Exposure to organochlorine pollutants (POPs), has recently been shown to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. POPs are thought to commonly enter the body through the eating of fatty fish.
POPS are part of a large family of toxic chemicals that includes some insecticides, such as DDT. They are produced by some agricultural and industrial processes, and occur commonly in the atmosphere.
Higher concentrations of the chemicals were found in the blood of men and women who had type 2 diabetes. Previous research indicates that the presence of POPs in the bloodstream could inhibit the body’s ability to absorb glucose. Alternative theories indicate that the presence of these chemicals disturbs the body’s natural processes that break down fats.
Experts, although they highlighted the importance of the study, said that extensive further research needed to be carried out before firm links were established. The fishermen analysed by the study had, after all, been exposed to far higher levels of POPs than the average person. The Baltic coast, where the fishermen live and work, has been badly polluted by POPs.
The study, conducted by a team from the University of Lund in Swede, analysed results from 196 fishermen and their partners. It will be published in the Journal of Environmental Health.

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