It should have a warning: "your food choice may cause diabetes"

Jennifer S.
Jennifer A7 years ago


Kristi Cooke
Kristi Cooke7 years ago

Bottom line, the biggest impact you can have is a HEALTHY DIET! It makes sense that any endocrine disrupter could have an impact on diabetes - an endocrine disease; however, the best way to reverse type II diabetes is with proper nutrition. Studies have proven it over and over again. Stay away from sugar, white foods, starchy and processed foods and do some nutritional supplementation through a qualified natural health provider to support the affected organs, along with exercise - this will have the best effect on reversing diabetes. Of course, avoid endocrine disrupters as much as possible, too!!

chiari l.
Chiari L7 years ago


Susanna Puppato
Susanna P7 years ago

Good article. Diabetes is an endocrine disorder. I know for a fact that being estrogen dominant goes hand in hand for many diabetics. A recent study proved that low grade bacterial infections diverts insulin away from blood sugar management to deal with the infection. It makes sense that any imbalance in hormones diverts necessary resources by the body to copy with the imbalance. Love to see more articles on this!

Kamakshi R.

Thanks for the article.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam7 years ago

thanks for the article.