A commonly-used pesticide could be partially responsible for the global obesity epidemic, says a study led by McMaster University scientists.
Researchers discovered that chlorpyrifos, which is banned for use on foods in Canada but widely sprayed on fruits and vegetables in many other countries, slows down the burning of calories in the brown adipose tissue of mice. Reducing this burning of calories, a process known as diet-induced thermogenesis, causes the body to store these extra calories, promoting obesity.
Scientists made the discovery after studying 34 commonly used pesticides and herbicides in brown fat cells and testing the effects of chlorpyrifos in mice fed high-calorie diets. Their findings were published in Nature Communications and could have important implications for global public health.