A class of chemicals one scientist calls "practically unavoidable", found in everything from nail polish and hair spray to coatings on some medical products, seems to increase a woman's risk for contracting diabetes, according to a new study.

The research is based on a long-running study, The National Health And Nutrition Examination Study. Researchers were looking for phthalates, a type of chemical classed as "endocrine-disrupting" because it can change how the body controls itself. Earlier studies have noted that phthalates may cause diabetes and obesity.

Complicating the study and its results is the fact phthalates are frequently found in certain types of medical products, including medication used to treat diabetes. In fact, the only thing that may reduce exposure to phthalates is to keep a clean house and regular hand-washing. Phthalates have been found in household dust, as well as packaging for many common items.

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