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Relationship between Pollutants and Diabetes

A correlation has been found between glucose levels and persistent organic pollutants…. 

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are found everywhere and resist degradation through chemical and biological means. POPs include pesticides, solvents, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Because they resist biodegradation, they have the potential to accumulate in human and animal tissue. Studies have shown that there is a correlation in glucose levels with POPs found in human serum and adipose tissue, which ultimately leads to diabetes.

A cross sectional study was done on 151 obese and 44 normal-weight individuals. A wide range of POPs including 28 types of PCBs and pesticides were evaluated. Those who were obese had higher levels of POPs than the normal weight individuals. A regression analysis was also performed, which included the age, sex, history, BMI, smoking behaviors, and physical activity score to help compensate for the difference in the people. The serum levels of the PCBs and pesticides were all significant predictors of abnormal glucose tolerance (p<0.05). Adipose tissue levels of pesticides were also indicative for abnormal glucose tolerance (p<0.05). These new data reveal that environmental POPs may be more significant in predicting glucose levels.

Practice Pearls:
  • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are found everywhere and resist degradation through chemical and biological means.
  • Obese people had higher levels of POPs than normal weight individuals
  • Serum levels and adipose tissues that were positive for POPs had abnormal glucose tolerance.

Dirinck EL, et al. Environmental Toxins Associated With Diabetes and Obesity. Diabetes Care. 2014 June 26.