Underutilized and Under Threat: Environmental Policy as a Tool to Address Diabetes Risk

Curr Diab Rep. 2018 Mar 26;18(5):25. doi: 10.1007/s11892-018-0993-5.


Purpose of review: Diabetes is a burgeoning threat to public health in the USA. Importantly, the burden of diabetes is not equally borne across society with marked disparities based on geography, race/ethnicity, and income. The etiology of global and population-specific diabetes risk remains incompletely understood; however, evidence linking environmental toxicants acting as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as particulate matter and arsenic, with diabetes suggests that environmental policies could play an important role in diabetes risk reduction.

Recent findings: Evidence suggests that disproportionate exposures to EDCs may contribute to subgroup-specific diabetes risk; however, no federal policies regulate EDCs linked to diabetes based upon diabetogenic potential. Nevertheless, analyses of European Union data indicate that such regulation could reduce diabetes-associated costs and disease burden. Federal laws only regulate EDCs indirectly. The accumulating evidence linking these chemicals with diabetes risk should encourage policymakers to adopt stricter environmental standards that consider both health and economic impacts.

Keywords: Diabetes; Endocrine-disrupting chemical; Environmental justice; Environmental policy; Pollution; Toxicant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Policy*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Control, Formal


  • Environmental Pollutants