Your phone could be making you fat

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 18 Maret 2015 | 20.01

The flame retardant chemicals in your phone made zebra fish "chubby". Source: Supplied

AUSTRALIA is one of the fattest countries in the world. No matter how you cook it up, we have an issue with our weight. The problem is inextricably linked to lifestyle and dietary habits but researchers from a university in the US have found another, unlikely culprit.

They believe that a certain set of chemicals found in our computers and smartphones could be linked to weight gain. That is the suggestion from findings of a study carried out by researchers at the University of Houston's Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling.

According to the centre, chemicals used as flame retardants to keep electronics from overheating could be adding to our waistlines.

The compounds in question, Tetrabromobisphoneol A (TBBPA) and tetrachlorobisphenol A (TCBPA) can leach out of the devices and often end up settling on dust particles in the air we breathe, the study found. If exposure to the chemicals effects humans in the same way it effects zebra fish, then we're in trouble.

That might seem like a ridiculous statement but before you breath a sigh of relief, zebra fish have a similar genetic makeup to humans, which makes them a model organism for human disease research.

Zebra fish have similar genetics to humans which makes them a good test case for possible treatments and cures of human disease. Source: News Corp Australia

Testing was carried out on sibling pairs of zebrafish as one group were exposed to a relatively low concentrations of the chemical.

The fish that were exposed to of the compounds became heavier and longer, compared to their untreated siblings in the control group. Additionally, they were more heavy than long, so their relative BMI compared to the control group also increased.

Lead researcher, Maria Bondesson said that it was important to determine the unknown effects of such chemicals on the human body.

"Given the growing obesity epidemic and the serious health conditions it often leads to, our research shows that it's important to study if chemicals are obesogens," she said.

"Our goal is to find the worst ones [chemicals compounds] and then replace them with safer alternatives."


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