Pesticides and pollutants could increase diabetes risk

Fri, 01 Jul 2011
A new study has found a link between high levels of pesticides and other pollutants in the bloodstream and a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The research, published in the journal Diabetes Care, involved 725 elderly people who were diabetes-free, revealing that blood samples taken to measure the levels of pollutants in their bodies suggested that the chemicals involved could bring changes in the body that lead onto diabetes.

Of the participants, 36 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the course of the study, and when other risk factors were taken into account, those who had high levels of poly-chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in their bodies were shown to be up to nine times more likely to develop diabetes than those with very low pollutant levels. This follows previous studies that identified a link between pollutants and type 2 diabetes.

It is thought that long-term exposure to some environmental pollutants could negatively affect cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin, which regulates blood sugar levels. Pollutants, such as pesticides and PCBs, are largely found in meat and fatty fish, many of which are regulated and banned in some countries.

It was concluded, by researcher Duk-Hee Lee, that "the exposure to these chemicals in the general population still occurs because they have widely contaminated our food chain."
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