(THE GUARDIAN) — Chemicals used to make non-stick pots and pans, stain-resistant carpets, and food packaging may contribute to high levels of obesity by disrupting the body’s ability to burn calories, scientists say.

Researchers at Harvard University examined the effects of compounds called perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which have already raised concerns among some health experts after animal experiments and other studies linked them to cancer, high cholesterol and immune problems.

In the latest work, Qi Sun, a nutritionist who specialises in the risk factors for diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, analysed records for 621 overweight and obese people who spent six months dieting. All were part of a clinical trial run in the 2000s to test the effectiveness of different types of diets.

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