Every day we inhale, ingest, and absorb chemicals via our skin that can interfere with how we process calories—in certain conditions and quantities, they can direct our bodies to create more fat cells and send our hunger hormones into overdrive. "Ubiquitous chemicals, like phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), are present in sufficient doses where they may meet these threshold conditions," says Felix Grün of the University of California, Irvine, where a landmark 2006 study coined a name for these new chemical enemies in the war against weight gain: obesogens. So where are these bad boys—and is there any way to avoid them? Read on.
Cash register receipts 10 It takes only 10 seconds for the BPA that coats thermal paper to transfer to the skin. In one study, the act of crumpling a receipt was shown to be the most efficient method of moving the obesogen into the body. Use bank-card and credit-card statements as proof of purchase, and if your work involves handling receipts, wear gloves.
1 = lowest, 10 = highest
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One Final Note: Beware the Pizza Box
Some recycled-cardboard pizza boxes contain high levels of the obesogen diisobutyl phthalate. And that little piece of grease-repelling paper that's put underneath the pizza to protect the cardboard? It's basically a PFC sheet. If you must bring home a pizza, at least ask them to skip the paper.