Killing Pests May Lead to Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes risk increased by certain pesticides and pollutants

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) We live in a world where man-made chemicals are common and can pose a threat to many parts of our health. Understanding how these chemicals can hurt us is part of our fight for better health.

Now, researchers are finding that pesticides and other pollutants may play a role in the development of diabetes.

A study published in Diabetes Care suggests that people with high levels of certain chemicals (called persistent organic pollutants, or POPs) may increase the risk for type 2 diabetes.

"Pesticides may raise your risk for diabetes."

POPs are already known to be bad for both the environment and human health. As they are being used in places all across the world, the United Nations is trying hard to lower and stop the release of these chemicals into the environment.

Recently, some studies have found that these chemicals may be linked to type 2 diabetes. However, Duk-Hee Lee, M.D., Ph.D., from Kyungpook National University in Korea, and colleagues say that the evidence of this link is not strong enough.

So, Lee and colleagues set out to look at the relationship between type 2 diabetes and POPs among elderly people.

They found that people with high levels of PCBs (a type of POP) were up to nine times more likely to get diabetes, compared to those who had lower levels of the chemicals in their blood.

A type of POP called organochlorine increased people's risk for diabetes by as much as 3.4 times.

Other POPs - like brominated biphenyl ether 47 and dioxin - did not increase people's risk for diabetes.

For their study, Lee and colleagues measured for levels of 19 different POPs in 725 elderly people. Even though the amount of people who got diabetes during the study was small (36 people), the impact of the chemicals was pretty big. According to the authors, POPs significantly raise old people's risk for type 2 diabetes.

The results of this study are another reason to control the use of these chemicals across the world. 

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Review Date: 
July 6, 2011
Last Updated:
July 8, 2011