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Diabetes may be linked to pollutants

Jan. 29, 2010 at 4:00 PM   |   Comments

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- There is growing evidence diabetes -- especially among indigenous people -- may be linked to environmental pollutants, U.S. and Canadian researchers say.

One-out-of-four indigenous adults living on reserves in Canada have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Dominion reports.

More than a dozen published studies show a diabetes link to persistent organic pollutants, including polychlorinated biphenyls, carcinogenic hydrocarbons, or dioxins and synthetic pesticides such as DDT.

Environment Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory says there are 212 indigenous communities in Canada living near or downstream from pulp mills and other facilities that produce dioxins and furans.

In 2006, Dr. Dae-Hee Lee and colleagues found people with the highest rate of exposure to persistent organic pollutants were roughly 38 times more likely to have diabetes than those with the lowest rate of exposure.

However, people who were obese but did not have high levels of persistent organic pollutants were not at increased risk of developing diabetes.

A 1994 draft report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has never been formally released to the public, says 93 percent of exposure to dioxin comes from the consumption of beef, dairy, milk, chicken, pork, fish and eggs, The Dominion says.

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