Do chemicals in plastic consumer products contribute to obesity?

April 20, 2022
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources


Martin Wagner: Do chemicals in plastic consumer products contribute to obesity?


Völker, J., Ashcroft, F., Vedøy, Å., Zimmermann, L., and Wagner, M. Adipogenic Activity of Chemicals Used in Plastic Consumer Products. Environ. Sci. Technol. 56(4), 2487–2496. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.1c06316.

Ali, S. Everyday plastic products could be contributing to weight gain. Jan 26, 2022.

Download our Webinar Highlights fact sheet for key findings and quotes from this webinar.


In a recent study, Dr. Martin Wagner and co-authors investigated whether everyday plastic products contain chemicals that induce adipogenesis, a key process in the development of obesity. Investigators found that, indeed, the chemicals extracted from one third of the products trigger the differentiation and proliferation of adipocytes or fat cells, which were developing towards an unhealthy phenotype. They also showed that plastics contain known metabolism-disrupting chemicals but believe that other, so far unknown, plastic chemicals caused these effects. Based on this, authors argue that plastics can represent an underestimated environmental factor contributing to obesity.

This webinar is one in a monthly series sponsored by the EDC Strategies Partnership. The EDC Strategies Partnership is co-chaired by Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel (Commonweal HEEDS, Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies), Genon Jensen (HEAL, Health and Environment Alliance), Sarah Howard (HEEDS and the Commonweal Diabetes and Environment Program), and Hannah Donart (Commonweal CHE, Collaborative on Health and the Environment). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page. For updates and more information on upcoming webinars, sign up for our HEEDSHEAL, and CHE newsletters! 

This webinar was moderated by Sharyle Patton, Director of the Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center. It lasted for 30 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.

Featured Speaker

Martin Wagner, PhD, is an Associate Professor for environmental toxicology at the Norwegian University for Science and Technology in Trondheim. His main research interest is in the impacts of plastic pollution and plastic chemicals on nature and human health. To study this, he works at the interface of ecology, toxicology, and chemistry combining in vitro, in vivo, and mass spectrometry approaches. As expert on the societal and environmental impacts of plastics, he is consulting high-level policymakers (United Nations, European Commission) and is frequently featured by international media.

In 2013, Dr. Wagner received his PhD degree from the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main for his research on endocrine disrupting chemicals in plastic food packaging. Then, Dr. Wagner became head of the Bioanalytical Toxicology group at Goethe University which focused on water quality assessment as well as on freshwater microplastics. Since 2017, Dr. Wagner continues his research into endocrine disrupting chemicals and plastic pollution at NTNU Trondheim. More information: www.biotox.de.