There’s no doubt that obesity is an American health epidemic that is connected to a rise in diabetes, heart disease and other serious conditions.
Now, scientists are suggesting that commonly found environmental pollutants could actually be helping fuel obesity.
Tributyltin – an industrial chemical employed as a pesticide, among other uses – may be contributing to obesity by influencing receptors that cause fat cells to grow.
These retinoid X receptors (RXRs) move into cell nuclei and activate genes that grow fat storage cells and affect metabolism.
According to a study published in BioScience, tributylin and other similar chemicals may have biological effects on RXRs.
Researchers Taisen Iguchi and Yoshinao Katsu suggest that it is "plausible" to look at the rise in pollution as connected to the increase in obesity over the past 40 years, citing other substances such as bisphenol A that have already been linked to cellular changes in the human body.
Previous research has suggested that childhood obesity may be influenced by certain chemicals the child’s mother is exposed to while pregnant.