An exploratory study of diabetes in a First Nation community with respect to serum concentrations of p,p'-DDE and PCBs and fish consumption

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Dec;6(12):3179-3189. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6123179. Epub 2009 Dec 11.


This study examined the association between self-reported diabetes, fish consumption and serum levels of organochlorines in a First Nation community. One quarter of the 101 participants reported diabetes. Serum PCBs, but not p,p'-DDE, were positively correlated to consumption frequency of total fish, walleye and pike, but not trout. Reported diabetes was positively associated to p,p'-DDE and some PCB congeners. Odds Ratios (OR) for reported diabetes for those in the upper 75th percentile for serum p,p'-DDE compared to the others were 3.5 (95% CI 1-13.8) and 6.1 (95% CI 1.4-27.3) (weight wet and lipid-standardized values, respectively) and for total sum of PCBs: 4.91 (95% CI 1.4-19.0) and 5.51 (95% CI 1.3-24.1). For participants who were in the upper 50th percentile for trout and white fish intake, reported diabetes was respectively 6 and 4 times lower compared to the others. These findings support the hypothesis that environmental exposure to elevated p,p'-DDE and PCBs is associated with increased risk of diabetes. Consumption of trout and white fish may be beneficial to reduce risk.

Keywords: DDE; First Nation; PCB; diabetes; fish; organochlorines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / blood*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Female
  • Fishes*
  • Food Contamination*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / blood
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / blood*
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls