Researchers from the University of Lund in Sweden have conducted a study that links environmental pollutants with high occurrence of type 2 diabetes .
Exposure to organochlorine pollutants (POPs) have already been linked with asthma, diabetes and many cancers.
High levels of POPs such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the insecticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane or DDT in the blood of diabetic patients was found.
The basis of the study was the oily fish salmon which the researchers suspected may be an important source of contamination that attributes to the development of diabetes, as it is often high in POPs. Therefore, they carried out the study to determine if there was any association between serum pollutants and diabetes.
The study comprised 196 fishermen and their spouses. Blood samples from the participants were analyzed for a POP residue known as CB-153, a biomarker of PCBs, and DDE, the main by-product of DDT.
It was found that 6 percent of men and 5 percent of their wives who had type 2 diabetes had high concentrations of both chemicals.
"The adjusted mean serum level of PCBs among the subjects with diabetes was 30% higher than in the control subjects, and the relationship of PCB level to adjusted odds of diabetes was linear," was the comment of one of the researchers.
Although the current study could not determine whether diabetes in the subjects with high levels of contamination was caused by PCBs and or DDT, previous studies indicated such a causal relationship might exist.