Persistent organic pollutants-environmental risk factors for diabetes mellitus? - A population-based study

Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2021 Jul-Sep;25(3):157-162. doi: 10.4103/ijoem.ijoem_337_20. Epub 2021 Oct 9.


Background: Globally, type-2 diabetes mellitus is increasing in epidemic proportions. A major cause of concern in India is the increasing incidence of cases, especially troubling is the observed increase in younger age groups with no risk factors. New evidence suggests that many environmental factors, such as air pollution, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and environmental estrogens are implicated as risk factors for type-2 diabetes mellitus. Animal and human epidemiological studies have shown ubiquitous lipophilic substances, including POPs, are frequently associated with type-2 diabetes mellitus. Such studies have not been undertaken in Indian youth.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study that explored the association between POPs and type-2 diabetes mellitus in Indian urban and rural population. About 7 ml of venous blood was collected from all consenting patients and serum was separated immediately and was transported to the lab for further analysis. Serum levels of POPs, including organochlorine (OC) compounds and organophosphorus pesticides, were estimated using sample gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The fasting blood sugar values and the serum levels of POPS were tested using Pearson correlation coefficient. The magnitude of increase in blood sugar corresponding to increase in POPs was analyzed using linear regression analysis. The odds ratios (ORs) were expressed at 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: Three OC pesticides and one organophosphate pesticide were strongly associated with increasing blood sugar levels after adjusting for age, sex, and body mass index - lindane (OR 4.95, 95% CI 1.03-23.73), DDT o, p' (OR 3.50, 95% CI 1.04-11.73), dimethoate (OR 19.31, 95% CI 4.22-88.37), and dichlorvas (OR 6.33, 95% CI 1.28-31.18).

Keywords: DDT; dimethoate; health effects; persistent organic pollutants; pesticides; type- 2 diabetes mellitus..