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Cut exposure to synthetic chemicals to ward off diabetes

Cutting exposure to common environmental synthetic chemicals by 25% could ward off more than 150,000 cases of diabetes in Europe, suggest researchers 
pesticides

A growing body of evidence suggests that environmental pollutants contribute to metabolic disorders, particularly obesity and diabetes, by disrupting the production and regulation of hormones in the body.

Examining 1,000 people aged 70-75 living in Uppsala, Sweden, researchers from Sweden and the US looked at exposure to phthalates (plasticisers), pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (used in coolant fluids in fridges) and perfluoroalkyl substances (used in textiles, carpets and cleaning agents).

After estimating the number of diabetes cases among this age group, along with the estimated impact of a 25% reduction in exposure to the four compounds, the researchers calculated that a 25% fall in body mass index would translate to a 40% reduction in the prevalence of diabetes, representing 469,172 fewer cases.

Our findings speak to the need for a strong

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A growing body of evidence suggests that environmental ‘pollutants’ contribute to metabolic disorders, particularly obesity and diabetes, by disrupting the production and regulation of hormones in the body. 


The study suggests that pesticides contribute to the formation of metabolic disorders. Picture: iStock

Examining 1,000 people aged 70-75 living in Uppsala, Sweden, researchers from Sweden and the US looked at exposure to phthalates (plasticisers), pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (used in coolant fluids in fridges) and perfluoroalkyl substances (used in textiles, carpets and cleaning agents). 

After estimating the number of diabetes cases among this age group, along with the estimated impact of a 25% reduction in exposure to the four compounds, the researchers calculated that a 25% fall in body mass index would translate to a 40% reduction in the prevalence of diabetes, representing 469,172 fewer cases. 

‘Our findings speak to the need for a strong regulatory framework that proactively identifies chemical hazards before they are widely used, and the use of safer alternatives,’ the study authors said. 


Trasande L et al (2016) Population attributable risks and costs of diabetogenic chemical exposures in the elderly. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. doi:10.1136/jech-2016-208006

 

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