Everyday Chemicals That May Lead to Weight Gain (and Other Health issues)

Studies suggest additives to plastics, toothpastes, make-up and other household products could contribute to weight gain, diabetes and more.

Bisphenol-A (BPA)

What it is: Bisphenol-A, or BPA is a chemical found in some, but not all, hard plastics and plastic linings.

How it might harm: It suppress a hormone that interacts with insulin leading to insulin resistance and diabetes.

How to avoid it: Look for canned products, kid’s toys and water bottles 🍼that have “BPA free” on the label.

Organochlorine Pesticides

What they are: Used to deter insects. While dangerous organochlorine pesticides like DDT were banned decades ago, others are still in use.

How they might harm: Organochlorine pesticides may be linked to diabetes. These chemicals impair insulin function.

How to avoid them: Reduce our intake of pesticides by buying organic 🍃. Look out for lidane, an organochlorine insecticide still used in lice shampoos.


What they are: Parabens are used in most cosmetics (75 to 90%), including mascara👁, shampoo and lotions.

How they might harm: Parabens are chemically close to estrogen, our bodies mistake it for the female hormone. Estrogen can promote weight gain.

How to avoid them: Look out for any ingredient that ends in paraben, including methyl paraben, ethyl paraben, propyl paraben, butyl paraben etc. Many cosmetics now advertise “Paraben Free” on the label.


What they are: These chemicals are used to make plastics softer so they don’t become brittle and break. They’re found in electronics, toys and more.

How it might harm: Phthalates may interfere with various hormonal signaling which can decrease the thyroid function leading to weight gain.

How to avoid it: Parents of infants should buy children’s toys that are free of phthalates – after all, they tend to end up in their mouths.