Black children with high levels of hormone-altering chemicals used in some shampoos and lotions are more likely to be obese, according to research published today.
The study by New York University scientists is the second to link phthalates to obesity in children but the first to use a large sample of children and look for racial disparities.
Black children have much higher levels of the chemicals in their bodies than children of other races, and for every tripling of certain compounds, they were 22 percent more likely to be obese, according to data from 2,884 children aged 6 to 19. No links to obesity were found in white or Hispanic children.
Phthalates are a large family of chemicals with varied uses. The phthalates associated with black children’s obesity were the kind commonly added to personal care products to make fragrances last longer. Other phthalates are used to make vinyl and can be found in food packaging, medical devices and flooring.
They observed higher levels in phthalates in obese children, but the study didn't seek to establish a causal relationship between the two. It could be something, but it could also be absolutely nothing.
Sensationalism in science journalism is huge problem.