We run on hormones; they make us hungry, they make us tall, and they make us fat. It’s no surprise that chemicals that mess with our endocrine systems (hormone modulation and release) also mess us up.
Recent research indicates that tributyltin, a chemical found in boat paint and plastic tubing, is one such hormone. They exposed pregnant mice to tributyltin and found that newborn mice had increased body fat, liver fat, and fat-specific genes activated more so than control groups. Interestingly, grandchildren mice also suffered the fat-fate.
Though most of us don’t spend much time near boat paint or plumbing, Tributyltin unfortunately is also found in much of the dust we have laying around. People can also ingest tributyltin through contaminated seafood. It’s categorized as an obesogen, a chemical that promotes obesity by increasing adipose tissue. Tribytyltin modifies mesenchymal stem cells during early development to become fat cells.