Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a major and fast growing public health problem. Although obesity is considered to be the main driver of the pandemic of T2DM, a possible contribution of some environmental contaminants, of which persistent organic pollutants (POPs) form a particular class, has been suggested. POPs are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes which enable them to persist in the environment, to be capable of long-range transport, bio accumulate in human and animal tissue, bio accumulate in food chains, and to have potential significant impacts on human health and the environment. Several epidemiological studies have reported an association between persistent organic pollutants and diabetes risk. These findings have been replicated in experimental studies both in human (in-vitro) and animals (in-vivo and in-vitro), and patho-physiological derangements through which these pollutants exercise their harmful effect on diabetes risk postulated. This review summarizes available studies, emphasises on limitations so as to enable subsequent studies to be centralized on possible pathways and bring out clearly the role of POPs on diabetes risk.
Keywords: In utero exposure; Insulin resistance; Insulin secretion; Persistent organic pollutants; Type 2 diabetes.