Prevalence of diabetes and body burdens of polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and p,p'-diphenyldichloroethene in Great Lakes sport fish consumers

Chemosphere. 2009 May;75(5):674-679. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.12.035. Epub 2009 Jan 20.


Recent studies have demonstrated ubiquitous exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as p,p'-diphenyldichloroethene (DDE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Although several studies have noted associations of dioxins, PCBs and DDE with diabetes, the results have not always been consistent, with few examining effects of PBDEs or simultaneous exposures. The purpose of this study was to determine whether POP body burdens are related to diabetes in a cross section of Great Lake sport fish consumers. The cohort, which was established in the early 1990s, was recontacted in 2004-2005. Serum was collected and tested for DDE, PCBs, PBDEs, hemoglobin A1c and lipids, and diabetes diagnosis, demographics and fish consumption were assessed by self report. Associations of diabetes with exposures were examined in cross sectional data from 2004 to 2005. DDE exposure and dioxin-like mono-ortho PCBs were associated with diabetes, but the association of dioxin-like mono-ortho PCBs with diabetes did not remain significant after control for DDE exposure. Neither the sum of PCBs or years of sport fish consumption were associated with prevalent diabetes. There was a non-significant association of PBDEs with diabetes only in those with hypothyroid disease. The current study confirms previous cross sectional associations of DDE exposure with diabetes. Future studies should address biologic pathways by which selective POPs affect glucose homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Burden
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / blood*
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Fishes
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Great Lakes Region
  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers / blood*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Prevalence


  • Halogenated Diphenyl Ethers
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls