University of Cambridge scientists said there may be a link between persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, and insulin resistance.
The report, published in the Lancet, said peer reviewed research demonstrates that individuals with high levels of POPs in their blood were at higher risk of adult onset diabetes, the university said Friday in a release.
"Of course correlation does not automatically imply causation," Dr. Oliver Jones said in a statement. "But if there is indeed a link, the health implications could be tremendous."
The report said research into type 2 diabetes currently focuses on genetics and obesity, with almost no consideration for the possible influence of environmental factors.
POPs such as DDT continue to find their way into the food chain even though many of these toxins were banned many years ago. The compounds can persist in body fat for very long periods of time following exposure, the report said.
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