Diabetes, Pesticide Link Intensifies in New Study

Another study has drawn a link between high levels of pesticides in blood tests and increased risk of type 2 diabetes, particularly in individuals that are already overweight.

Published in the medical journal Diabetes Care, the new study is one of several of the sort finding evidence that being exposed to “older pesticides” known as “persistant organic pollutants” -organochlorines, PCBs and other chemicals- might up diabetes risk. Diet is the main source of exposure in the US, despite bans or restrictions on the substances in the States and other developed countries back in the 70’s.

Aside from diabetes, organochlorines also are linked to increased risk of cancer and other serious health concerns. Before the bans three decades ago, organochlorines could be found in many products, including appliances and fluorescent bulbs. The “persistent” moniker is apt- the chemical pollutants hang around in the environment, remaining for years in both human and animal fat stores. As such, fish and dairy are among the places the chemicals could still pose a risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.)

David R. Jacobs, epidemiology professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis was not involved in the new study, but has in the past participated in similar research. He commented on the most recent data:

“I fear that the association of chlorinated persistent organic pollutants with diabetes is causal… There is a large scientific background of cell-based and animal research that shows that these compounds disrupt endocrine (hormonal) function.”

Researchers noted that the chemicals and body fat “may have a synergistic effect on the risk of type 2 diabetes.”