"Do Contaminants Play a Role in Diabetes?"

"[Scientists have] linked diabetes and people’s body burdens of DDE, a chemical produced as the body breaks down the pesticide DDT, banned in the United States more than 35 years ago.

'Even though we haven’t used DDT in decades, its metabolites are still detected in almost everyone in the country,' said lead researcher Mary Turyk, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s School of Public Health.

Since the early 1990s, researchers have monitored a group of Great Lakes charter boat captains, recreational fishermen and others to learn about the health effects of eating fish tainted with persistent organic pollutants – chemicals that remain in the environment for decades and grow more concentrated as they move up food chains.

For the new study, blood samples from the Great Lakes group showed 'consistent, dose-related associations of DDE' with diabetes, the researchers wrote in the July issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Among 471 adults, including 36 with diabetes, there was no link to the disease based on the amount of fish consumed or exposure to other pollutants. But the higher the concentration of DDE in the blood, the more likely they were to develop diabetes."

Andrew McGlashen reports for Environmental Health News July 20, 2009.

Monday, July 20, 2009