Exposure to organochlorine pollutants and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 15;9(10):e85556. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085556. eCollection 2014.


Objective: Though exposure to organochlorine pollutants (OCPs) is considered a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (T2DM), epidemiological evidence for the association remains controversial. A systematic review and meta-analysis was applied to quantitatively evaluate the association between exposure to OCPs and incidence of T2DM and pool the inconsistent evidence.

Design and methods: Publications in English were searched in MEDLINE and WEB OF SCIENCE databases and related reference lists up to August 2013. Quantitative estimates and information regarding study characteristics were extracted from 23 original studies. Quality assessments of external validity, bias, exposure measurement and confounding were performed, and subgroup analyses were conducted to examine the heterogeneity sources.

Results: We retrieved 23 eligible articles to conduct this meta-analysis. OR (odds ratio) or RR (risk ratio) estimates in each subgroup were discussed, and the strong associations were observed in PCB-153 (OR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.19-1.94), PCBs (OR, 2.14; 95% CI, 1.53-2.99), and p,p'-DDE (OR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.15-1.54) based on a random-effects model.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis provides quantitative evidence supporting the conclusion that exposure to organochlorine pollutants is associated with an increased risk of incidence of T2DM.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / chemically induced*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Environmental Pollution*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / toxicity*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Risk Factors


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated

Grants and funding

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundations of China (21177112, 21320102007). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.